Archive for the 'Keir Starmer' Category


More dreadful leader numbers for Boris: Starmer moves to a net plus 34 in latest YouGov Well/Badly ratings

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

Another set of leader ratings has Johnson trailing a long way behind Starmer. The LAB leader has a net score (badly % deducted from Well %) of plus 27%. In the same poll with the same calculation Johnson is minus 7%. So that means a 34% net lead for Starmer.

This is in line with other leader recent leader rating polling which asked different questions. The YouGov one here was its traditional “is X doing well/badly?”

At the moment the Tories still have a lead, albeit much reduced, on voting intention. Unless the leadership numbers move then it should not be too long before we get the odd poll with the Tories behind – something that Tory MPs have not experienced for a very long time.

Mike Smithson


GE2019 Tory remainers – the key voting group who are giving Starmer positive ratings

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

We are just over 3 years and 10 months from May 2nd 2024 which is the final date that the next general election can be held. That’s the time that the new Labour leader, Keir Starmer, has got in order to put himself into position where LAB can take enough seats to make the party electorally competitive.

LAB’s seat total from GE2019 was 202 – the lowest total that the party has achieved since 1935. To get a majority Labour needs to get 322 seats which is a massive gap to make up particularly as the SNP is increasing its strength in Scotland and the chances of Labour recovery there look very slim indeed. Back at GE2010 LAB took 41 of the 59 Scottish seats. Now they have just one.

So where are the votes that could help drive the Labour recovery that Starmer is very much hoping for going to come from. One group that looks quite promising are those Conservatives who voted with their party last December but who also opted for Remain in the referendum. They represent between a fifth and a quarter of the overall Tory vote.

Currently when asked the polling voting question Tory remainers are still staying largely with their party but there is some suggestion in the leader ratings that indicates that many are feeling quite positive about Starmer.

Generally those polled respond to leader questions in partisan terms thus Labour voters generally give very low ratings to Johnson. The interesting thing that is happening at the moment is that GE2019 CON Remainers are nothing like as negative about Starmer as you might expect. In fact in the recent deltapoll for the Mail on Sunday 40% of this segment gave a positive number to the Labour leader with 35% negative one.

There were even better numbers for the LAB leader in the latest Opinium where 49% of CON Remainers approved of Starmer with just 14% disapproving. At some stage the former DPP must be hoping that this can be converted into votes.

Mike Smithson


Starmer moves to a 35% net approval lead over Johnson while all three polls tonight have the voting gap getting very close

Saturday, June 6th, 2020

And Boris only 1% clear as best PM

It has been a big night of polling with three new surveys all showing the Conservative lead over Labour getting narrower. The voting numbers are:

Opinium CON: 43% (-) LAB: 40% (+1) LD: 6% (-) SNP: 5% (-) GRN: 3% (-)

Survation, CON 41% (-4) LAB 39% (+5) LD 7% (-1) GRN 4% (-) SNP 4% (-) BXP 1% (+1)

Deltapoll CON 41% (-2) LAB 38% (-) LD 8% (-) OTH 13% (+2)

But worse than that for the Tories are the leader ratings. The chart shows the Opinium moves where Starmer is now a net 35% ahead. The pollster also had the Johnson best PM lead down to 1%.

My reading is that we are still seeing the impact of the Cummings lockdown road trip and Johnson’s firm backing. Also voters have been under the constraints of lockdown since March and tempers might be getting frayed.

I’ve not had time yet to examine the other findings the from Deltapoll and Survation.

Mike Smithson


The case for making “personality” ratings a good electoral indicator

Saturday, June 6th, 2020

A guest slot from isam

Last month, Keir Starmer appeared on the television in my front room to give his response to the Prime Minister’s Covid-19 statement. A few seconds later my eyes glazed over,  a few more passed and I switched the tv off saying “Jesus, he is dull”. It set me thinking that in a world of Reality tv, tiktok, snapchat, (none of which I am a fan of), and general instant gratification, (which I kind of am) Starmer was too boring to be Prime Minister. Those with a keen interest in politics scrutinise policies, but it could be that a significant minority, perhaps even a small majority, of the public prefer someone they can imagine mucking in on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. The polls are tightening, and this weeks IPSOS-MORI political monitor has Starmer ahead of Boris Johnson in favourability by 14 points, albeit with over a third not yet knowing enough about him to express an opinion. So does charisma matter?

