Over on PoliticsHome there is a daily poll of around 100 ‘political insiders’ – political editors, columnists, MPs, heads of think tanks and so on (there is a list of ‘outed’ members here but lots are anonymous). The theory behind it is not to reflect the opinions of political insiders (because after all, what is the universe of political insiders?), but to pick at their insider knowledge from the ‘Westminster bubble’. The results released today asked the panel to rank a selection of government ministers and government frontbenchers, the start of what will be a regular tracker.

The most highly ranked of them all was Vince Cable at 7.5/10, followed by Michael Gove who was practically workshipped by the panellists on the right and got the second highest rating from those on the left. The striking thing however was the contrast between perceptions of the Conservative top team compared to the Labour one. The only senior Labour minister who was highly rated was David Miliband on 6.1, following by the more junior James Purnell on 5.9 and Alan Johnson 5.8. Jacqui Smith’s average rating was 4.6 and Alistair Darling’s 4.0 – the lowest average rating of all of those tracked. Compare this to the Conservative’s main figures: Hague 6.4, Osborne 6.3 and Davis 6.2. This isn’t just partisan feeling – the Tories were even rated marginally better if you take the responses only of those panellists from the left – Miliband 6.8, Smith 5.3, Darling 4.4 compared to Hague 6.6, Davis 5.6 and Osborne 6.4.

This doesn’t, of course, mean that members of the public feel the same, an MP can be very respected amongst the Westminster commentariat and loathed and detested by the public, but given most of the public only see politics through the prism of the media, through their baises and opinions, in practice their opinions hold great sway with the rest of the electorate.

10 Responses to “Political insiders rate the top teams”

  1. Isn’t there a major problem here though, which is those polled know to what purpose it is being used, and are a large proportion of the poll (1%) so their responses might be largely about sending a message rather than their actual view.

  2. Not sure I agree with Matthew but his point’s still valid. However, is the lower rating for Ministers about exposure – it’s easy to talk but less easy to do? The disaster that is Ed Balls indicates this fact!

    I think Brown does have some real problems with his team – looks to me like a fair few of them are paybacks for favours in the Blair Wars rather than selections on merit. Is the suggestion of a summer reshuffle about sorting this out.

  3. May be it’s deliberate but some of the “outed” 30 are prominent Members, some Shadow ministers. Are they automatically omitted from consideration or are they considered by the 100 either all poor or below average?

  4. Well given that there isn’t a single SNP member even considered I am going to go off in the huff to our Spring Conference in Edinburgh.

    I’ll be speaking on Post offices on Sunday so any of you who want a laugh can have a look at the BBC Scotland pod cast.


  5. Trying not to be party political about this.

    The top 4 of the Tories look strong -Cameron,Hague,Osborne,Davis although they are a bit lightweight below. Shame they can’t bring K Clarke back on board.

    As for Labour – Milliband looks a possible leader in the future- way better than Ed Ballsof the younger generation.

    Darling looks too highly pitched at Chancellor level and Straw,although competent,looks like he’s been in front line politics for too long. J Smith looks out of her depth as Home Secretary.

  6. KTL – maybe you are right – Milliband may lead the country one day , he would be our version of Barak Obama – possibly the first non white contender for PM in the UK.

  7. Mike – You didn’t just compare Milliband to Obama?

    The only thing the two have in common is being mixed race. Obama is a talented speaker, inspiring, the type of person that fills you with hope.

    Milliband is non of those things.

  8. DAVE – In no way was i comparing Milliband with Obama in a political sense / Milliband is like a school prefect in comparison to Obama as a politician – i was likening the direction both America and Britain are going at a very fast pace ! I did’nt say i liked it or agreed with it .

    LOOKS like even Populus (the one with the Labour bias) is starting to agree with other POLLSTERS – there will be a lot of unhappy contributors to this site – but we can’t hold back the hands of time – the current is way too strong now for Mr.Brown to swim against to the shore and safety – he will sink before he reaches it – May 1st is very close now !!

  9. Mike Richardson said ….
    “KTL – maybe you are right – Milliband may lead the country one day , he would be our version of Barak Obama – possibly the first non white contender for PM in the UK.”

    How is Milliband non white? Or do you mean non Anglo-Saxon? Like Michael Howard or Benjamin Disraeli.

  10. Considering Milliband as a leader made me splutter so much that I felt compelled to comment.

    Leadership requires more than just being the least offensive face among a tired and discredited crowd of motley characters, as Labour has been since Blair lost his battle of wills with Brown.

    We should recall how Milliband sat on his hands when the opportunity arose, scared of upsetting the procession toward Brown’s coronation and even endorsing him.

    If Milliband had anything positive to contribute in a leadership capacity he needed to contend for his place at the table, but his failure to act in support of Labour’s internal democracy has disqualified him and anyone of equal experience within his generation – they have all shown they are incapable and unwilling to stand up for any beliefs in the face of a dangerously domineering Brown.