In yesterday’s Sun there were a set of approval questions for leading politicians (actually asked in July). William Hague came out top, with a net approval rating of plus 11, the only positive rating received. I expect some of that is still a residual effect from the period after he was Tory leader, appearing on things like Have I Got News For You. Most positive after that was Theresa May (-5), David Cameron (-9), Iain Duncan Smith (-15), George Osborne (-17), Liam Fox (-17), Michael Gove (-20). Down at the bottom were Ken Clarke (-32) and Andrew Lansley (-34).

Amongst the Lib Dem ministers included Danny Alexander has the highest rating on -17, followed by Vince Cable -20 and Chris Huhne -23. Nick Clegg was the lowest rated of any politician asked about, with a net rating of -35.

Turning to the opposition, Harriet Harman was most positively rating on minus 9, followed by Yvette Cooper on minus 12 (though her rating is effectively boosted by a very high don’t know value, as is Douglas Alexander’s). Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander are both on minus 14. Ed Miliband himself is on minus 19, the lowest of the Labour figures asked about, but note that the fieldwork was done part of the way through the hackgate affair, so before Miliband got the full boost from it.

The survey also gave people photos of the same list of politicians and asked people to identify them (they were given a list of names to pick from, but asked not to guess if they didn’t know – most people clearly didn’t, as answers tended to be correct or don’t know!). The run down of the percentage of people who were able to identify each photo is as follows:

96% David Cameron
86% William Hague
84% Nick Clegg
80% Ken Clarke
80% Ed Miliband
69% Iain Duncan Smith
63% Vince Cable
60% George Osborne
60% Harriet Harman
58% Ed Balls
45% Theresa May
34% Liam Fox
33% Michael Gove
32% Chris Huhne
30% Danny Alexander
21% Yvette Cooper
18% Andrew Lansley
15% Douglas Alexander

Note that the politicians who over half the country recognise tend to be mostly party leaders (or former ones). They are joined by Ken Clarke (unsurprisingly given he’s been a senior political figure for decades), George Osborne, Ed Balls, Vince Cable and Harriet Harman. Note quite how few people actually recognise people like Yvette Cooper and Andrew Lansley – this is, incidentally, why the survey questions you get when party leaders are in trouble about whether people are more or less likely to vote for X if Y was leader are largely rubbish: most of the people answering wouldn’t be able to identify Y if they bumped into him on the street.


316 Responses to “Politician approval and recognition ratings”

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  1. @R Huckle

    I agree.

    Regards, Martyn

  2. @ Amber Star

    “I object to the fact that ordinary people being able to buy a house is being characterized as a ‘bubble’.

    Once again, a ‘bubble’ is only a ‘bubble’ when it bursts. Therefore, your going on to give reasons why it has not burst proves the point: it isn’t a ‘bubble’.”

    I agree. I do think that it can be a bubble when it’s forced and it’s built on bad loans and false hopes. When you give people the opportunity to get homes they can’t afford on predatory loans and you encourage this as a national policy (as the Bush Administration did), you are creating a bubble.

    But ordinary people being able to afford their own homes is generally a good thing. In contrast to the Dubya created bubbles, the Democratic policies of the late 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s helped create major economic growth by financing widespread private sector home development. Tens of millions of people moved into homes (a possibility that never existed prior for most) and they could actually afford their homes. Although it was the private sector that did this, it was only possible by the government regulating interest rates, investing billions into massive infrastructure development, giving tax credits to real estate developers, and creating loan programs to help people get into those homes.

    In terms of income gap, I guess I’m not a socialist because I have no problem with people making gobs and gobs of money and think it’s a good thing. But I do think that income gaps that grow too large between rich and poor are harmful for society in general. That’s where my concern kicks in. A squeezed middle class is a sign of a struggling society. A strong middle class is a sign of a prospering society.

  3. @ Robert Newark

    “Who was it said of the UK & US..”Alllies separated by a common language”? Churchill?”

    I think he did and I think he’s right too. :)

    I’m off for now. FYI, I had only one night (accidental) in the UK. Thus far in Europe, best meal I’ve had has been in the UK and far better than any of the meals I’ve had in Italy or Spain. And I’m not just saying that to be an Anglophile.

    Ttyl. :)

  4. @SoCalLiberal

    Amber is mistaken.

    Ordinary people cannot afford their own homes in the UK. The average house price is ~£160K, The average salary is ~£27K. Mortgages are difficult to obtain and need deposits of tens of thousands of pounds, which ordinary people do not have.

    The situation is different in the US and Ireland (both bits), where there was a massive house price crash, and Amber lives in Scotland (which has its own system and social housing is more available), and Wales is known for cheap housing (no jobs), but in England it is very, very different.

    Regards, Martyn

  5. There may have been a contribution to possible inflated house prices from (over?)easy credit. But not much. The thing that has driven increased house prices over the last 20-30 years is the disparity between the number of households and the number of houses on the market. In historical terms, house building remains at an all time low, and is woefully short of what is needed simply to maintain our current housing stock, let alone redress the balance.

    I would have thought that those of a right-wing tendency could manage to spot that rather obvious and glaring supply-and-demand market-driven cause of the house price spiral.

    Spiral, not bubble. A small decline during an economic downturn is not a bubble slowly bursting, it’s a reflection of reduced demand at a time of economic uncertainty. If we ever return to growth, house prices will bounce back with a vengeance.

    And where did this shortage come from? The answer is the shortage of government-owned or government-sponsored social housing combined with a lack of (removal of) meaningful rent control. This has flooded the previate rent market, in turn driving up private rents and making buy-to-let a viable money-making option, further increasing the demand for house purchase.

