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. LizH,

    Because it suggests those religions are superior, on a “save the best until last” criterion?


    Interesting isn’t it? I suppose it is kept secret because of national security.:-)

  3. Just reading about more UKIP councillors leaving the party. Corbyn to Farage is Chou En Lai to the Le Pen family.

  4. Wolf

    Isn’t Chou En Lai one of Roland Haines’ aliases here? This is an odd place sometimes. ;)

  5. LIZH

    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?

    I suspect it’s entirely practical. Members have to swear an oath, presumably on the Bible or equivalent – though they can also affirm and not use anything. Catholics use a different version of the Bible than Protestants and it’s possible that some devout RC has complained in the past about having to swear on some heretic book.

    So when a new government is being sworn in (which is the only time the new PCs are so numerous that it needs to be organised like this), you line them up by preference for whatever tome is required so you’re not constantly juggling them. Presumably you start with the biggest group first.

    The BBC piece struck me as rather silly, because they should have checked out this obvious explanation first. But there is a sort of “look at poor persecuted us” you still find among certain sorts of Catholic, despite there being no evidence for any such discrimination. Oddly enough you mainly find it among those who are doing very well for themselves, but those who feel entitlement tend to think they should always be entitled to even more.

  6. On the subject of nonsense stories, it looks like the Peston story on Labour defections has been squashed (New Statesman).

    Another journo happy to peddle Tory-planted cobblers.

  7. Since time started, the election is won on like a large chunk of seats in the middle of the country. They are generally middle class now. Corbin has no chance of appeals to this segment of the electorate, which is why I feel he has not chance. You can argue all day long, left, right whatever, but policies like unilateral disarmament, leavi Nato, high taxation, embargoing Israel are just not vote winners in the middle ground.


    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?

    Probably neither directly. C2DEs were more likely to say they didn’t mind or did know – 10 points more than the ABC1s. So it’s probably more that they are less definite about what they feel and this is quite normal in this split. Younger voters, women, manual workers (C2DEs) are all usually more likely to say they don’t know about any particular topic[1].

    There’s another possible cause as well. Older voters are much more likely to be anti-Corbyn (41% of over-60s against 25% generally) and they are also more likely to be C2DEs (because manual jobs are now less common and retired people are characterised by their old job). So what effect there is may be indirect. But ‘false conciousness’ may also play its part, because the over-60s are also the biggest consumers of newspapers and so will be the ones most heavily affected by the Corbyn hatefest in most of them.

    [1] There’s also regional variation sometimes, with Scots usually more definite in their replies. Hence the saying that ‘Old middle-class Scotsmen think they know everything’.


    “I suspect it’s entirely practical. Members have to swear an oath, presumably on the Bible or equivalent – though they can also affirm and not use anything. Catholics use a different version of the Bible than Protestants and it’s possible that some devout RC has complained in the past about having to swear on some heretic book.”

    Then why keep it a secret and ask Laws to remove it from his book? Also why not reverse the order sometimes and let the smallest group go first to stop people feeling discriminated?

  10. LIZH

    What is wrong with discrimination, I do it all the time so does everyone I know, from all classes. It’s classic human behaviour.


    Because we have a law against it in this country and the Privy Council is a government body so it should not break the law.

  12. LIZH

    Then why keep it a secret and ask Laws to remove it from his book? Also why not reverse the order sometimes and let the smallest group go first to stop people feeling discriminated?

    The sort of mass-swearing-in probably only happens very rarely when most of your cabinet ministers have never held such a new position before. The time before that would have been 1997 and before that 1979 and they may have done something different then. It’s just the usual bodged-together thing that people always assume has been going since time immemorial. Normally PCs are sworn in in ones and twos and they wouldn’t bother.

    The secrecy is completely pointless of course but there’s a bizarre belief that everything surrounding the Privy Council is Top Secret – Wiki says

    It was formerly regarded by the Privy Council as criminal, and possibly treasonous, to disclose the oath administered to Privy Counsellors as they take office. However, the oath was officially made public by the Blair government in a written parliamentary answer in 1998.

    as I’ve said on here, I can see why Corbyn might want to have nothing to do with it, not because of the ceremonial[1] but because of the (usually pointless) secrecy.

    [1] I’m sure I read a while back that all the kneeling and hand-kissing had in practice been discontinued, so most of the fuss as to what he has to do is nonsense.


    i.e. law against discrimination in the workplace.


    Now that all this pointless secrecy stuff is coming out and the rules may change, Corbyn can take credit and get more publicity.

  15. LIZH

    “There are laws against some forms of descrimination but fortunately in most cases we can still discriminate.
    I of course make every effort not to break the anti-discrimination laws even if I don’t agree with some of them.

  16. All ceremonies are pointless if you do not agree with the point they are trying to make or do not recognise its relevance. This includes birthdays, funerals, weddings, memorial services, ordinary church services, all Jewish, Muslim, hindu and Buddhist ceremonies (other religions are available) and all civic ceremonies.

    What to me may be pointless May be of the utmost importance to you.

  17. COLIN
    ” How can you aspire to lead a country whose national anthem you do not wish to sing?”

    We will, of course, sack any of the England rugby team who do not sing the national anthem tonight.

