I want to write something more lengthy about Ed Miliband’s polling, but I though this worth a short post in its own right. In the last few months there has been various rumbling on blogs and the media about Miliband’s leadership, and polling figures have naturally come into that.

The Labour party have tended to point to Ed Miliband’s approval ratings with MORI, which are negative but not toweringly so. In MORI’s last poll in December 34% of people were satisfied with the way Miliband is doing his job, 50% are dissatisfied. Labour’s case is that this is not out of line with past leaders of the opposition.

Meanwhile anyone looking to criticise Miliband would want to point to his approval ratings with YouGov which are dire – in today’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll only 20% thought he was doing a good job, while 66% thought he was doing badly. YouGov doesn’t have as much past trend data as MORI, but compared to what they do have these are very bad.

What’s the reason for the big difference though? Well, some of it is probably methodological (MORI don’t use political weighting, which means their samples sometimes have more Labour voters than other companies), but I think most of it is down to the question asked. While we tend to dump them all in together as job approval, MORI and YouGov are actually asking very different questions – MORI ask if people are satisfied or unsatisfied with how Miliband is doing his job, YouGov ask if people think he is doing well or badly.

If you break people’s answers down by party support (and here I’m using YouGov figures from December, so we are comparing apples with apples)

Miliband approval ratings in December MORI poll:
MORI Con supporters – 25% satisfied, 61% dissatisfied
MORI Lab supporters – 54% satisfied, 37% dissatisfied
MORI LD supporters – 33% satisfied, 51% dissatisfied

Miliband approval ratings in December YouGov poll:
YG Con supporters – 8% well, 87% badly
YG Lab supporters – 59% well, 31% badly
YG LD supporters – 24% well, 63% badly

You can see where most of the difference lies – amongst Labour voters the answers are not that different, Miliband’s approval rating is in the 50s, his disapproval in the 30s. The big difference is how the supporters of opposing parties answer the question. Basically, if Conservative supporters are asked if Miliband is doing well or badly, they overwhelmingly think he is doing badly. Asked if they are satisfied or disatisfed with his leadership, a significant minority of Tory supporters say they are satisfied – presumably because they are perfectly satisfied with Labour having a leader who they think is doing badly.


219 Responses to “On Ed Miliband’s approval ratings”

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  1. First

    Great read. As a Conservative, I hope Red Ed is still the leader in 2015. He is clearly our best shot at getting an overall majority (well maybe Dianne Abbot would hold that.

    Interesting to see around 1/3 of Labour voters in some form or another disatisfied with their leader.

  2. Ed really hasn’t had enough time to settle into the job. He only appointed his own shadow team during the last summer.

    My point of view is that it is not Ed M that is the issue. He needs his team to be doing a better job in holding the government to account. At the moment, coalition ministers just point at Labour, basically saying you caused the problems and you have no solutions. When the government make the case for their policies, they just say that they are doing the best with the resources they
    have. This is where Labour need to do more work on finding out the affect of government policies and speaking to the relevant people to come up with alternative policy ideas.

    Labour could win under Ed M, if he improves his own performance and that of his team. Currently not PM material, but could be in 3 years time ? I am not convinced by Ed Balls in the shadow chancellor role, as I don’t think voters believe what he says. If they don’t think he is credible, then they won’t think Ed M is either.

  3. This all puts a very different complexion on this sort of polling. I would have thought that having approaching a 2:1 majority of Labour supporters (and 25% of LD supporters) supporting EM’s record at this stage (and given the overwhelmingly anti-Labour media) is pretty good.

    In terms of Labour’s future prospects, what matters is whether EM is likely to retain current supporters and attract new ones. Looking at today’s stats, it appears that the large majority of Labour dissatisfaction with EM comes from voters who are pretty solidly Labour – amongst Labour supporters, EM is +48/-42, but amongst 2010 Labour supporters he is +42/-49.

    So the new Labour voters mostly think he’s doing well (approx 90% of today’s sample).

  4. It is encouraging to see from these figures that over 50% of Labour supporters are satisfied with and thinks EM is doing well. We are often told by some posters on this site that, that is not the case.

