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. @Hawthorn

    Ah, memories… My claim to fame is that I started the singing of Jerusalem at Twickenham after we won the Five Nations in 1991 or 1992.

    I’d been drinking by the way…

  2. JAMIE

    John McDonnell apologised “from the bottom of his heart” for saying the IRA should be honoured.

    There is a lot of “adjusting” going on.

  3. With respect, my family are mostly WWC and I can’t see them getting worked up.

    Still, with Cameron and the Sun fighting her corner, her Royal Heilness will be purring with pleasure that her dignity is being respected.

  4. Can we change our flag as well as our anthem for Jeremy Corbyn? I don’t think it’s fair if he has to be in politics while we have such a colonialist, imperialist, Christian flag. We should also obviously scrap the monarchy, nationalise all national sports teams, and rename the House of Lords “The House of Chairs”, so as to make things maximally comfortable for his conscience.

  5. Hawthorn,

    You don’t have to say “with respect” before an anecdote, given you’re respectful enough not to regard it as evidence.

  6. Bill

    I get annoyed by people who seem to think that working class people are some old-fashioned homogeneous lump, hence the “with respect”.

    I agree with Jamie about the IRA thing though, I have already said that appointing McDonnell was a blunder.

  7. If Cameron declined to sing the anthem, would Tories on here suddenly cease to vote Tory?

    Even SSM which caused a fair amount of wailing and gnashing didn’t seem to make a huge difference.

    And quite a few celebrated sports peeps don’t seem to sing the anthem.

    I mean, we even leave out one of the verses.

    So we need some polling on the matter to see how many peeps think the anthem is a red line issue…

  8. If this was such a big deal, the ardent Royalists would not be buying the Sun anyway after it showed and her mum doing the Nazi salute.

  9. “There is a lot of “adjusting” going on.”


    Lol, Corbs and his sidekick, or everybody else?

  10. @Hawthorn, LizH, Millie

    Re. national anthems, as a Scotshuman, I would greatly prefer the current de facto Scots national anthem, the Proclaimers’ magnificent “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” to the available alternatives, including God Save the Queen, Scotland the Brave and Flower of Scotland (even if you think that martial anthems are usually A-OK, this one has no redeeming features — I’d rather be watering the fields with the blood of my enemies, thank you very much).

    I would humbly suggest that some setting of A Man’s a Man for A’ That would actually suffice, and in fact as a statement of universality would be a great choice for the whole of the UK. I’m sure we could find volunteers to translate it from Scots English to the more popular southern dialect.

  11. Margaret’s comment on Pinochet bringing democracy to Chile really is inexcusably Orwellian isn’t it? Slightly worrying if she actually believed that.

  12. @Adrian B

    “The worrying thing is, this might be as good as it gets.”

    We’re straying into silliness here, I think. The truth is that nobody really knows, certainly not after only 6 days of Corbyn’s leadership and considering the febrile political world that now exists in this country. You could equally say that these first six days are as bad as it will get for him and the YouGov poll is a reflection of the sustained media assault on Corbyn and his own uncertain and faltering start. As he gets more time, maybe he can start to persuade more voters of his capabilities and virtues. Who knows because one thing that can be said with any certainty about Corbyn is that he is a completely different political leader to most who’ve gone before him. In that sense, he’s ploughing unknown territory where old certainties and judgements don’t necessarily apply. I have a sense that most of the public and the media just don’t know what to make of him, and that includes the fripperies of undone collars, beards, unsung national anthems and beige suits. It’s foolish to assume that the utterly predictable and deeply conservative scepticism of his difference is a universal one. Some may well come to warm to his unorthodoxy and eccentricity. Again, who knows.

    As most have said, he needs to adapt and show leadership skills that hitherto have remained unseen, and I have absolutely no idea if he has the capability to do that, but it’s utterly ludicrous to arrive at judgements now. He has the advantage of the wriggle room that novelty provides and if I was advising him I’d tend to let him be his own man for a while longer. Of course, there will be many who will loathe him with a passion, the very thought of him will get them frothing at the mouth, and there will be others who have serious doubts about him, me included, but there will be quite a few seeing something new and interesting emerging. They could be buried deep and undetected in our vast electorate for now and may not surface for a while yet, but the one chance Corbyn has of cutting through is finding a way to connect with these people, It’s his unique selling point for me, amongst a mish mash of lingering doubts.

