Coffee House

Polls show big leads for Labour, but bad ratings for Ed Miliband

19 September 2012

5:21 PM

19 September 2012

5:21 PM

Over the past two days, we’ve had polls from four different pollsters, and all of them show big leads for Labour. Yesterday, Populus gave Ed Miliband’s party a 15-point lead — the largest lead the pollster has ever shown for Labour. Today, Ipsos MORI shows Labour ahead by 11 points and TNS BMRB have them up by 12. The latest YouGov tracker gives Labour a nine-point lead, although averaging their polls over the last week makes it more like ten points. The precise margins may be different, but all of these results would — if replicated in a general election — result in a large Labour majority and hand Ed Miliband the keys to 10 Downing Street.

But while voters say they would vote for Miliband’s party, they still don’t seem enthusiastic about making him Prime Minister. In that Populus poll, 68 per cent said they were dissatisfied with David Cameron, but even among those a majority said they’d still prefer to have him as PM than Ed. And Ipsos MORI found that the public rates David Cameron as ‘stronger’ on most of the qualities it tested. In particular, he posts big leads on being ‘eloquent’, ‘Prime Ministerial’, ‘tough enough for the job of Prime Minister’ and ‘smart enough for the job of Prime Minister’. Miliband only comes out ahead on two qualities — ‘understands people like me’ and ‘will protect British jobs’ — and by much smaller margins.


At the moment, it seems the public’s low opinion of Miliband is outweighed by its even lower opinion of the government (net approval rating: -34). But will that last until election day in 2015? As the 2010 election approached, we saw Labour’s poll rating recover somewhat — not because people were warming to Gordon Brown’s government, but because they weren’t particularly enamoured with the apparent alternative. If Cameron — with all that eloquence, toughness and smartness — couldn’t prevent his lead being eaten into, it seems unlikely that Miliband — without it — will be able to. But of course, with the boundary review blocked, Labour may only need one or two points of its lead left by 2015 to claim a majority anyway.

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Show comments
  • InsaneIdeasAreBest

    And this is going on in every boardroom wordwide. Glad I wound up my company and set sail offshore. The Night of The Long Cleavers is finally approaching its

    Taken ALL my money out of little england and the ball that was rolling down hill is catching fire.

    Told everyone back in 1987 again in 200 and again in 2007 now just watch as our wasted Rome burns to the ground.

    Rice paper money pun intended melts in the rain and offers nothing but deep distress when viewed fron the toilet seat.

  • Frank P

    The only thing that surprises me about the chart is that any of the replies caused the reds and blues to rise above the zero line. Or are they negative readings? Add another question: “Who thinks they are the two wettest wankers ever to enter into British politics?” and you should get a 100% reading – always supposing you canvas a sample of people outside the Westminster bubble, that is.

    [There I go again, Louisa, Sorry! I did take your gentle reprimand to heart and inwardly blushed – resolving to think of other pejorative analogies and metaphors to express my contempt for today’s posse of politicians; then up comes JJ with this crap and triggers my Tourette’s again – please forgive me, but it’s his fault – really!]

  • dorothy wilson

    Paradoxically Labour are in the lead in the opinion polls because they have no policies. Voters – or at least a large chunk of them – can then thus project their own wish list onto the opposition.

  • M. Wenzl

    Cameron, tough and smart?? Is this relative to Miliband? Because he’s certainly not smarter. And the extent of his toughness is reflected by his inability to control his own party and tendency to about turn on unpopular policies.

  • Realist

    Well, the Tories still managed to win the last election with Cameron as leader so see no reason why Labour shouldn’t do the same under Miliband. My main concern is that Labour is already in such a winning position – seems the UK electorate has a very short memory or have a death wish or maybe both. Unbelievable.

    • George_Arseborne

      Point of correction, the Tories did not win the last election. If that be the case why are they in coalition? I learnt the new Tory strategy is to go on Milliband personality. Well this will be tragedy for the right wing. The electorate will warm up to policy rather than charisma. Cameron by the way is not charismatic, he is just a PR stunt, which makes the difference. If I were in Milliband’s position I will be rolling with happiness if the Tories go on the personality tragedy. Finally just as a reminder UK electoral System is Parliamentary not Presidential like in the US and if such lead is maintain Labour will not need to form a coalition by 2015 and we will be rule by Prime Minister Ed Milliband. No hard feelings eh!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Maidmarrion

    You mean that Iraq ,Afghanistan, gold selloff at knock down price to save an unnamed American bank , expenses fiddling and utter incompetence is a winner with the UK public?
    Goodness me!

  • Mirtha Tidville

    Cameron has only himself to blame for the mess his party is in and the policies he is pursuing. If a lot of the public think `Dave` is up to the job, it just goes to prove there are a lot of deluded people out there….Their apparant regard for the party that got us into this mess simply re inforces it

  • michael

    Austerity don’t sell,
    The only guy in town who has both the track record and street cred to take hard nosed economic realities and detoxify them all up in a nicey fluffy cuddly ball of compassion, is Ken Clarke… Our ‘political’ Chancellor possesses not one ‘shred’ of compassion.

    • james102

      Lack of compassion? That is not the problem with Osborne it
      is his lack of real world experience.

      Clarke can’t keep his mouth shut so would make some stupid
      remark like he did recently that regardless of him leaving the Justice Department
      the nonsense policies will continue (I paraphrase)

      As for Milliband’s poll ratings, what no one will face up to
      and admit is he looks too foreign. He is no more of a Geek than any of the
      other party leaders but he just looks like he should be speaking with a heavy
      German accent. The Conservatives are very lucky he is the Labour Party leader,
      if it was Balls or almost anyone else they would be annihilated in the elections;
      with Milliband it will be a close run race.

  • Showusyertitz

    Dado Cameron to lead the 2015 Labour Party then (oh, he already leads the left of centre party that used to be called Conservative).

  • Russell

    The LibDem refusal to get 50 troughing MP’s off the taxpayers wallet is sufficient reason to sack(vote out) 50 of their MP’s.