Jeremy Corbyn’s critics say that the current Labour leader is simply unelectable. The two charts below suggest it is very difficult for even his most loyal supporters to argue against this.
The first, produced by Dr Andrew Norton and based on publicly-available Ipsos MORI data, shows how Corbyn’s current public satisfaction rating is the worst of any Labour leader since Michael Foot.
Like Corbyn, Foot was a veteran socialist when he became the party’s leader. The Conservatives enjoyed a landslide victory over Foot’s Labour in the 1983 election — the most divisive election victory since 1945.
Even more shocking is that nearly a third (29%) of Brits who voted Labour in 2015 believe Theresa May would make a better prime minister than Jeremy Corbyn, according to YouGov’s findings.
Corbyn’s predecessor, Ed Miliband, was polling at 35% at this stage in the last electoral cycle — 11% better-off than the current Labour leader. Miliband went on to lose the general election. This does not bode well for Corbyn at all.
His popularity really began to plummet in the weeks following the outcome of the EU referendum. Many Labour MPs and supporters felt that Corbyn wasn’t enthusiastic enough in campaigning for Remain. This hardly improved his relations with supporters given that Lord Ashcroft estimates around 63% of Labour supporters voted Remain.
Secondly, we have Business Insider’s latest voter intention tracker. A YouGov poll published on Tuesday evening indicated a 12-point lead for the Tories (40% > 28%). It was the latest in a series of recent polls which have given massive leads to the Conservatives.
History tells us that opposition parties are usually in the lead at this stage of the electoral cycle. For example, at this point during the last cycle, YouGov gave a 9-point lead to Miliband’s Labour, and in July 2006 the same pollster gave the Conservatives a 5-point lead over the Labour government.
As Corbyn’s supporters will tell you, he continues to enjoy high levels of grassroots support among the Labour party membership. But there is no escaping the reality that the current Labour leader is deeply unpopular with the general public.
This data will act as yet more ammunition for supporters of Corbyn’s leadership rival Owen Smith. They argue that Smith, as a more moderate candidate with the backing of the majority of Labour MPs, will be able to turn the party into a viable electoral force once more.
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