YouGov had a poll in this morning’s Times asking some first impressions of Jeremy Corbyn from what people had seen so far (tables here). 31% of people said they were delighted or pleased by Corbyn’s victory, 34% of people were disappointed or dismayed – 35% had no strong feelings or don’t know.

Looking at people who voted Labour in 2015, 45% responded positively to Corbyn’s election, 13% said they were disappointed, 14% dismayed. By 50% to 29% 2015 Labour voters expect Corbyn to do well as leader. The idea that most Labour voters are in despair isn’t true – most seem happy enough at the moment with their new leader. There is, however, a significant minority of 2015 Labour voters who really aren’t happy at all.

Later on in the survey YouGov asked people if they would trust Jeremy Corbyn to make the right decisions on various issues – the only one were he came up positively was the NHS, normally a safe issue for Labour, where 40% would trust his judgement, 34% would not. Everywhere else he struggled – only 28% would trust him on government spending and cuts, 27% on tax, 24% on immigration, 23% on the economy, just 20% on defence. It almost goes without saying that hardly any Tory voters would trust him, ditto for UKIP voters (some have suggested Corbyn could win back votes from UKIP, perhaps he could, but the poll here shows what a challenge it will be). More worrying here is the sizeable chunk of people who voted Labour in 2015, but don’t trust Corbyn on key issues. 21% of Labour voters wouldn’t trust him on spending, 35% wouldn’t trust him on defence, 26% wouldn’t trust him to run the economy.

Labour’s performance at the last election was poor to begin with and Corbyn needs to hold onto those Labour voters who are currently saying they don’t trust him (he can try to replace them instead with non-voters, Green converts and so on… but then he’s trying to attract new voters just to make up for those he may be losing. Labour need to keep their existing voters AND attract new ones.)

Of course it’s early days and Corbyn has a long time to build trust. To use a well worn metaphor, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. That said, Corbyn’s start hasn’t been good: rather than a honeymoon, he’s had an initial week of bad press and perceived gaffes. It’s not a surprise that his initial ratings are negative given the media prism that most of the public have seen him through… but like it or not, that is the politics we have. We can only measure the opinion of the actual public – the actual voters, not some imaginary public where Corbyn got a better press. First impressions count, and the public’s first impressions of Jeremy Corbyn don’t seem good.

173 Responses to “First YouGov polling on Corbyn”

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  1. Since we have no (accessible) parallel universes in which we can test the alternatives, however, we have no way of knowing how well any of the other prospective Labour leaders would have fared, had they won the contest. The implication from this poll, though, is that a rather larger proportion of existing Labour support would end up disgruntled, so this would seem to be the worse outcome.

    And if non-Labour voters in May 2015 had had a better perception of ‘anyone but Corbyn’, it does not necessarily follow that they would see a reason to switch allegiance, if they still regard (say) Cameron as more trustworthy. So it is very difficult to draw much in the way of conclusions, as yet.

    As an aside, I was looking at Lib Dem manifesto from 2010 today, and I was struck by some of the similarities with known Corbyn positions. Scrapping tuition fees, creating a National Investment Bank, scrapping Trident… will be interesting to observe what further similarities emerge. I can see Mansion or LVT as possibilities.

    So given that scrapping Trident is still a Lib Dem policy position, are we to see them as threat to national security?

  2. Rubbish ratings, but only an initial snapshot. By end of conference season, and really by Christmas we’ll have a better vow of how people are taking to him. For the moment though nothing to dispell the doubters.

    Personally I reckon Corbyn is a 30% candidate.

  3. A negative response to “Do you trust” doesn’t mean the same thing as “Distrust” of course.

    Trust in politicians is low (especially in England). A poll for someone who was trying to ascertain the range of opinions (and the Times can never be accused of impartiality!) would have asked if the respondents trusted anyone else on these issues.

  4. Too early to say @AW.

    Part of the problem assessing JC’s chances so early into his tenure is that he is advocating quite a fundamental shift in thinking to that people are used to. People tend to be slow at stepping out of their comfort zone (if they ever do at all) so we may have to wait some time before we see whether JC’s offering will be acceptable to enough voters.

    So far, Labour hasn’t structurally separate so at least he staved off immediate disaster. Journey of a thousand miles and all that!