  13. Hawthorn,

    Fair enough. I can hardly complain, given how frustrated I get when people on here say things like “Scotland is essentially left-wing”, “Scotland votes left”, and until recently “Scotland votes Labour”.

  14. The media aren’t helping themselves here with their scattergun approach.

    They could have focussed on the McDonnell IRA thing and done much more damage than blowing up trivial non-stories like “man walks down street without talking” or “man not interested in clothes (shock horror!)”.

  15. Alisdair,

    I like “Scotland the Brave”, with the traditional lyrics. I like “Flower of Scotland” as a song, but it’s much too maudlin and contemptuous to serve as a national anthem. “A Man’s A Man” isn’t upbeat enough to me, musically.

    We could always nab “Land of Hope and Glory” before the English do, just to annoy them.


    Of the three points you list, the last is factual, the second is an exaggeration (I don’t see the SNP as particularly left-wing) but I think you are correct to be annoyed about the lazy assumption of the first.

  17. OLDNAT

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

    I agree, it would not happen in Russia. Putin has them eliminated.

  18. @Crossbat11

    It’s almost as if we hadn’t been through 5 years of people saying ‘It doesn’t matter that Ed’s unpopular’…… grasp at a straw.

    The media isn’t misrepresenting Corbyn, this is Corbyn being ‘authentic’ if he is no longer authentic then he loses his USP.

    The initial polling is dismal.

    So if I was a Tory strategist here is my thinking….

    Can I use Corbyn to destroy the Labour brand the way it was destroyed in Scotland or should I back off and try to ensure he is still leader in 2020

  19. Hawthorn,

    The last is a generalisation akin to “WWC people are pro-monarchy”. It’s true, but you have to be clear quite what you mean by it, e.g. of the three largest parties in Scotland, Labour is the only one never to have had majority support in a GE in Scotland.

  20. Depending on how well Corbyn goes down in Scotland, I wonder if we might see the argument used in Scotland that “If you vote SNP, you may end up with a Labour prime minister pulling Nicola’s strings?”


    @”I get annoyed by people who seem to think that working class people are some old-fashioned homogeneous lump,”

    What is your definition of “homogeneous lump” on this topic?

    C2DE responses:-

    “Generally speaking, do you think the institution
    of the monarchy is good or bad for Britain?”
    Good 65%
    Bad 8%

    “Do you think Britain should continue to have a
    monarchy in the future, or should it be replaced
    with an elected head of state?
    Monarchy 69%
    Elected 18%

    YouGov 3/4 Sept 2015

  22. @Couper2802

    You’re getting way too ahead of yourself and I suspect what you desperately want to happen is colouring the scenarios you paint. Let’s leave aside your point that the “media isn’t misrepresenting Corbyn” for now, because that takes us into the realms of satire, but I stick to the point I made in my previous post. It’s too early to say how Corbyn’s leadership will play out.

  23. COUPER2802

    The SNP can certainly go on attacking Corbyn from the right. Does me fine. :)


    WWC people are pro-monarchy is not generalisation, it is just a load of nonsense. They are not no more pro or anti Monarchy than the middle class.

    The press also need to be careful not to politicise the monarchy as that would do real damage to the institution.

  24. I am not getting into a definition debate Colin. I dozed my way through enough of those at the Oxford Union.

    The monarchy is not an issue on which elections are decided.

  25. Sorry, my typing is abysmal this morning.

  26. Whenever I hear Jerusalem
    “And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon England’s mountains green:
    And was the holy Lamb of God,
    On England’s pleasant pastures seen!”
    I think NO!

  27. Dave

    It’s the “build Jerusalem (which can mean what you want it to mean) in England’s green and pleasant land”

  28. Dave: you don’t appear to understand the concept of a rhetorical question. But yes, Jerusalem is about making England great, rather than England already being great.