    As a Labour supporter I am quite happy with how EM is slowly changing the terms of the debate with ideas like ‘responsible capitalism’. This is not only having an effect on voters but other Parties too.

  5. Comparing the 2010 LDs with the 2011 lot, there are interesting differences and similarities in their judgement of Cameron & Milliband.

    Not surprisingly, the current ones think much more highly of Cameron than the 2010 cohort. However, the views on Milliband are very similar.

    That would suggest that, if many ex-LDs are now prepared to vote Labour, they aren’t doing so with any great enthusiasm.

    Again, that wouldn’t be surprising, as many people vote against parties rather than for them.

  6. Not for the first time A W hits the nail on the head IMO.
    As a Tory, I think Ed Miliband is not much more than a joke as leader of the opposition. However, I am totally satisfied with the way he does his job. It has been my contention for many months that Labour should enjoy a healthy lead in current polling. This is not because their policies are good, or their record is one to be proud of, but because the situation and news are unremittingly grim and bleak.
    Dealing with the LD’s in government has made life “interesting” for DC, having Miliband as Labour leader has balanced things out , due to Miliband’s ineffectiveness. All in all, I think Anthony’s piece hits the spot.

  7. @OLD NAT

    Again, that wouldn’t be surprising, as many people vote against parties rather than for them.

    Indeed Nat, and in these highly negative times, there will be more of that than ever.

  8. “It is encouraging to see from these figures that over 50% of Labour supporters are satisfied with and thinks EM is doing well.”
    But compare to Tory supporters and David Cameron –
    +89 vs +28

    That’s the major difference – but IMHO the difference is because Cameron is giving Tories what they want and Ed Miliband isn’t giving Labour supporters what they want.
    Perhaps Ed is giving Labour partisans what they want, but partisans will always want whatever the leader does – the problem comes when he tries to please everybody else.

    He’s listening to a minority of Blairites and completely ignoring the loyal 2010 supporters or all those (largely liberal-left) that have switched to Labour since then.

    But it does lead to an interesting situation – will the liberal-left vote Labour in 2015 to ‘keep out the Tories’, despite Ed essentially ignoring them or will the liberal-left return to the LibDems (SNP in Scotland, or other parties) and doom Ed to being Labour’s new Michael Foot?

    Because that tends to be what happens when you listen to the established voices in your party and ignore the voters (as in 1983) – exactly the same effect with the Conservatives in opposition, pre-Cameron, only listening to the established voices and ignoring the voters.
    So Ed either needs to adapt to the changing political climate or face history repeating itself.

    Which explains the unhappiness with Labour supporters – to act like it’s not there is to bury heads in the sand.

  9. I think there was a survey in the States a while ago which suggested that many people get their information on current affairs from satirical programmes like Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.

    Anyone who listens to BBC radio’s News Quiz hosted by Sandi Toksvig for example, will know that Clegg and Camereon are regularly ridiculed – but the lampooning of Ed Miliband as hopeless teenage geek is of an entirely different order. Comics are only interested in easy laughs, but it is striking the degree to which he has become a figure of fun.

    Does he just look too young? Approval in the latest YouGov is highest among people his own age, and lowest among the 60+ group.

  10. I am very satisfied with Ed Miliband.

  11. BILLY BOB

    Has anyone done any work on linking the way Spitting Image treated the politicians, with voting patterns?

  12. @Tingedfringe
    “Cameron is giving Tories what they want and Ed Miliband isn’t giving Labour supporters what they want.”

    Voters want a new way of doing things but have no idea what the new way is or should be. At the same time people don’t like change. Could it be that EM is laying the foundations for the new politics and is up against this dichotomy. Whereas DC is providing more of the same. Also DC can actually do things to keep his voters happy whereas as a leader of opposition you can’t actually do things.

  13. @ Billy Bob

    Approval in the latest YouGov is highest among people his own age, and lowest among the 60+ group.
    ———————————-
    I made this point a couple of weeks ago; that Labour/ Ed Miliband were failing to appeal to enough older voters.