  5. lurkinggherkin

    “So given that scrapping Trident is still a Lib Dem policy position, are we to see them as threat to national security?”

    Cameron’s rhetoric doubtless plays well with his supporters in the Deep South. However, in the wider world it may not play so well.

    That comment on “threat to national security” was a gift for the Russians.

    The Russian Embassy tweeted –

    Just imagine UK media headlines if Russian President called a leading opposition party threat to national security?

  6. Anecdote alert, but I actually had the opportunity to vote today (district council by-election). For the first time in my life I voted for a non-Labour candidate. I’m horrified by what’s happened and just cannot bring myself to vote for Corbyn. Am I ideologically closer to David Cameron? Does that make me a Tory now, as so many of his zealous supporters would sneeringly claim? Perhaps there aren’t many like me, but I have a feeling there might be quite a lot who arrive at this crossroads.

  7. Forgive me for raising an unrelated query from that of your poll on Mr Corbyn as at the moment I haven’t much to say on him at this moment but I have a itch that needs scratching in reference to the extraordinary events that have occurred during the preambles to the Republican/Democratic presidential primaries . Firstly I suspect that the still most likely outcome will be a face-off between Hilary and Jeb but lets suppose that it transpire that the choice facing the American electorate is one of between a man of 74 years and a unreconstructed full-fat socialist and a loudmouth aggrandising corporate buffoon professing a neo-racialist worldview and assuming that the conventional wisdom still holds true and that ultimately the contest would be decided by the bellwether states such as Illinois , Florida , Colorado etc.. and it’s politically non-committal independents could there be an opening for a independent socially liberal yet fiscally conservative moderate. Any suggestions?

  8. Spencer
    Anecdote alert, but I actually had the opportunity to vote today (district council by-election). For the first time in my life I voted for a non-Labour candidate. I’m horrified by what’s happened and just cannot bring myself to vote for Corbyn.

    I didn’t even know he was standing! He really is full of surprises.

  9. Little real sympathy for Labour from me at present. Far too many of the gaffes are self inflicted. If Corbyn wanted the job of opposition leader, he should have known that it involves singing the national anthem, doing up your top button, and sometimes kneeling before the monarch. If you don’t like these sorts of things, don’t apply for the job and let someone else who doesn’t mind get on with it.

    I see Corbyn as a well intentioned and serious man, with a clear political stance and a refreshing approach to convention, but he isn’t a serious politician. He needs to realise this quickly and stand aside, although in truth, I see no one in Labour who could combine his respect for voters with serious political and communications skills.

    Labour are sinking, and only a Tory implosion can save them from catastrophe at this moment I feel.

  10. Spencer
    “Anecdote alert, but I actually had the opportunity to vote today (district council by-election). For the first time in my life I voted for a non-Labour candidate. I’m horrified by what’s happened and just cannot bring myself to vote for Corbyn.”

    Surely in a local election you should either vote for the person you think is best or if you don’t know anything about them, at least for the party that is likely to do best for you locally? Who runs the national party is irrelevant unless you vote purely on tribal lines.
    On the poll I suppose it’s about what i expected. I’ve got to say though that Corbyn and even McDonnell (on QT tonight) do actually come across as reasonable people. Perhaps their low-key approach and apologies for past gaffes (or treasonable remarks) could eventually win the public over?

  11. This poll is worrying for Corbyn, but we are in an extremely unpredictable situation. Corbyn has been pummelled this week, and yet he hasn’t actually made a single real gaffe. The real question is “will the electorate see through the twisted propaganda which is being spewed at Corbyn?”. If this becomes a widespread perception, Corbyn could benefit from a rebellion against it, but that is a big if. […]

  12. Pete B

    As it happens, I received no campaign leaflet from the Labour candidate so knew little about him as an individual. Regardless of that (and as I’m sure you know), we know that people do indeed largely vote either tribally or with national issues in mind at local level.

    I wandered from my tribe today – that was my point. But thanks for your input.

  13. As a Labour member I think the truly terrifying thing about Corbyn is this: on the strength of hs TUC speech he cannot actually read from a text or an autocue. When he tried this, he stumbled in a desperate fashion like someone learning the language. . His better speeches are stump speeches but even they are fairly average. This is a real disadvantage to a politician. I guess his conference speech will have to be done from memory.

