Johnson’s ahead in leader ratings.

Boris is looking strong in the key polls.  Will he now have the confidence to dump the so-called Withdrawal Deal and go for a clean break?  Farage thinks he should, as does Trump.

Rest from

Above are the latest satisfaction ratings from Ipsos-MORI which started polling in the late 1970s. As can be seen from the chart Johnson is now in positive territory, Swinson is a net minus 12, Farage a net minus 22 with the LAB leader on minus 60. There are equal the worst numbers for an opposition leader ever.

No doubt LAB optimists will be pointing to what happened at GE2017 when LAB saw a remarkable recovery though the party still lost the election. The hope for the red team is that this will get better as the six week campaign goes on.

As I keep on saying historically leader ratings have proved to be a better guide to electoral outcomes than voting intention polls which is why I highlight them.

As we move towards to the formal campaign period the opposition parties get a bigger slice of the cake from the broadcast media and Corbyn can expect more coverage with Johnson getting a bit less.

The real worry for Labour is that unlike two and a half years ago the LDs are polling at two and a half times the level of what they got then. They’ve also improved their parliamentary position with a by-election success and, of course, a CON and LAB defectors. Their campaign message is totally focused on Brexit and their activity so far appears to be aimed at getting LAB remainer switchers.

The voting intention figures from the poll  are:

Conservatives 41% (+8)
Labour 24% (nc)
Lib Dems 20% (-3)
Brexit Party 7% (-3)
Greens 3% (-1)
Other 5% (nc)

On Betfair a CON majority is now back up at more than 50%.

If you had followed the 2017 General Election only through the prism of leader ratings then the actual outcome with the Labour recovery would have been less of a surprise. For these were showing that Theresa May’s numbers getting steadily worse and that Corbyn’s were improving very rapidly in the run up to election. Indeed by election day Corbyn had jumped out of negative territory.

The ratings format I like the most and the one that tends to be be universal in the US is over favorability because there can be no ambiguity. Thus many non-LAB voters could honestly say they approve or are satisfied with Corbyn’s performance as leader but would view him unfavourably.

About 4 years ago YouGov started doing regular favorability ratings as a result of suggestions from me and have continued doing them to this day.

The latest numbers based on fieldwork that took place last week are in the panel above and as can be seen that in net terms Johnson and Swinson are about level. The latter suffers from being much less known and fewer people have an opinion of her.

Corbyn’s unfavourables continue to be very high and should be a serious worry for the party as it prepares to go into the campaign. His party’s hope, of course, is that we’ll see a repetition of the recovery at GE2017

In the next seven weeks there’ll be many voting intention polls coming out but relatively few leader ratings. My emphasis will be on the latter.

Mike Smithson


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