    I also pointed out to Rob Sheffield & Chris Lane that their ‘championing’ of Chuka completely failed to address this: i.e. Labour/ Ed M are not appealing to older, more ‘traditional’ voters, therefore replacing Ed with somebody who appeals to exactly the same demographics which already support Ed would be an exercise in futility.
    8-)

  14. @LIZH
    In the highly unlikely event that you read the Telegraph today, Cameron makes the point, that Leader of the Opposition is a hard and thankless job, he goes on to show a small amount of pity for EM. But unless you are “lucky Gordy Brown”, leader of the opposition is a prerequisite to being PM.

  15. In 6 months, we will know what’s in store for Ed M. If Ken wins London &/or Labour do well in the local elections, then Ed M will be fine; if neither of those things happen, it will take a miraculous event to save his leadership.
    8-)

  16. @Chouenlai
    “But unless you are “lucky Gordy Brown”, leader of the opposition is a prerequisite to being PM.”

    Or John Major.

    I do read the online version of DT. I haven’t done so today as yet because I went out for a lovely meal after a 10K run for charity this morning and am now reading UKPR between dozing.

  17. @AMBER STAR
    Just musing, but I reckon the older “traditional” Labour vote, would support Pepper Pig in a GE. Even to the point of “voting for a black man”. The younger progressives would love to vote for a person of African origin, (that lovely warm liberal glow) and your man Chuka, may well have more leadership, brains and appeal than the current incumbent. On the other hand, you know the Labour party better than I, leave Eddy be.

  18. Great analysis Anthony.

    Should bring a little comfort to the Reds here.

    He is getting a pretty difficult coverage on tv news.

  19. @OLDNAT

    It’s funny that you mention Spitting Image as I have been revisiting the show over the past week via a DVD box set of all the 1980s episodes. The interpretations of many of the era’s political figures is spot on most of the time. My favourite is Douglas Hurd with his Mr. Whippy hairstyle and dalek-like voice. And however good Meryl Streep may be in The Iron Lady, I bet she doesn’t hold a candle to Steve Nallon’s portrayal!

  20. Amber,

    The local election results can’t help being good for Labour. The BBC called the 2008 results their worst for 40 years – so as the results will be better they are going to be spun as a victory.

    I don’t see that EdM is in any danger. Labour does not throw out its leaders.

  21. @TingedFringe – “He’s listening to a minority of Blairites”

    Just as likely there is a perception that Milliband might possibly identify/unearth a more radical appetite among the electorate as a whole… and that is why the full weight of manufactured opinion is determined to bury him.

  22. Amber,

    Problem is also that older voters are a lot more likely to vote than younger ones at a GE.

  23. @AMBIVALENTSUPPORTER

    Problem is also that older people usually are more averse to change.

  24. AMBIVALENTSUPPORTER

    “Problem is also that older voters are a lot more likely to vote than younger ones at a GE.”

    ‘Twas ever thus. My generation of current geriatrics didn’t vote in as large a proportion as our elders.

    In 40 years time the current young voters will doubtless be lamenting that their children/grandchildren don’t take voting seriously enough.

  25. @LIZH

    Problem is also that older people usually are more averse to change.

    Very true Liz, I am 65 and definitely don’t want you to change Ed.

  26. Robin:
    “So the new Labour voters mostly think he’s doing well (approx 90% of today’s sample).”

    I made exactly this point before Xmas. In simple terms, it scarcely matters whether Tory supporters think Miliband is good, bad, indifferent, an amoeba or the saviour of his people. By far the most important aspect is how the key voters ( those who voted LD in 10 and are unlikely to do so in 15) think Miliband us doing. I haven’t had time to analyse the latest data but certainly in Dec, they rated him better than Cameron by more than 2:1.

  27. I think the problem with Labour is that after the years of New Labour which ideological doctorine has always been of the socially-liberal but economically conservative politics or that of libertarianism Labour has now been hit by an identity crisis. I mean under Blair it was evolutionary politics, when Blair was in office he was trying to present himself as a Social Democratic and centre-left party positioning his party away from the far-left. It may not be promising the mass nationalisation of industry, raising taxation and seeing the State to coin a conservative phase “spend people’s own money” but it was demanding a bigger role of the State and extra state resources in a European-Socialist way in public services, cutting beauracracy and empowering the people within these state services. Read the 97′ manifesto, it was an openly centre-left politics…YES it was admitting that the state cannot do economics but it was a rejection of the private sector taking control of state sectors such as transport, nhs, education and social services. An admition that the private sector has it’s limitations.