    The other thing, which amazed me, was his utter ignorance of privy council procedure which led to a very embarrassing interview with the BBC when he said he didn’t know he had to kneel and would have to look into it. I never met a Privy Councillor but I would have said the ritual is general knowledge and surely any parliamentarian who has been around the chamber for decades must know?. And even if he did not know, his friend and mentor Tony Benn made a huge fuss about it in his diaries. Would not Corbyn have read them or even more likely discussed such things with Benn, who was a fellow Republican?

  14. Some of the centrist (centre right) labourites and former labourites may want to consider how leftists use to feel in the party and yet they (well most of them) continued voting for it.

    Quite telling difference really.

  15. John

    “he had to kneel”

    I’m not really up on the arcane nonsense that occurs around royalty, but does a new Privy Councillor HAVE to kneel?

    I understand that is the convention, but if a new appointee behaves respectfully, is Brenda going to turn away and say “No Kneel, no membership”?

  16. @Alec and John

    In a sane world it would not be necessary for UK citizens to bow and scrape before a hereditary monarch and mouth nonsense words about glorious victories and gods they don’t believe in.

    Of course the general public are unprepared for this challenge – no senior politician has ever dared to challenge it before (although many must secretly sympathise). Public opinion can change remarkably quickly (think gay rights), and there’s plenty of time before the next general election.

  17. There were 5 local by-elections today. In the absence of polls, our best idea as to how the parties are doing at the moment. Does anyone know where the actual results are published? I can’t find it.

    All I have is this

    “4 of the 5 local by-elections are in and the picture is Lib Dems up everywhere, Greens down where they stood, others mixed.”

  18. At least I don’t have to respond to Alec’s comment :-)

    @ Pete B

    Yet, McDonnell made a pretty big mistake to the last question that came across insincere (even if it was true, and hopefully it wasn’t) – so, old traps are still there.

    Can he (or his team) sell his ideas? No. Can the thousands that are willing to help him engage in a discourse (in spite of the Blairite accusation of segregation) with the public for five years, and encourage the flexibility in tactics and firmness in strategy, sell the ideas? Probably yes – making the electorate part of the solution. It would be an extremely hard job, but feasible, even within five years. But I think the difficulty of the task will dissuade them following it up all the way.

  19. Regarding Corbyn and kneeling to the queen etc

    Am I right in thinking that after each election MPs have to take the Oath of Allegiance? (I, ——–, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.)

    I understood that this is why Sinn Fein don’t take their seats. If this is right, then surely kneeling to become a member of the Privy Council isn’t such a big step? Also, if Sinn Fein don’t take their seats, and Corbyn is a Republican, why doesn’t he do the same? If a few GB MPs did the same, the tradition would have to change. As he takes the Oath but then says he’s a republican, he’s a hypocrite.

    All this assuming I’ve understood the parliamentray procedures correctly.

  20. Omnishambles

    Both the Haringey seats are Labour holds with positive swings. Greens down in both *ahem*.

    Woodside result Lab 1272,green 122, Con141, LD 435, UKIP 95
    Noel park result labour 1005, LD 247, Tusc 38, Green 124, Con 178, UKIP 48

  21. @hawthorn

    Thank you. Where is this stuff published?

  22. Bourn (South Cambridgeshire) result:
    CON – 46.5% (-9.9)
    LDEM – 19.8% (+19.8)
    LAB – 18.9% (-10.4)
    UKIP – 9.7% (+9.7)
    GRN – 5.1% (-9.3)

  23. Ominshambles

    Twitter is your friend.

  24. Looks like Bourn did not have an LD or UKIP candidate last time, hence big swings.

  25. Omni,

    If you like local by-elections I recommend this… usually pretty quick with the results and lots of interesting comments.

    Today’s results are going up in the appropriate thread and they give lots of previous results each week

  26. Although the swings on Twitter do not match Harry Hayfield on

  27. Looks like Britain Elects is my friend. All the results are on this feed if anyone is interested:


    Thanks for the link

  28. Omnishambles

    Alas, Britain Elects doesn’t understand council by-elections under an STV system. They are useful in giving the results – but their insistence on trying to force them into a FPTP model is sad to see.

