Labour party image falls since 2017 - seen as more divided, more extreme and less fit to govern

The latest Political Monitor shows Labour's party image has fallen since 2017 as they are seen as more divided, more extreme and less fit to govern.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Dylan Spielman Public Affairs
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  • Labour still the most liked party though
  • Boris Johnson retains lead as most capable Prime Minister

Boris Johnson is still seen as the leader who would make the most capable Prime Minister according to the latest Ipsos MORI Political Monitor. Half (49%) say Boris Johnson would make the most capable Prime Minster compared with three in ten (30%) who say Jeremy Corbyn – little change from September.

Best Prime Minister

The new poll also asks the public about the image of both the Conservative and Labour parties: 

  • Both the Conservatives and Labour are comparable on a number of attributes. Similar numbers say they both keep their promises (25% vs 26% respectively), understand the problems facing Britain (46% vs 47%), will promise anything to win votes (70% vs 68%), look after the interests of people like them (36% vs 39%) and are different to the other parties (55% vs 59%).
  • More say the Conservatives have a good team of leaders (37% vs 22% for Labour) and are fit to govern (46% vs. 29%).  More also believe Labour are divided (75% vs. 62% for the Conservatives), extreme (50% vs. 33%) and out of date (51% vs 44%).
  • Labour though has its strongest lead over the Conservatives as being concerned about people in real need in Britain (59% vs 34%).

Party image

  • Labour’s image has worsened on a number of aspects since 2017, including understanding Britain’s problems (-7 points), having a good team of leaders (-9), being fit to govern (-9), and being more divided and extreme (both +13).
  • The Conservatives have seen less change over that period, though some improvements such as on having a good team of leaders (+10), understanding Britain’s problems (+6), being concerned about people in real need (+6), and being less divided (-11), though slightly more criticism on promising anything to win votes (+7) and being extreme (+5).
  • Similar numbers also see the Liberal Democrats as understanding the problems facing Britain (45%), looking after the interests of people like them (36%) and being different to other parties (56%).
  • The Liberal Democrats have the lowest scores on keeping their promises (18%), but are also seen as less divided (28%) or extreme (23%) than the other parties.

More Britons say they like Boris Johnson than they do Jeremy Corbyn (44% vs 23% respectively) however more say they like the Labour Party than the Conservatives (49% vs 42% respectively). The poll also finds:

  • Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party are both less liked than in September 2018 (down 9 and 8 points respectively).  Jeremy Corbyn’s likeability ratings are the worst Ipsos MORI has seen for a Labour or Conservative leader since 2007.

Likeability of parties

  • Three in ten (29%) say they like the Labour party but not the leader, including 36% of Labour supporters and 55% of Liberal Democrats.
  • A third (34%) like Jo Swinson (52% don’t like her) while a third (34%) also like the Liberal Democrats (52% don’t like the Liberal Democrats)
  • A quarter (27%) like Nigel Farage (67% don’t like him) while another quarter (26%) like the Brexit Party (68% don’t like the Brexit Party).

When it comes to Labour governing the Political Monitor finds a third agree that the party is ready to form the next government (32%, up 5 points from September) while three in five disagree (59%, down 3 points). A quarter say that Jeremy Corbyn is ready to be Prime Minister (24%, down 3 points) while two in three disagree (65%, up 2 points).  These figures are similar to Ed Miliband in February 2015, but well below the support received by Tony Blair and Labour before the 1997 election.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Politics at Ipsos MORI, said:

Labour’s troubles when it comes to public ratings of its leader are not new, although Jeremy Corbyn is starting from a lower base than in 2017.  But what this research shows is how the image of the party as a whole has been damaged over the last two years.  Labour is now seen as more divided than the Conservatives, are seen as more extreme than in 2017, and have fallen further behind on competence ratings like being fit to govern and having a good team of leaders.   They are though still seen as more of the party of the heart if not the head – the public thinks they are the more compassionate, and are still the most liked party, although even this has dropped over the last year.  The question is whether they can overcome the public’s wider doubts during the rest of the campaign. The Conservatives also have their own issues – they are not very liked beyond their own support, are also seen as divided, and there is scepticism they will keep their promises, though they are mostly either showing little change or showing small improvements compared with under Theresa May.

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,228 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 15th – 19th November 2019.  Data are weighted to the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error. On the basis of the historical record of the polls at recent general elections, there is a 9 in 10 chance that

 

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Dylan Spielman Public Affairs

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