Pondering recent UK General Elections, I noticed the winning party tended to be led by the candidate with more personality than their main rival, whether I were favourably inclined to them or not. Fortunately, IPSOS-MORI have put this question to their respondents a couple of times a year since the late seventies,  so I was able to objectively test my hypothesis against contemporary opinion. In the days of three, four or five tv channels only, and no internet, the effect was not really pronounced; Margaret Thatcher shaded Jim Callaghan, thrashed Michael Foot and was about even with Neil Kinnock, who was in turn considered to have way more personality than John Major. Then, in the era of Sky tv, social media, and what some might say was a general cultural dumbing down, things start to change 

Tony Blair was undoubtedly smoother than the three Conservative leaders he defeated, John Major, whom he beat 29-5, on average, on personality, William Hague (35-5), and Michael Howard (22-7), even when Howard’s Conservatives led on voting intention and Howard himself on net satisfaction in September 2004, before his Chancellor Gordon Brown was ousted as PM by David Cameron. Labour actually made a point of highlighting Cameron’s charisma by comparing him to TV detective Gene Hunt, dubbed ” a “national hero”, an unlikely sex symbol and a “top cop” ‘ by critics. The Government wanted to make the distinction between the incumbent safe pair of hands who had looked after the economy for over a decade, and a risky, lightweight, novice. Unwittingly they had made their already more attractive opponent look even sexier. Cameron beat Brown 24-3 on personality and became PM by way of Coalition with the Lib Dems (whose leader, Nick Clegg, scored 19)

Ed Miliband was an earnest, nice guy – a bit of a nerd who found it easier to finish a rubiks cube than a bacon sandwich. Left wing critics of Cameron accused the PM of resembling posh boy bully Lord Flashman, but, again, this was an error.  In Sep 2012, Labour led the polls 40-31, and Ed was 13 points clear of Cameron on net satisfaction, but when it came to “Who would be more fun to meet in person?”  dashing Dave was trouncing him 34-21. For the rest of the Coalition’s time in office Cameron was ahead by an average of 40 to 20 on personality, and won the Conservatives a majority in 2015 when NOM was “nailed on”.

Cameron never faced the left’s left field choice as his next challenger at the ballot box. Jeremy Corbyn matched him 41-41 in the only personality poll during their time together, in September 2015, and led the PM by 7 in terms of net satisfaction. Possibly of greater significance in that poll was UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s personality score of 66…  nine months later, Leave won the referendum.

Now to Theresa May vs Jezza. In September 2016 the Conservatives had a 6 point lead in the polls, and May led Corbyn by 58 points in net satisfaction. Good times! Scratch the surface, though, and things were not quite as rosy as they seemed; on personality her lead was just 5 points. Nevertheless in April 2017, TM the PM’s Tories led Labour by 21 points in the polls so, to put the Brexit issue to bed, she called a General Election. Her campaign was horrendous; while she was stiff, and ducking debates, the kids at Glastonbury were chanting “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” to the tune of “Seven Nation Army”. May lost Cameron’s majority, as fellow unelected, uncharismatic PM Brown did Blair’s. By September, Corbyn led in the charisma stakes by 47-21, and was favourite to be next PM, until…

Along came Boris. May’s personality rating was down to 16 (to Corbyn’s 39) by April 18, and when the Cons came 4th with less than 9% of the vote at the Euros, it was all over. The Brexit Party won, Farage was rated 61 in June 2019, trouble for the Tories… time for a new leader. It boiled down to Boris Johnson (79) or Jeremy Hunt (21). They made the correct choice
Relative to May, Corbyn was a charismatic maverick. Up against Boris he was on a hiding to nothing, losing 79-22 & 76-25 on the occasions they were compared. May’s fragile arrangement with the DUP became an 80 seat majority for Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

Now back to where we started,  Keir Starmer QC leader of the Labour Party. Smarter than Jez, cleverer than Ed, better looking than Gordon…  while he has narrowed the gap to Boris on favourability, he loses the personality test 64-30. You know the rest.

Two bets spring to mind on the back of this. Firstly, Sir Keir will not be the next PM; if he is up against Boris, unless he develops a side to his character we have yet to see (possible this early in his stewardship), Boris wins. If Boris quits/retires/is ousted before the next GE, maybe Keir will beat his successor; but then he wont have been the next PM. Lay him on Betfair at 2/1 ish (previously tipped by David Herdson)

A more exciting bet is Next Labour Leader. Surely they will learn their lesson if the dullard loses to the maverick yet again. There is only one personality to take on Boris in the Labour ranks who is outspoken, has the potential to be known by first name only, and appears to have the common touch. You could imagine her being a character in a soap opera or a contestant on a reality tv show, and I am of the opinion that trumps political philosophy in the 21st Century – 50/1 with Ladbrokes, Betfred and Coral to get the gig – Jess Phillips. 


Isam, who works in the betting industry. has been a poster on PB for several years. This is his first header


Another pollster has Johnson dropping sharply in its leader ratings while Starmer takes a net lead

Friday, June 5th, 2020

Can Boris get back to where he was?