    However in a bizzare turn (something I cannot get my head round how it happened) in 2001 and getting more rooted was a deeply more conservative idea that the private sector is best in providing good services and efficentcy which translated in the need to bring the private sector within the state sector. A sort of new economic cooperation. Talks about introducing workplace democracy and debate within the structures of services were all since abandoned. Also Labour was being more socially-liberal, other than Section 28, there was nothing in Labour before 2001-05 about being a more socially liberal party on issues such as gay rights, mothers benefits right at work, leave etc.

    Now Labour are left in a difficult situation. In some ways the 2010 election and ed millibands leadership election victory could been seen as a rejection of New Labour politics – a failed project that abandoned Labour’s traditional identity not just on their economic politics but for the traditional working-class voters Labour’s socially liberal views. On the other hand, the final years of Brown saw GB put his hands into the coffers of the State to prop up the markets and although did help the economy many could argue he indebted the country far too much – so in that sense it’s a rejection of the European-style spending.

    Labour’s identity crisis doesn’t help when Ed was elected as a left-wing alternative to brother David. He called himself a “socialist” and proud of it. Wanted to introduce a graduate tax, bankers bonus tax, socialistm for the 21st century and keep the 50p. But since we’ve seen Ed in limbo with former Blairrites, Glasman (a talk about a new positioning of Labour i.e. Blue Labour), conversations with Brownnites or purple Labour. Ed abandoning his pledge for a graduate tax is also significant because it says something about his character. If he had knowledge that his plan was unworkable and he did it merely to get a boost from young Labour members then it says about his lack of trust or if he had know idea that the policy was unworkable it says about his lack of judgment. Also he never exactly explained why? A graduate tax is a tax, its a distrubtion of the highest graduates to pay more for the rest so it wont cost the government anything. So its a bit dishonest.

    Labour needs to re-evaluate what it stands for and it’s political direction. I hate to sound gimichy but Ed needs to follow his true beliefs and heart. If he believes in a more left-wing identity for Labour he sound follow it because thats what he was elected for. Europe also needs revisiting. While in the 90’s people didnt care about the EU since many European countries have indebted themselves with the Euro and other economic mechanisms the public do see Europe as more significant that 20 years ago. Whatever the case Labour needs to re-evaluate it’s political direction and what the party stands for.

  28. Ed Milliband has many qualities….good and probably mediocre and bad…I don’t know him that well…but he’s not to be underestimated……

    His main problem is Labour is currently out of fashion and while that goes on he’s unlikely to garner much applause…even if he walked on water…someone would say he was just not doing it properly…….

    He certainly seems to have a problem with his TV presence and speaking voice… neither of these will prevent him making it to the top. Mrs Thatcher had many many perceived weaknesses as Leader of the Opposition as did Ted Heath before her…both made it to No. 10. I don’t recall Nick Clegg having great poll ratings until the first debate…

    The government continues to benefit as new governments often do with a sustained period of grace….the scale of the mountain EM and Labour need to climb is partly defined by the base of 29.5% Labour polled in 2010 and partly by the fact that single term governments are unusual…in my adult life only Heath failed to win re-election…having won by surprise in 1970.

    Both those argue in favour of Labour probably losing the next election.

    Against that the conservative result after 13 years in opposition wasn’t even as convincing as Labour’s vote in its unconvincing win in 1974. Even now…although it’s polling respectably well its still polling below 40%. And although the LibDems may do better at an election it is hard to see them garnering more than 15% on current polling performance. And they may do disproportionately worse in differential turnouts and odd local swings if last May’s elections were a straw in the wind.

    Against that Labour has certainly put on something like a solid 7-8% despite the handicap of EM. These are better poll results than Labour consistently managed in the 80s. They are a long way from the polling figures they enjoyed after we crashed out of the ERM and then later when Blair became Leader of the opposition. But those circumstances were governed by the reality of a deeply unpopular government….