  29. Ok all the results are in.

    Labour doing less bad than usual in Scotland (LAB -> SNP swing “only” 7.3% from 2012).
    Greens losing votes to Labour everywhere
    Lib Dems not dead, a few 2nd places
    Conservatives very close to taking Ayr East from the SNP

    Can’t read too much from these though.
    More VI polls soon, please.

  30. @oldnat

    Beggars can’t be choosers, it does the job

  31. The council turnouts tend to skew perceived results. I saw mention of 66% turnout in postal votes for Ayr East. Sounds a bit odd that, considering past postal vote turnout.

  32. Gordon Bennett – you know that polls are few and far between if we’ve taken to discussing local by-elections!

  33. @funtypippin

    My fault, sorry. I’m a bit desperate. Think I’m getting withdrawal symptoms. Dramatic political things have been happening and I don’t have my polls, it’s terrible.

  34. On Corbyn I’m not going to say ‘I told you so’ but I told you so. However, I will await the first VI polls and the Corby bounce.

    QT was a car crash for McDonnell lovely man but his justification for his IRA remarks was basically ‘I was talking them up to advance the peace process I didn’t mean it’ which hardly marks him out as sincere and trustworthy – a fact picked up by the audience member. Also, I didn’t realise he had such a pivotal role in the peace process, so it didn’t really ring true, did Major or Blair ask him to say this?

    Then his rambling story about Corbyn forgetting to sing GSTQ well….. it was clear no one on the panel believed a word of it.

    I think he might not last.

    Apparently Corbyn was asked to do QT and refused.

  35. Omnishambles

    “Beggars can’t be choosers, it does the job” – Yes – but badly! They don’t seem to have noticed that there were two independent candidates in 2012 – so their % changes are misleading.

    Actual changes on 1st Pref votes since 2012 –

    CON: 38.5% (+5.5%)
    SNP: 38.0% (+6.6%)
    LAB: 16.2% (-7.2%)
    IND: 5.5% (-6.7%)
    GRN: 1.9% (+1.9%)

    Calculations of Lab -> SNP swing or Lab -> Tory swing or Ind -> Con, SNP & Green swing are likely to be garbage.

  36. No one has addressed Lurking Gherkin’s opening point: that we have no reason to believe that any of the other candidates for the Labour leadership would have fared any better with the press. When a candidate as banal and centrist as Ed Miliband can be monstered as “Red Ed” the bacon sandwich murderer, it’s clear that whomever leads Labour will get the exact same treatment from the press. The idea that singing the anthem will make the press back away is risible.

  37. “Gordon Bennett – you know that polls are few and far between if we’ve taken to discussing local by-elections!”


    I quite like the by-election stuff. It’s usually polling-related, rarely provocative, and kinda reassuringly quaint at times. Plus you get to learn what activists get up to. Even if it’s only to spot the signs so you can run away screaming if you have to (if they haven’t seen me first).

    Obviously one has little idea what they’re on about in these strange wards they speak of, but then that’s an opportunity to find more stuff out…

  38. “The idea that singing the anthem will make the press back away is risible.”


    Yeah, if he sings it they’ll prolly have a go at that too…

  39. Hawthorn

    There was indeed a LD candidate in Bourn in 2014. They came seventh.

  40. @ ROBINP

    “In a sane world it would not be necessary for UK citizens to bow and scrape before a hereditary monarch and mouth nonsense words about glorious victories and gods they don’t believe in.”

    That may be true. But Corbyn isn’t an “ordinary” UK Citizen. He is the leader of HM opposition-therefore the question remains:- How can you aspire to lead a country whose national anthem you do not wish to sing?

    If JC continues to believe that he isn’t the Leader of his Party, but merely its spokesperson; and that the road to socialism doesn’t lie through Parliament; then he will just continue shuffling, open necked, from one protest gesture to another-ie like he has spent his life doing.

    If, on the other hand , he grows up, he might stand a chance of gaining some support outside the ranks of the Revolution..

  41. This from the BBc website, 1999:

    The former UK prime minister met with the one-time Chilean dictator in a rare public appearance televised live from the house in Wentworth, Surrey.

    General Pinochet is staying in the rented mansion during his legal battle to avoid extradition to Spain.

