Sunday, 12 December 2010

Party leaders' approval ratings

Obviously after this somewhat traumatic week, it is a good time to have a look at the levels of public approval (or otherwise) of the three main parties' leaders. Political Betting has been doing this recently, and it looks like a useful broad indicator of public opinion. Some say it is better than the standard "voting intention" opinion polls, though personally I feel they are probably of similar value and it's best to take both measures equally seriously.

Anyway, Political Betting's summary of the current position, taken from the last week's surveys, set out in easy-to-understand small tables (one per leader) and with figures sub-divided by party support of those polled, is very telling.

Inevitably the two coalition partners' leaders have dropped a little (fewer approve of them and more disapprove) and Labour's Ed Miliband has crept up a notch from doing - well, nothing really! He certainly hasn't been taking any kind of lead in any issue, though at least Alan Johnson is now less at odds with him over the Graduate Tax idea.

Perhaps the most interesting mini-facts are the support for each leader from his own party's supporters, as follows:
  • David Cameron - 96% of Tory supporters think he is doing well
  • Ed Miliband - 62% of Labour supporters think he is doing well
  • Nick Clegg - 75% of Lib Dem supporters think he is doing well
Even more interestingly, more Conservatives think Nick Clegg is doing well (65%), and more Lib Dems think David Cameron is doing well (81%), than that "home team" Labour figure for Red. Especially bearing in mind how more sharply polarised the (typically partisan) Labour voters are in their negativity towards the non-Labour leaders, this looks to be even more revealing than either the article's author or any of the commenters (so far) have realised.

Specifically in today's YouGov poll for the Sunday Times, the findings include that just a quarter of people think Ed Mili is "up to the job", and just 12 % (i.e. under an eighth) of people think he is a better option than his brother, David the banana-man.

Especially in a week that one might have thought (at least from watching the BBC or reading The Guardian) would have swung opinion much more in Labour's direction, or at least against Clegg and Cameron, this is a surprisingly stable overall situation, and satisfying news for the Coalition party leaders.

It certainly isn't good news for Red Ed!

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