    Honestly….the truth is none of us know what will happen on from this and for example in Europe there is one set of events playing out…but in USA another entirely different scenario emerges…if Obama turns the economy in the USA around in 2012 not only will he probably win again as convincingly as before but it may appear that the very fiscal and economic policies so derided and so unfashionable in ‘conservative’ circles will actually be seen to have worked….

    I’m not prescient enough to make easy predictions or indeed foolish enough to dismiss opponents as jokes…

    I’m cautious enough to say this is a five year game and we are not near half time yet…and jubilees and Olympics may come and go but a sustained period of growth under 1% will make it difficult for any government to be easily re-elected.

    And that fact may change much that seems unchangeable and touch much that currently remains untouchable…

    Fashions in political ideas come and go…as King Edward VII improbably once said….we are all socialists now….it didn’t bring the monarchy down indeed his perceptiveness of a trend in the fashion of ideas was remarkably pragmatic…

  29. @john murphy
    I will cease to regard EM as a joke, if he ever lays a blow of consequence on Cameron’s person, especially in times as difficult for the PM as the current European situation. Furthermore, a government struggling along with minimum growth, would in normal times look vulnerable. However, these are not normal times, if Osborn succeeds in making the UK look somewhat safer than our immediate neighbours in Europe, it will be enough. Also, whatever complexion you may put on Labour financial legacy, the majority of people think they seriously screwed up.

    PS and they have not forgotten.

  30. @ Ambivalent,

    Problem is also that older voters are a lot more likely to vote than younger ones at a GE.
    —————————-
    That’s pretty much my point. If Labour are going to ditch Ed, they had better be sure that they know what they are ditching him for. If it is because he is not a ‘Blairite’, they are fixing on the wrong issue.

    At this moment, there is no center to appeal to. There is left & there is right. This may only last for a short period of time but it’s how things are at the moment.

    Polling evidence for this: Cameron has 89% approval from the Tory supporters, not for being ‘the heir to Blair’ but for being more like the heir to Powell.

    Changing the leader of the Labour Party for failing to appeal to the 30-35% of the electorate which, for the moment, would appear to prefer national populism to social democracy, that would be foolish to say the least.
    8-)

  31. @LEFTYLAMPTON
    Apologies Lefty, being a bit dickie on history, I thought G Brown was the only one. BTW you missed Lord Salisbury.
    LOL as these youngsters say.

  32. @ Hal

    The BBC called the 2008 results their worst for 40 years – so as the results will be better they are going to be spun as a victory.
    ————————————-
    I am not referencing how things will be ‘spun’ by the Party or perceived by the BBC. I am talking about inside the Labour Party. We have an internal expectation of how many wards & councils we think we should be able to win. If Labour exceeds it, all will be well; if we don’t, then there will be problems for Ed.

    He may survive it (as you say); but maybe not. Obviously, I hope Labour exceeds our internal expectations & then it will not be an issue.
    8-)

  33. Good Evening from a Maine Road escape for United.

    Ed, I think, cannot win the next General Election.

    However, as others have said here, Labour keeps leaders until they leave of their own volition

  34. LizH
    “Voters want a new way of doing things but have no idea what the new way is or should be. At the same time people don’t like change. Could it be that EM is laying the foundations for the new politics and is up against this dichotomy. Whereas DC is providing more of the same. Also DC can actually do things to keep his voters happy whereas as a leader of opposition you can’t actually do things.”

    As I’ve said several times on here recently, very strong echoes of the mid-70s. Didn’t stop a LoO who was much less popular personally than the PM winning the GE.

  35. @ Chouey

    Even to the point of “voting for a black man”.
    ————————————-
    I had ‘forgotten’ that Chukka is black; I honestly had. It’s not that I thought he wasn’t, if you see what I mean. I just didn’t give it any consequence.

    Actually when I referred to the ‘heir to Powell’, I was thinking about his anti-EU, anti-immigration polictics as opposed to anything anti-immigrant (suble but important difference from being anti-immigration) or even racist.

    Perhaps I have – at last – become like my son. Rather than thinking: Chuka is black but that should not matter, I did not even give it a thought until I read your comment.
    8-)

  36. Amber

    Our children do frequently change our attitudes. Usually for the better in my experience!

