Labour are the most popular party, but Miliband trails behind

The Ipsos MORI Political Monitor for March shows that as David Cameron remains the most popular party leader, Ed Miliband is yet to convince the public despite the Labour party outperforming the Conservatives.

Labour are the most popular party, but Miliband trails behind 

Over half of voters have definitely decided who they’ll vote for 

The Ipsos MORI Political Monitor for March shows that as David Cameron remains the most popular party leader, Ed Miliband is yet to convince the public despite the Labour party outperforming the Conservatives.

Three in ten (30%) of Britons say they like Mr Miliband while just over half (52%) say they like the Labour party. In total 8% say they “like Ed Miliband but not the Labour party”, compared to 30% who “do not like Ed Miliband but do like the Labour party”. The Labour leader also suffers a popularity problem within his own party where half (49%) of those voting Labour say they like him. This compares to the 80% of Conservative voters who like David Cameron. Despite Ed Miliband’s personal ratings the Labour party enjoys a 19 point lead in popularity over the Tories (52% saying they like Labour versus 33% saying they like the Conservatives). Compared to April 2010, the Conservative party is less liked than Labour was then (43% liked Labour then, compared to 33% for the Conservatives now), while Ed Miliband is less liked now than David Cameron was as opposition leader (then 53% said they liked David Cameron, compared to 30% for Mr Miliband now).

Other leaders less popular than their party include Nick Clegg, where 31% of those polled say they like him and 40% say they like the Liberal Democrats, and Natalie Bennett of the Greens, where 28% say they like her against 36% saying they like the Green Party. Nigel Farage and Nicola Sturgeon however are slightly more popular than their parties in the eyes of the public. 30% say they like Mr Farage while 25% like UKIP and 26% of the British public like Ms Sturgeon while 21% say they like the SNP.

When asked about leaders and their policies, again Mr Cameron is most liked and Ed Miliband least. Mr Miliband’s policies are most liked, by 40%, followed by Mr Cameron’s on 37% and Natalie Bennett’s on 34%. Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage have the lowest net scores on people liking their policies: 28% like Mr Clegg’s policies but 62% dislike them, and 28% like Mr Farage’s policies but 58% dislike them. One in five (21%) Britons say they like Nicola Sturgeon’s policies, but 43% do not like them.

With less than two months to go until polling day more than half of those expressing a voting intention (56%) say they’ve definitely decided who they’ll vote for, while 41% say they may still change their mind (3% don’t know). More Britons have become sure of their vote compared to last month when 48% said they’ve definitely decided and 51% said they may change their mind. Conservative and UKIP voters are the most likely to have made up their minds with 62% from both parties saying they’ve definitely decided, followed by Labour voters (56% have definitely decided and 42% may change their mind). Lib Dem voters are the least likely to have made up their minds with 43% saying they’ve decided while 51% may change their vote.

Just over four in five Britons (79%) say it’s very important for them personally who wins the General Election. Who wins is most important to Conservative supporters where 65% say it is very important to them, compared to 49% of Labour and 45% of Liberal Democrat voters. The election outcome also has high importance to older voters with 86% of those aged 55 and over claiming the outcome is of personal importance against 80% of 35-54 year olds and 68% of 18-34 year olds.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:

"It's Labour's party brand that is underpinning its vote, even among its own supporters, not the image of its leader. Meanwhile the Conservatives have the opposite problem - one barrier stopping their good economic ratings feeding into votes is simply that the party is even more disliked than it was going into 2010."

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Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,025 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 8-11 March 2015. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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