Ipsos-MORI, Britain’s oldest polling firm, has just produced its latest leader ratings and the trend is very similar to what we’ve seen from other pollsters. Johnson has taken a hit while Starmer has continued to rise.

Clearly the PM’s lack of action over the Cummings lockdown road trip affair continues to grate with voters. With Starmer there are fewer don’t knows which are splitting in favour or the new LAB leader.

This was the analysis for Keiran Pedley – former PB regular and now Ipsos MORI research director.

Boris Johnson’s favourability ratings continue to fall from their April peak, and it is noteworthy that more Britons are now unfavourable towards the Prime Minister than favourable. The data shows that Johnson is a polarising figure whilst Starmer continues to be a relative unknown – although that is changing. Labour will be encouraged that Starmer’s ratings continue to be net positive as he becomes better known and that Labour is no longer looked upon less favourably by the public than the Conservatives. However, with Labour yet to lead the Conservatives in voting intention polls it is still a long way back to power for the party

A big question is whether voters will be less influenced by the Cummings Durham trip as it becomes a more distant memory.

Mike Smithson


Why Johnson can take little comfort from the Tory voting intention poll leads

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

He’s being smashed by Starmer in the leader ratings

The latest weekly poll from Opinium the the Observer had the Conservatives with a 4% lead while at the same time the same poll gave Starmer net 30% lead over Johnson in its approval question. On the face of it these two statements about this poll simply don’t make sense. The head of a party in the lead on voting would not, surely, have approval numbers that were so far off.

In the UK the poll numbers that generally receives the most coverage are the voting ones with little attention being paid to the leader ratings if indeed the pollster chooses to have them. Opinium, to its great credit, always have their approval numbers of the PM and other leading figures in its weekly poll.

What happens here is that the main data featured by the media are on voting intention with very little attention being played to the approval numbers. This is the wrong way round and that historically leader ratings have been a far better pointer to electoral outcomes than voting figures.

We only have to go back to the 2015 General Election when it will be recalled, the final polls that Ed Miliband Labour Party running Cameron. pretty close. As it turned out Cameron’s Tories won a majority following the five years in coalition.

This was not surprising if people had bothered to focus on the approval numbers and not the voting intention figures.

If there’s disparity between the two go with the leader ratings.

Mike Smithson


Starmer tells Boris to “get a grip” as they prepare for the first PMQs since the Cummings lockdown revelations

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

At noon in the Commons LAB leader Keir Starmer will face Johnson in the first PMQs since the story about the Cummings lockdown trip to Durham broke. This could be quite tricky for Johnson who has struggled when faced with the former DPP now Leader of the Opposition.

In the Guardian this morning he’s quoted as saying:

“We’ve called for an exit strategy. What we appear to have got is an exit without a strategy. We want to see society reopen, we want to see more children back at school, obviously people want to see their families and we want to see businesses open. “But like many people across the country, there is a growing concern the government is now winging it. At precisely the time when there should have been maximum trust in the government, confidence has collapsed,” 

These are strong words and it will be interesting to see how the PM who beat Corbyn decisively at GE2019 fares against the current LAB leader.

Starmer who only came into the job two months ago put the blame for the fall in public trust on the “Cummings factor, the sense of one rule for them and one rule for everyone else”. The paper reports that he also attacked the “mismanagement” in the decision to lift shielding restrictions for 2.2m without advance notice for public health directors or GPs.

Although the voting polls continue to show Tory leads these are in marked contrast to the leader ratings where Starmer now has a big lead over Johnson.

Mike Smithson


In other news Starmer moves to a net 24% lead over Johnson in latest Opinium approval ratings

Sunday, May 24th, 2020
Opinium May 21 ’20

A third of Tory voters disapprove of Starmer compared with three-quarters of LAB voters disapproving of Johnson

The latest Opinium poll carried out before the Cummings lockdown affair came out overnight and the big change has been in the approval ratings of the PM and LOTO. The charts above show the recent trends.

A big development is that for the first time Starmer has moved ahead of Johnson and he’s done it with a spectacular jump in just seven days. Last week he was just behind the PM. This week he is on a net plus 30% while Johnson is on a net 6%. So a gap of 24 points.

This week, of course, has seen the PM u-turn on NHS fees for overseas NHS workers and another lacklustre PMQs.

What’s really interesting in the figures is that Tory voters are viewing the LAB leader far more positively than you normally expect and Starmer only gets 33% of Tories voters disapproving of him which compares with 76% of LAB voters disapproving of Johnson.

Normally you expect to see high levels of disapproval both ways with CON and LAB backers being highly partisan in their view of the opposing leader.

Mike Smithson