I’ve had chance to look at the proper figures from this mornings YouGov poll, including their regular trackers which produce some interesting findings. While there were more respondents who claimed their opinion of Brown had got worse over recent weeks than those who said it had improved, the trackers confirm this really isn’t the case. A month ago Gordon Brown’s approval rating was minus 58, now it is minus 38. Still awful of course, but the improvement is undeniable.

Looking at some of the other trackers there is an interesting pattern. Across the board topline voting intention figures have shown Labour increasing their support… but Conservative support only falling slightly, with most polls suggesting they are holding on at 40+ percent support. YouGov’s trackers show a similar pattern. Looking at the best Prime Minister figures, Cameron’s lead over Brown has fallen from 18 points a month ago to only 7 now. However, Cameron has remained steady on 34%, it is Gordon Brown who has taken support from Nick Clegg and “don’t knows”.

On who will run the economy better, the Conservative lead has dropped from 17 points a month ago to only 4 points now, but their own percentage has dropped by only 3 points; the big shift was Labour gaining at the expense of “neither”. It suggests that what has happened in the last month is that Labour supporters who had been disillusioned with Brown’s government, but in most cases hadn’t embraced the Conservatives as the alternative and were just dismissing the lot of them, have been won back over.

The survey also included a very interesting finding about perceptions of party sleaze. YouGov found that 34% of people thought that the Conservatives gave the impression of “being very sleazy and disreputable” this compared to 42% who thought the same about the Labour party.

This shows that, despite the recent fuss over George Osborne, Labour are still seen as the “sleazier” party. However, the wording has been used by YouGov in the past and going back to look at find findings reveals a transformation in perceptions. The Conservatives score is up marginally from 31% in November 2007, but in general has been pretty stable – they registered 33% to 34% on the question several times between 2002 and 2006. The proportion of people who think Labour are sleazy though has plummeted – between 2002 and 2007 YouGov were registering between 56% and 69% of people thinking Labour were “very sleazy and disreputable” and the last time the question was asked in November 2007 60% said they were sleazy. 42% is a significant drop.

It could just be the aura effect of the government’s crisis handling, or perhaps just the fact there there is not currently any Labour scandal in the news (almost by definition these questions only tend to get asked when there is sleaze story in the newspapers), but it looks as though Gordon Brown is successfully decontaminating Labour from some of the perceived sleaze of the Blair years.

14 Responses to “Labour’s image is becoming less sleazy”

  1. I’ve seen this asked for both Tories and Labour.

    Have they asked…

    “Do you think the Lib Dems are very sleazy and disreputable?”

  2. Have you seen or heard any reports of any LibDems supping with oligarchs on board any luxury yachts?

  3. My point is a technical one – it has been asked about Conservatives and Labour on a long standing basis since the 1990s, and could be said plants an idea.

    It is not an opinion of mine about whether any party is sleazy or not, all of them, or none.

  4. “Have you seen or heard any reports of any LibDems supping with oligarchs on board any luxury yachts”

    McOligarch Michael Brown comes to mind…donations through Swiss Bank accounts via a UK company not then registered etc etc.

    Mr Brown was banged up for perjury & passport deception ,though his yacht ,five properties, Porsche Cayenne, & Bentley were seized by the Spanish & British Police.

    So maybe Charles Kennedy never made it onto the yacht-but he did get to use Mr. Brown’s private jet.

  5. Labour done a lot for this country and the nhs,helping people back in to work.so i think tories and lib dems are sleazy.

  6. Colin,
    why not mention Lloyd George’s propensity for selling peerages and playing ‘how’s your father’?

    Or why not keep a running list of the crimes and misdemeanors of each party?

  7. “why not mention Lloyd George’s propensity for selling peerages and playing ‘how’s your father’?”

    Because that would be silly-it was ninety years ago & pre-dates the Liberal Democrats.
    Michael Brown was 2005.

    “wy not keep a running list of the crimes and misdemeanors of each party?”

    It would be quite a long list!-but would at least stop “holier than thou” Lib Dem supporters like you trying to ignore their own Party’s contributions to it, whilst criticising everyone elses.

  8. Brown is going to make sure no-one jokes about him on the BBC.

  9. Amongst the vast number of comments over the last year or so about Gordon Brown’s good and bad points I don’t remember anything which connected him personally with any sort of sleaze. Neither has he sought to gain any benefit by talking about the fact that he is slowly going blind or has a child with disabilities and I think the public are beginning to appreciate his no nonsense and focussed approach.

  10. Colin,
    from a statistical point of view confusing sympathy with non-antipathy will get you into all sorts of problems when attempting to draw conclusions.

    For ease, perhaps you limit a list of all sleaze to within a timeframe of your choosing so that a comparison may be made based on the evidence rather than on which party you do or don’t favour.

    Then it would be interesting to see how this matches up with public perception.

    I await your results with interest.

  11. ‘Sleaze’ is surely associaied with those who took cash for asking questions in the Commons or accepted cash for their personal use in brown paper envelopes or paid members of their families for ‘working’ for them?

  12. …or took illegal campaign donations when running for deputy leader of the Labour Party…?

    Come on, we could swap sleaze stories all night!

  13. Sleaze is a naive tabloid tagword.

    In all walks of life, some people who have access to opportunity take advantage. Others don’t.

    There is nothing inherently sleazy about being Labour, Tory or LibDem. It is a matter of individual discretion or lack of it.

  14. That’s probably correct.
    Some people will claim all their expenses possible – some don’t.
    In my job, on the few occasions I travel, I’m always very careful not to claim for anything that is remotely borderline (like meals).

    It is difficult for parties to raise funds, and although there have been scandals about this, I don’t think there has ever been any suggestion that anyone personally has tried to get some of the money for themselves.
    I’m certainly opposed to state funding, as I think that will make the public more hostile to all parties, which is of no use to any of us really.