Jeremy Corbyn’s un-electability is one of the major arguments critics within his party cite for why he should be replaced by Owen Smith.
An Ipsos MORI poll published earlier this week showed that Corbyn’s personal approval ratings are astonishingly low. Just 25% of respondents said he was doing a satisfactory job as Labour leader, while a massive 54% thought Theresa May was doing a good job as prime minister.
But these figures become even more alarming when you compare them to how opposition leaders have performed in opinion polls throughout history. The chart below, based on Ipsos MORI data, shows the net approval ratings of every opposition leader since 1981, 11 months after they were first chosen to lead their party.
As the chart illustrates, Corbyn’s current net approval rating (-33) is worse than that of every opposition leader since Margaret Thatcher became prime minister — even worse than former Labour leader Michael Foot, who guided the party to one of its heaviest ever general election defeats.
Ed Miliband, who guided Labour to defeat in last year’s general election, had a net approval rating of -16 after 11 months of being leader — more than twice better than Corbyn. The net rating is calculated by taking the dissatisfaction score away from the satisfaction rating.
Here are the leaders’ net approval ratings in full:
- Michael Foot -32
- Neil Kinnock -16
- John Smith -7
- Tony Blair +27
- William Hague -25
- Ian Duncan Smith – 15
- Michael Howard -22
- David Cameron -6
- Ed Miliband -16
- Jeremy Corbyn -33
Corbyn’s defenders often point to his huge rallies as evidence of the Labour leader’s popularity. However, preaching to the converted and appealing to the general public are two fundamentally different things.
Corbyn is hugely popular with the Labour membership and will likely win the leadership contest. But, crucially, with the average Brit he is deeply unpopular and it is the average Brit the veteran socialist will have to win over if he wants any chance of becoming prime minister.
UK General Election Seat Forecast
CON: 391 (+60)
LAB: 176 (-56)
SNP: 55 (-1)
PC: 4 (+1)
LD: 4 (-4)
GRN: 2 (+1)
UKIP: 0 (-1)
NI: 18 (-)
— UK Elections (@Election_UK) August 17, 2016
A stark report published by Electoral Calculus earlier this month claimed the statistical probability of Labour winning a majority at the 2020 election is — to the nearest percentage point — zero. UK Elections projected this week that Labour would lose 65 seats in 2020, paving the way for a dominant Tory majority.
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