  37. It’s interesting that if you look at Michael Howard’s approval ratings during 2005 he averaged net -25 on MORI’s satisfied/dissatisfied question, whereas he did significantly better (an average of net -13) on YouGov’s good/bad job question.

    This is the opposite way round from Ed Miliband, who does better on satisfied/dissatisfied (-16) than on good/bad job (-46).

    Whilst I’m sure there is an element of truth in Anthony’s theory, I would be surprised if a significant number of Tory supporters are cynical enough to say they are satisfied with Ed Miliband just because they want to keep him in place as Labour leader. Most people are really not sufficiently political to have that sort of mindset.

    That said, it is clear that Ed Miliband is treading a well-worn path of opposition leaders who had negative satisfaction ratings throughout most of their tenure as party leader. (I cannot remember how Neil Kinnock scored, but in order to do a comparison it really is necessary to compare like-with-like, i.e. EM’s net satisfaction ratings of today – as measured by MORI – with NK’s net satisfacton ratings of yesteryear).

    My instincts are that there were subliminal doubts about Neil Kinnock which were somewhat masked by the fact that people thought he had charisma and fine oratory. After all, in both of his election efforts he did less well at the ballot box than in the final fieldwork polls – the opposite, in fact, to Gordon Brown. This suggests to me that Neil Kinnock was probably not seen as a ‘safe pair of hands’.

    In contrast, Ed Miliband seems to largely lack charisma and oratory skills but I would sense is not somebody that people are afraid of in the way they feared Kinnock. I think he probably would not do too badly on a ‘safe pair of hands’ question.

    By the way, all opposition leaders in living memory* had either consisently poor ratings or doubts about their leadership skills, or both. And it’s no good anyone pretending that there are no doubts about EM’s leadership – if there were none we would not even be having this discussion. It’s a fact and it’s already in the equation – but I repeat that I do not sense the “fear factor” is there in the way it was in the 80s and early 90s.

    *With the exceptions of Tony Blair and David Cameron (both of whom were broad-shouldered, had a good head of hair, were seemingly likeable, had a ‘safe pair of hands’, embodied charisma, and spoke fluently with pretty good oratory skills).

  38. Robin Hood – I should say, I’m not suggesting Tory and Lib Dem respondents are saying they are satisfied as part of a cunning ruse to try and keep him in position (the overwhelming majority of people don’t answer surveys in that way).

    I think they are answering the survey entirely honestly – they don’t think he doing particularly *well* at his job, but such that they have feelings about how well or badly Labour are lead they are “satisfied” with the way Miliband is doing.

  39. Am I right that Labour and ED are doing less well in the polls than Labour and M.FOOT in 1980 or 1981?

  40. The wording of this is very confusing.

    If I was asked to fill out one of these surveys, as as Conservative, I’d be very happy with Ed Millibands performance. Does that mean I’d inadvertently raise his approval ratings?

    For example, if he was actually making a big dent on the Conservatives and he was a great leader for Labour like Blair, I’d be extremely unhappy and not very satisfied.

  41. The guardian states that there is no alternative to Milliband for now and also that people will be less forgiving to him in 2012 if he doesn`t perform…I think this is closer to the truth…With the 2013 election a distinct possibility due to boundary changes,Labour would be foolish to change their leader now…Even with Milliband and the old boundaries,they can poll enough to form a coalition with Lib Dems

  42. Regarding last night’s Borgen Episode 2 (FPT).

    It might be fiction, but it’s a great advert for being forced to sort out coalitions before the election so that people know exactly which bed their favoured party will jump into, rather than leaving this to be sorted out behind closed doors afterwards. At the risk of being accused of doing a “ChrisLane1945” through repetition, I yet again recommend the Italian system (top up seats guarantee a majority to the winning pre-election coalition) as the best means of reflecting the popular will under PR.

  43. Chris L.

    Surely you could find the figures out for yourself?

    In fact, Foot wasn’t elected leader until Nov 1980. By that time, Labour had been in a steady lead with VI figures above 45% for 18 months. Within a few weeks of Foot’s election, the Gang of Four made their move and Labour’s poll figures plummeted.

