Inside the London Bubble, the media narrative about Jeremy Corbyn goes a bit like this:
- Corbyn has been a disaster as the new leader of the Labour Party.
- He’s tearing the party apart as the socialist army inside the Momentum group threatens to deselect moderate MPs who show him disloyalty.
- He can’t control the people who sympathise with him, like veteran lefty Ken Livingstone, whom he appointed to his defence review team and who immediately caused offence by saying Labour’s shadow defence minister Kevan Jones “might need psychiatric help.”
- And he’s going to lose the country as a whole by taking bonkers positions, such as the idea that you can fight ISIS with negotiations in the United Nations.
- His rabid supporters have even managed to alienate Rob Webb, the comic genius behind Peep Show, who called the “Corbynators” a bunch of “posturing twats.”
But hold that thought.
Here’s a piece of news that has received almost zero attention from London’s political media:
In the country as a whole, Corbyn is actually doing rather well, according to the most recent Ipsos-MORI poll. When asked who they would vote for if an election was held tomorrow, 35% said Labour and 37% said Conservative:
OK, so Labour are still trailing the Tories. But bear in mind that back at the May general election, former Labour leader Ed Miliband managed to poll only about 30% of the national vote, to PM David Cameron’s 37%. Both parties have gained as they continue to take votes from UKIP and the Liberal Democrats, according to the YouGov polling blog. (The Green Party added a point, too.)
And, as Business Insider noted previously, Miliband was actually a successful Labour leader. He added 740,000 votes to Labour’s total at the last election, compared to the previous one. (Labour lost because the Tory gains from the Liberals, coupled with Labour’s losses to the SNP, screwed the Labour Party out of about 1 million votes it would otherwise have got.)
Polls are not elections of course. And the 2020 vote is a long way away.
But if Corbyn’s numbers stay firm over time it will prove our pet theory that the hostile media environment isn’t detrimental to Corbyn — it actually helps him by proving his supporters’ suspicions about the bias of the right-wing media.
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