    Anyway, is there anyone else in the entire world bar me who accepts John McDonnell’s explanation (on Question Time yesterday) on why JC wasn’t singing God Save the Queen?

  29. I should clarify, that question was an actual question, not a rhetorical one.

  30. Hawthorn,

    I’m confused: you say it’s a load of nonsense, and then you say something that is entirely consistent with it.

  31. 40,000 new Labour Party members in five days after JC elected. If this goes on we’ll have 13 million members by the time of the next election.

  32. @Crossbat11

    My point is that it is very obvious how the Corbyn leadership will play out, and it surprises me that a site that is for the non-partisan discussion of polling is so prone to Groupthink and blind optimism.

    The past polling and voting evidence, the current polling straws in the wind mean the discussion ought to range from….’Corbyn destroying the Labour brand’ to ‘Damage limitation strategies for Labour’

    Make no mistake the Labour Party could be destroyed by Corbyn’s leadership.

    I know that 40k members have joined but how many have left? The Labour Party is being renewed but that means it is much harder for moderate policies or for a moderate leader to emerge.

  33. @Polltroll

    No it was a classic mistake of people that are ‘being economical with the truth’ over elaboration JC parents being in the ARP and so on.

    I said earlier much as I love JM it was a car crash in my opinion and does prove that it is not that easy to step up from the obscurity of the back bench to these type of programs.

  34. I got the impression that if Mr. Corbyn didn’t sing a song about supernaturally-appointed monarchs it would not because he necessarily thought it would be popular or unpopular in any particular demographic, but moreso because it would be a chance to gently question and persuade on the matter. Signpost, not weathercock!

    The real political question I think is whether that works if you are trying to persuade people (rather than simply represent their pre-existing views) does it work if you overload them with issues. In other words on Trident, on the national anthem, on the exact constitutional place of the monarchy, on eastward NATO expansion, even perhaps on the IRA (if appropriately nuanced) there might be many open to changing their minds on the issue. To ask them to change their mind on everything all at once is probably less likely to be effectively!

    In that sense, unlike Hawthorn, I wouldn’t be surprised if his political opponents took a scattergun approach rather than focussing on key issues. “He wants to change everything!” is perhaps more likely to lead to his being dismissed out-of-hand and ignored, while concentrating on one issue at a time is likely to be what Corbyn wants, the chance to persuade and change minds on the issue.

  35. Bill

    I say it is nonsense because Royalism is not linked to class (unless perhaps if you are actually an aristocrat). You might as link it to eye colour.

  36. How about this for a alternative anthem for Mr Corbyn ! A rousing medley of lennon classics imagine/give peace a chance/working class hero . I have to say that I’m somewhat bemused by the argument of some contributors on this site who appear sanguine on the issue of Mr Corbyn’s presentational difficulties on the reasoning that any labour leader would be buried by the right-wing press with negative propaganda , is there anyone out there who really believes that Andy Burnham or Yvette Cooper would have layered out the generous banquette of P.R blunders and U-turns that Mr Corbyn seems almost compelled to deliver ? Would either of them made such a show of a majority female cabinet then undermine that gesture by snubbing those colleges for the senior roles , would either of them have installed a shadow chancellor who on his first major media appearance spends half of that appearance defending and renouncing his numerous controversial uteruses rather than putting forward an alternative to the governments austerity/ small government agenda? What could the media have used against Burnham ? mid-staffs , he look’s like he uses eyeliner ! , Cooper? A bit dour! do you know she’s married to Ed Balls?

  37. Scottish referendum demographics studied

    Some interesting charts there. Most interesting is that the youngest 2 age groups (16-18, 20-24) are two of the most pro-union. In other words it wasn’t just old people thinking about their pensions who won the referendum for “No”.

    Apologies if this was already common knowledge here.

  38. Corbyn not singing the National Anthem is of course trivial in itself. His problem is that there is video of him enthusiastically singing The Red Flag.

    Together with his opposition to Trident, luke warm (at best) attitude to the armed forces, welcoming Hamas and Hezbollah etc, ordinary voters of whatever class or previous loyalty will be very doubtful whether he has the best interests of the country at heart. This is already being shown in the polls, but I echo the plea to have more of them!