    So. Foot inherited a decent polling position which then collapsed. Miliband inherited a polling deficit and has turned it into a stable an consistent poll lead.

    Remind me what your point was again?

  44. @ chouenlai

    In the highly unlikely event that you read the Telegraph today, Cameron makes the point, that Leader of the Opposition is a hard and thankless job, he goes on to show a small amount of pity for EM. But unless you are “lucky Gordy Brown”, leader of the opposition is a prerequisite to being PM.

    —-

    Or “lucky John Major”.

    Or indeed “lucky Jim Callaghan”.

    Or, for that matter, “lucky Sir Alec Douglas Home”.

    Or even, you could say, “lucky David Cameron” – who has also not been elected PM.

  45. “I will cease to regard EM as a joke, if he ever lays a blow of consequence on Cameron’s person, especially in times as difficult for the PM as the current European situation.”

    What does that even mean?

    When I’ve seen them in Parliament, it seems to me that Miliband usually comes out with the better argument, and raises issues that damage Cameron, but Cameron is the more verbally agile and usually responds with insults and distraction techniques but delivered in a very elegant way. The success of “landing a blow” on an opponent is an ephemeral one and mediated by the media (who have made it abundantly clear which man they prefer) to the extent of being meaningless.

  46. @chris

    Well by your logic, lucky Tony Blair in 2005, as he received less of the vote than David Cameron did and yet I don’t see you questioning his right to govern.

  47. Thanks to all who replied to and expanded on the historic voting figures I posted on the previous thread, particularly Statgeek and TingedFringe.
    I won’t reply in minute detail because I try to avoid very lengthy posts, and relevant points were made by everyone.
    I find this kind of historical analysis more interesting than the daily tiny shifts in support, because I think long term trends are generally more powerful than recent events, though of course something major like complete economic meltdown or a serious war will always win in the relatively short term.

    My main worry is that the rapid growth of numbers of non-voters and ‘Other’ voters means that there is a very significant and growing section of the population who are disenchanted with all 3 main parties. Those main parties seem to be more concerned with winning votes from each other than with trying to reconnect with the missing voters.

    So what happens if a charismatic non-establishment figure emerges? This could be from any point on the political compass. So long as he or she promised drastic change and selected policies that are unrepresented by the three top parties, there could be a seismic change in our system. This might seem ridiculous, but if the global recession gets worse, extremist politicians may well start to emerge around the world.

    I don’t think we’d have much to fear from Nigel Farage or even a Dave Nellist, but suppose a new Mosley arrived?

    Sorry, this post turned out longer than I meant, but just to say something relevant to the thread, I agree with those who say EM is unlikely to win the next election, though his personal approval figures don’t matter much at this stage.

  48. @chrislane1945

    Am I right that Labour and ED are doing less well in the polls than Labour and M.FOOT in 1980 or 1981?

    —-

    Quite so.

    As indeed – selecting other figures at random – one might note that David Cameron is PM despite receiving just 36% in the polls. Only 1% more than the shocking 35% so many Conservatives complained about when Blair won in 2005.

    My point being that selective statistics are just that : selective.

    They are neither non-partisan nor worth the pixels they are printed on.

    To mention Foot and Ed M in this context is pointless. Unless making sensible comments on 3rd party strengths and the rise of both UKIP and Greens.

    Likewise to derogate Cameron or Blair for victories in the mid 30’s is similarly pointless. Times change. Let’s move with them.

  49. @ Max King Of The Fantastic County of Kent

    Well by your logic, lucky Tony Blair in 2005, as he received less of the vote than David Cameron did and yet I don’t see you questioning his right to govern.

    —-

    1. That will be because I’ve not questioned anyones “right to govern”.

    2. That may also be because I am a life long Conservative voter. Though god knows, when I read the bulk of comments made by Conservatives, why I stick to them!

  50. PeteB

    There is no real alternative, theres left, and there’s right, everything else is just different shades inbetween, People who say they are fed up with the main parties are incredibly naive, as they are the options.

    On the issue of economy, do you want to cut spending, or increase spending. It’s really a yes or no, you can’t say neither, or I want more options, because none exist.

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