    In the 50s and 60s, the arguments for substantial social housing (and control of private rental) were chiefly social, about providing a decent place for people to live. Those arguments still apply, but there are now also major potential macroeconomic benefits.

  6. Amber/Socal

    A bubble is a bubble. A bubble that bursts is a burst bubble but a bubble can deflate naturally. In the housing situation, we have a bubble which is gradually being deflated through inflation. It has not (& may not) burst so long as unemployment doesn’t suddenly rocket. That doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    When viewing the housing market always do so via the Land Registry figures, not the Banks/building societies as asking prices are rarely the deal prices at the moment.

    Different subject but I heard from a reliable source in the City that the Bundesbank is printing Deutchesmarks like there is no tomorrow. If it’s true, remember you heard it here 1st. If it’s not, forget I mentioned it!

  7. SocalLiberal

    The Catalan Parliament, perhaps more than any single other, was a source of inspiration for the Constitutional Convention which worked on the settingup of the Scottish Parliament.

    It was said – and as far as I know, never denied – that they would use for a model any parliament in the world rather than copy Westminser practice.

    Catalans were amongst the first parlimentarians to visit.

  8. @Robin

    I agree that the previous administration was criminally negligent in the provision of social housing and, indeed, housing in general.

    But a good that triples in prices in 10 years (1997-2007) due to easy credit then falls by 20% in 1 year (2008) when that credit is withdrawn is the dictionary definition of a bubble. It couldn’t have been more bubbly if it had “I AM A BUBBLE” tattooed on its bottom in neon… :-) :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  9. @ Martyn

    I’m usually polite on this board. My apologies to Anthony – but your post is drivel.

    You said: “Labour *were* guilty of preventing working-class kids buying houses and you *should* be ashamed of yourselves.”

    I come from a working class family without any history of home ownership. Myself & my 4 siblings are now home owners; that doesn’t quite square with your allegations, does it?
    8-)

  10. @ Martyn

    But a good that triples in prices in 10 years (1997-2007) due to easy credit then falls by 20% in 1 year (2008) when that credit is withdrawn is the dictionary definition of a bubble.
    ————————————————–
    And yet – according to you – the next generation will be unable to afford houses because of a bubble that has burst… but it hasn’t burst enough to make houses affordable because…. because…. because you say so.

    You’re arguing with yourself, Martyn. In the process you are posting contrary nonsense from one post to the next…
    8-)

  11. @Amber

    I am reassured that you and your siblings own their own home. I will pass the happy news onto the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of working-class under-35s in E&W that cannot afford to buy a home.

    Regards, Martyn

  12. @ Martyn

    I live in Scotland but most of my family live in England. Labour did very well by us all. Perhaps you could pass on that news & suggest that a Labour government might work out well for other working people too.
    8-)

  13. Of course many thousands of ordinary people have Mrs T. to thank for the fact that they now own a home. However their children can’t at present afford them, themselves because normality hasn’t returned to the housing market. (Unless that is, the Bank of Mum & Dad can afford to lend you a hefty deposit).
    Odd really, how some socialists are so keen on maintaining the gap between the have’s & the have not’s.

  14. @ Robert Newark

    “Of course many thousands of ordinary people have Mrs T. to thank for the fact that they now own a home. However their children can’t at present afford them, themselves because normality hasn’t returned to the housing market. (Unless that is, the Bank of Mum & Dad can afford to lend you a hefty deposit).”

    That is a shame. Owning your own home is one of the great privileges in life. When the government makes that possible, that’s a good thing.

    “A bubble is a bubble. A bubble that bursts is a burst bubble but a bubble can deflate naturally. In the housing situation, we have a bubble which is gradually being deflated through inflation. It has not (& may not) burst so long as unemployment doesn’t suddenly rocket. That doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    When viewing the housing market always do so via the Land Registry figures, not the Banks/building societies as asking prices are rarely the deal prices at the moment.

    Different subject but I heard from a reliable source in the City that the Bundesbank is printing Deutchesmarks like there is no tomorrow. If it’s true, remember you heard it here 1st. If it’s not, forget I mentioned it!”

    I wonder what would happen if the Germans pulled out of the Euro. It always seems odd to me that the debate over a single currency divided the Tories so badly and yet Labour seemed almost unaffected by it. Maybe they were just better actors.

  15. @Amber

    I will pass on the news that Labour did well for you and your family onto the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of working-class under-35s in E&W that cannot afford to buy a home.

    Regards, Martyn

  16. @Robert Newark

    The question of *which* house price index to use is often fraught, because they all have disadvantages:

    * The Halifax indexes mortgages it agrees in principle, and is biased towards the North of England
    * The Nationwide indexes mortgages it agrees in principle, and is biased towards the South of England
    * Rightmove indexes asking prices, which bear no resemblance to sale prices
    * The Land Registry index doesn’t include repossessed property sold at auction
    * The DCLG/OPDM indexes mortgage completions
    * The FT/Academetrics index is revised on a rolling basis

    So you pays your money and you takes your choice. But all show the massive bubble inflating between 1997 and 2007 by 300%, deflating in 2008 by 20%, reflating in 2009 by 10%, then flailing for a bit before gently declining now.

    The links are below

    * h ttp://www.acadametrics.co.uk/ftHousePrices.php
    * h ttp://www.communities.gov.uk/corporate/publications/statistics/
    * h ttp://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/media/pdfs/halifax/2011/HousePriceIndexJuly2011.pdf
    * h ttp://www1.landregistry.gov.uk/house-prices
    * h ttp://www.nationwide.co.uk/hpi/
    * h ttp://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/house-price-index

    Regards, Martyn

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