Labour support lowest since before 2010 general election

Support for the Labour Party is at the lowest level since the final days of Gordon Brown's premiership, November's Ipsos MORI Political Monitor reveals.

Labour support lowest since before 2010 general election

CON 32 (+2); LAB 29 (-4); LIB DEM 9 (+1); UKIP 14 (-2)

Support for the Labour Party is at the lowest level since the final days of Gordon Brown’s premiership, November’s Ipsos MORI Political Monitor reveals. Labour are down four points to 29%, their first score below 30% of the vote since before the last general election, while the Conservatives are up two points to 32%, giving them a three-point lead - the biggest lead we have recorded for the Conservatives since October 2010. This is a turnaround since last month, prior to recent media rumours of a Labour leadership challenge, when Labour held a three-point lead on 33% over the Conservatives’ 30%. UKIP are down two points from last month’s high on 14%, while the Liberal Democrats are up one point to 9%.

One in eight (13%) of Britons think Ed Miliband is ready to be Prime Minister, while 73% disagree. William Hague’s lowest score was 18% in May 2000, while Iain Duncan Smith had 16% agree he was ready to be Prime Minister in September 2003. Fewer Britons think Mr Miliband is now ready to be Prime Minister now (13%) than was the case less than a year into his leadership in May 2011 (17%).

Concern for Mr Miliband's readiness for office is shared by Labour supporters. The majority of Labour supporters do not think he is ready; 53% say he is not ready to be Prime Minister, while 35% say he is ready

One in four (23%) think the Labour Party is ready to form the next government, while 61% disagree; this is the lowest score for an opposition party since the Conservatives in September 2003 in the penultimate month of Iain Duncan Smith’s party leadership, when 21% thought the party were ready. This is down from 35% agreeing Labour were ready to govern in June this year, when 52% disagreed. One in four (27%) Labour supporters currently believe that Labour are not ready to form the next government, with 57% saying they are ready.

Satisfaction in Ed Miliband as Labour leader is at its lowest level, with 21% satisfied in his performance and 65% dissatisfied, giving him a net rating (% satisfied minus % dissatisfied) of -44. This is the lowest level of satisfaction in any Labour leader since Gordon Brown at the height of the economic crisis in July 2008, who received the same score. 

The last Labour leader to have a lower satisfaction score than Mr Miliband was Michael Foot in the days following Margaret Thatcher’s landslide victory in the 1983 general election. His satisfaction rating is now lower than for Nick Clegg, for the first time since January 2012.

Satisfaction with Mr Clegg is at 26%, with 62% dissatisfied, giving him a net rating of -36. David Cameron has a net rating of -15, with 38% satisfied and 53% dissatisfied, while Nigel Farage has a net rating of -6, with 38% satisfied and 44% dissatisfied. Satisfaction with the government is at 33%, with 60% dissatisfied, giving a net rating of -27.

Dissatisfaction with Mr Miliband among Labour supporters is at 58%, the highest level of dissatisfaction we have ever recorded for any leader of any major party among their own supporters in the twenty years we have recorded this data. Just one in three (35%) Labour supporters are satisfied with Mr Miliband’s performance, giving him a net rating of -23 among his own party’s supporters. In contrast, 80% of Conservatives are satisfied with David Cameron’s performance, with 14% dissatisfied, giving a net rating of +66. Nick Clegg has a net rating of +4 among Liberal Democrats, with 49% satisfied and 45% dissatisfied, while Nigel Farage has a net rating of +83 among UKIP supporters, with 89% satisfied and 6% dissatisfied. Two in three (65%) of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are satisfied with the government, with 29% dissatisfied, giving a net rating of +36.

Bobby Duffy, Managing Director at Ipsos MORI said:

“The interviewing for this poll was conducted at the height of the very public discussion of a possible challenge to Ed Miliband’s leadership of the party – and it looks like it’s had a significant effect on public opinion. The Labour leadership will clearly hope that this marks a low point - they’ve lost the lead to the Conservatives in overall voting intention, but they’re still within touching distance, which is quite remarkable given the relentlessly negative coverage.”

Technical note:

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,011 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 8-10 November 2014.  Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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