The full tables for ICM’s poll on Sunday are now up on their website. Amongst other things ICM asked whether people would even recognise some of the potential leadership challengers if they saw them in the street. While 79% think they would recognise Jack Straw, only 54% would recognise Harriet Harman and 53% David Miliband, and beyond that potential leaders are barely recognisable at all – 29% think they would recognise Alan Johnson, only 9% James Purnell. Those are the respondents who would recognise these people, presumably the proportion of people who recognise them and know something about them is even smaller.

It’s worth remembering that in questions about how people would vote with Harriet Harman, David Miliband, etc in charge, the majority of respondents don’t actually know anything about that person. At a stretch people might be familiar enough with Jack Straw to take a guess how they might feel towards a Jack Straw premiership (though not necessarily a good guess), but for the rest of them…


5 Responses to “Why we should be wary of leadership polls”

  1. A good article to bring some sense to the silly season in politics. AS you say: only 54% would recognise Harriet Harman and 53% David Miliband, and beyond that potential leaders are barely recognisable at all – 29% think they would recognise Alan Johnson ….! David Milliband is unwise to position himself as he has.

    Harriet Harman and Alan Johnson were the front two in the deputy leader poll and, as far as I am concerened, are the only sensible alternatives if Brown should decide to step down. Otherwise there would hardly be any difference between the 3 main Party leaders: Tweedle Dums v Tweedle-Dees.

  2. I agree with this article; much as I would like to gleefully agree with the predictions that the only leader worse than Brown is anyone else in the Labour party, we must remember that a leader is only properly tested in the job, and even 2nd-in-command does not show us everything.

    Look at Brown; I doubt the PLP would have acquiesced in the anointed succession so much, had they known that a growing SNP/PC vote and extinction in most of England was in store leading to 2010. But no-one really thought that the summer 2007 burst was all that Brown’s popularity machine had in it.

  3. the problem is with brown is that he is boring and dull and can not come up with any of his own ideas he just nicks them from others partys if things continue with the polls at the next election it is likely that the conservatives will have more than 50% of the vote for the first time in over 70 years

  4. Why not give the “bruiser” Prescott a chance – i mean he’s proved himself over the years – especially at PMQ’s.

  5. Oh no, not Prescott; the lines were there to prevent sword-fights, but fearing a right hook over the Dispatch Box is an especially unedifying concept.

    But then, I am a Tory; in which case, go for it, Prezza. Your antics would allow Cameron to harden opinion against Labour.