  39. Along with all the silly hysterical coverage of Corbyn in the media (come on, did the national anthem ‘story’ really merit front page coverage and radio phone ins?) there’s been a fair amount of premature speculation and hyperbole on the comments on here, interspersed with just the odd measured comment (e.g. Anthony Well’s pretty balanced comment piece today)

    Corbyn was elected on Saturday and we are in unusual political times so it is very difficult to predict what will happen, other than that the right-wing media don’t like him (surprise surprise). I disagree that the electorate is right wing per se – I think the electorate is pretty volatile and anti establishment at the moment, with a lot of dissatisfied voters across the political spectrum who are disillusioned with politics. Corbyn is v unorthodox and may appeal to a number of these voters.

    Its a marathon, not a sprint. He needs to use the Labour Party conference as a springboard for getting a coherent anti austerity narrative out, whilst avoiding causing any unnecessary fights with rest of the party at conference (e.g. EU) and really we can only judge how well he is doing at next year’s London Mayoral and English local elections.

    *If* Khan can win the Mayoral election that will be a huge boost for Corbyn and the party as a whole.

  40. I would accept that these figures are bad for Corbyn based on Anthony Wells’ experience and expertise but could someone elaborate for me?

    For instance, wouldn’t most leaders get similar ratings most of the time, given the split of partisan bias within the population, and also the fact that most politicians are mistrusted?

    How do historical comparisons compare? Are the figures really that bad?

  41. I have been thinking about Corbyn’s dress sense and come to a conclusion.

    The decline of the British Empire started around the time of the Boer War. This was around the time when camouflage replaced red battle tunics in the British Army. This is indicative of a decline in dress standards leading to a decline in power.

    I therefore think that red tunics should be reintroduced for all British combat troops. This is no worse than painting targets on to the side of aeroplanes.

  42. OMNISHAMBLES re under 25s

    I think it was fairly well known despite the widespread misreporting of a Lord Ashcroft poll after the referendum.

    We have to remember that for the under 25s the SNP are the establishment party, and for a 16 YO have been in power since they were 8. They’ll barely remember Blair let alone Thatcher, so much of the anti-Tory, anti-New Labour rhetoric won’t mean much.

    I also think that the under 25s represent the Internet Generation, and for this generation international borders are at best an irrelevance, and sometimes a hindrance.

  43. Hawthorn

    Red didn’t show the blood of course, which is why it was chosen.

    As a quid pro quo, perhaps the people’s flag should be khaki?

    “The people’s flag is deepest khaki
    It shrouded oft our complete mullarkey….”

  44. Interesting about the Social split in the YouGov survey:
    33% of ABC1 were delighted or pleased (with JC appointment) compared with only 27% of C2DE. Equal numbers (25%) were dismayed. False consciousness, or are the proletariat just better at judging these things?


    @”I am not getting into a definition debate Colin.”

    Making a point with a phrase which you won’t define is mere rhetoric.

  46. “The decline of the British Empire started around the time of the Boer War.”


    Well really, the decline really gathered pace a couple of years ago, when they put a tax on storage. Things were much better up till then.

    (Also, I think targets on planes are a good idea, provided you paint them onto some non-critical part of the plane to fool the enemy.)

  47. There’s no problem with s political party representing the approx 19% of people who are socialist/republicans in the UK. The problem is that our electoral system is currently forcing them to be the main opposition party when really they should be a smaller grouping than that.

    Corbyn wants to be true to his and his supporters views, but is being boxed into the official opposition box. Electoral reform would sort it out, but will that be on his agenda?

  48. Omnishambles,

    Thanks for that link. It’s quite a gold mine. The figures on income and referendum vote are particularly surprising.

  49. Did you know that when inducted to the Privy Council, would be members queue up for ennoblement in a particular order set by the palace. There is a ranking of the religions – and it puts Catholics and Muslims near the back. Isn’t this discrimination?

  50. Also, I wonder what they mean by “Church of England” – does that mean an Anglican from England temporarily living in Scotland, or did they just get the name for Episcopalians wrong?

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