    Joshua Rozenberg reports: “The photo opportunity we’d waited five months to see”
    Lady Thatcher thanked her old friend for being an ally during the 1982 Falklands War – and for “bringing democracy to Chile”.

    “I know how much we owed to you for your help,” she said.

    “The information you gave us, communications, and also the refuge you gave to any of our armed forces who were able, if they were shipwrecked, to make their way to Chile.”

    Pinochet’s wife was present
    She added: “I’m also very much aware that it is you who brought democracy to Chile, you set up a constitution suitable for democracy, you put it into effect, elections were held, and then, in accordance with the result, you stepped down.”

    Pinochet did take over after a coup:

    From its beginning, the new military government implemented harsh measures against its perceived opponents. Various reports and investigations claim that between 1,200 and 3,200 people were killed, up to 80,000 people were interned and as many as 30,000 were tortured during the time Pinochet was in government. As of 2011, the official number of deaths and forced disappearances stands at 3,065.

    The British Government has support very bad regimes and groups (including their leaders) in the past (without very much media coverage) and still does today (Saudi Arabia for example).

    Talking the IRA in the past must be seen in this context. The troubles were essentially a domestic conflict, and you don’t solve them politically without talking to people.

  42. Colin

    It doesn’t matter for Corbyn if he upsets hardcore Royalist Tories any more than it does to Cameron if his upsets hardcore Labour supporters.

    You can be loathed and win just like Mrs T.

  43. As an Englishman, I much prefer Jerusalem to the current anthem, although it would not work for the whole country. A genuinely stirring anthem setting out national purpose. I say that as a non-religous person.


    So you think that support for our Head of State & National Anthem is restricted to ” hardcore Royalist Tories” eh?

    Best of luck with that :-)

  45. Off topic: It would be great if the site owner could make a page compiling EU referendum polls, in the same style as that for Scottish independence referendum polls.

  46. Exactly Colin

    A there are lots of people in labour heart lands who vote labour as a habit because it’s what they do, they reckon Labour look after people like them……

    I think that these small c conservatives would be offended by not singing at the Battle of Brittain service, do not support pacifism, do not want unlimited migration, are offended by the IRA being considered heros.

    The possibility is that a line will be crossed and large numbers will change their voting habits for ever. A great deal of long term damage will have been done to Labour because they will struggle to get these voters back.

  47. Australia changed its national anthem in 1984 and no reason why we can’t do the same. Maybe we could have a selection of a song something like the Eurovision song with people voting in. Would make good TV and we could let Murdoch’s channel televise it. I am sure the media would all be for it then.

  48. @mico

    All the EU referendum polls can be found here:

    Another nice page:

    ht tps://

  49. Chris, I’ll address Lurking Gherkin’s point about the other 3 candidates, bearing in mind that it’s all hypothetical and speculative.

    Andy Burnham would, I think, fare badly as leader. Although he was the 2nd choice of the phenomenon that gave us Corbyn, his campaign was characterised by uncertainty and erratic changes of direction according to which ways the wind seemed to be blowing on various issues. I think the Tories would have made mincemeat of him but he’d be more around Milliband levels of unpopularity than current Corbyn ones.

    Ditto Yvette Cooper, though for different reasons.

    Liz Kendall I’m not sure about. She came last by a big margin but at the same time there’s something impressive about her, a courage and clarity that, over time, might have made headway. Or might not have!

    I don’t think any of the 3 would have been likely to win in 2020 but I do think any one of them would have kept the party on a more even keel than is currently the case. However, that’s reckoning without the vast new membership of old-school lefties and young idealists who voted for Corbyn in a big way.

    And none of it matters now because the deed is done and Corbyn is who Labour has ended up with. How long he’ll survive, or even want to survive given how uncomfortable he seems with it all, none of us knows. But the next few months and years will be interesting, heartbreaking for some, and consequential.

  50. @ Hawthorn, Colin is completely right. Fierce patriotism is a strong strand in working class communities, many of whom still vote Labour.

    You CAN NOT win and be loathed when you are in opposition, and from such a low base as Lab 2015, and when the Tories will have a new leader in 2020.

    Corbyn’s negative press, in his first week when he largely could control events (his first Shadow Cabinet, media management of it, attending a national service), is completely down to his own mishandling (largely predicted by very many in the party). The worrying thing is, this might be as good as it gets.

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