This article has been written independently by David Cowling and does not necessarily reflect the views of Ipsos MORI.
I have looked at the incomparable Ipsos MORI polling series on satisfaction/dissatisfaction with Opposition party leaders and the following table registers the lowest point in that series for each of the eleven Opposition leaders who held office during the period 1977-2019.
|Opposition Leader||Satisfied||Dissatisfied||Net satisfaction||Date of poll|
|Duncan Smith||16||53||-37||Feb 2003|
Over this period only Thatcher, Blair and Cameron completed the journey from Leader of the Opposition to Prime Minister. The nadir of their ratings in this series were -13%, +7% and -22% (although it should be noted that Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010 despite the Conservatives failing to secure a governing majority of their own).
We are accustomed to the seemingly endless Via Dolorosa that Mrs May has stumbled along since the 2017 general election. However, it says quite something about the current state of UK politics that the Leader of the Opposition has just registered the second (fractionally) biggest net dissatisfaction ratings and the highest percentage of dissatisfied respondents of the past four decades.
- David Cowling is an independent Political Analyst.