  18. OLD NAT
    I have difficulty in interpreting a 25 to 30% poll, on, say do you trust Corbyn on the NHS, given that he has not said much about it,and did not major in it or other posts as a former shadow minister. Would 35% have been a triumph for Burnham, who did – probably yes, given the tendency for the 52% Con voters at the GE to defend their party’s record etc etc. Very dicey questions, IMV.

  19. @RMJ1

    It seems to me our political life is surrounded by old traditions from bygone centuries.

    History is great to study. Parliamentary traditions are great to act out for tourists.

    But please, let us have a 21st century Parliament and constitution, with ways and means that reflect modern life.

    Just because we have a long history doesn’t mean we have to live in the past.

    Life in Britain sometimes feels like living in a dusty old museum.

  20. OK just when you think things can’t get any more bizarre, Corbyn has appointed Mike Watson as Education spokesperson.

    Mike is a convicted fire-raiser, who was given a 16 month sentence, and a member of the Lords, he also is Scottish which makes his appointment to the devolved brief of Education even more strange. This will not end well.

  21. @Couper2802

    We have a system where convictions are spent after a period time. His conviction was spent after four years (except certain circumstances). In his case it was spent in May 2010.

    Our system is that if someone has reformed, they can get on with their lives.

    The evidence would show (ie it hasn’t happened since) that he has reformed.

    To make it simpler for me, I will assume from this point forth that everything JC ever does you will not like or approve of, and will lead to certain doom :)


    Just ignore her posts, they don’t deserve a reply.

  23. I look forward to Neil Hamilton’s future service as Home Secretary.

  24. @CMJ

    Why would a man of principle appoint Lords to his cabinet rather strange choices don’t you agree?

    But on the substantive point we can add ‘helping reformed prisoners who happen to be Lords’ to Corbyn’s scattergun approach. And do you think it is good politics in this time of EVEL to hand a devolved brief to a controversial Scot or is it just asking for trouble?

  25. LIZH

    Please don’t be so rude


    Scraping the barrel there John :-)

    This be PM-not beat Fiji .

  27. Well at least Corby’s done something. My local party has doubled its membership in the last month and mostly with young people saying they want to get active, which is more than over 90% of our party have been in the last five years.

    So, hopefully, it will mean we can start getting out doing some proper leafletting and canvassing again amongst other things.

  28. Re: Sinn Fein not taking seats:

    I agree that Corbyn bowing to join the privy council seems no worse than the pledge all MPs have to make, which prevents Sinn Fein from taking their seats. Surprisingly, I haven’t given this as much thought as I should I the past, but this means that SF MPs are unable to exercise their democratic responsibilities due to an arcane bit of nonsense. Whether or not one agrees with SF, this is an affront on democracy and it is a disgrace that MPs are still made to do this.

    Who was it that crossed his fingers behind his back, but was alllowed to do it again? It’s a mockery.

  29. Re: Discrimination

    Nothing wrong with discrimination, i.e. using your brain to distinguish – discriminate – between what may be beneficial and what may be harmful.
    It is prejudice which is wrong, because that comes to a conclusion before any admissible evidence has been presented (the colour of someone’s skin, for example,not being admissible as evidence).

  30. Re; National Anthem

    Can anyone explain why the English think they have the exclusive right to the UK national anthem?


  31. JOHN B- well, I’m English, and as far as I’m concerned the other home nations can have the National anthem. It’s an embarrassment.

  32. John B

    I think it is more a case of nobody else wanting to use it!

  33. @John B
    “Can anyone explain why the English think they have the exclusive right to the UK national anthem?”

    I may be wrong but i understand the unofficial anthems of the UK countries to be:

    England: Pomp and Circumstance (Land of Hope and Glory);
    Scotland: Flower of Scotland;
    Wales: Land of My Fathers or Bread of Heaven (not sure which); and
    Northern Ireland: Danny Boy.

    I suspect England’s rugby union team use the UK National Anthem as the rugby league team uses Pomp and Circumstance.

    More inventive and more rousing anthems for the UK countries would be:

    England: Jerusalem
    Scotland: Loch Lomond
    Wales: No change – both of the above are very good
    Northern Ireland: No change – Danny Boy is great.

    Of course the greatest ever national anthem has to be the Marseilles. Although Nikosi Sikelel iAfrica part of the SA national anthem is also very special.

  34. I wouldn’t say Land of Hope and Glory is the unofficial English anthem,Jerusalem is generally held to be more popular (plus the English Commonwealth team uses it).

    If we must have an English anthem Jerusalem really is the only one I would want.

    Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau is great too.

  35. OldNat – “The Russian Embassy tweeted –
    Just imagine UK media headlines if Russian President called a leading opposition party threat to national security?”

    Putin jails his opposition though, doesn’t he? (Khordorkovsky) . Sometimes they die from polonium (that journalist). Sometimes it’s not clear how they’d died (Berezovsky). But they do die.

    Why do people think quoting Putin’s people bolsters their arguments?

  36. CatManJeff – “Life in Britain sometimes feels like living in a dusty old museum.”

    Ian Hislop did a documentary a while back about how Britons are attached to “the olden days”.

    The point to observe here is that Corbyn is a big part of this nostalgia thing. He’s not offering anything new – he’s offering a chance to go back to the ’70’s complete with coal mines. Farage is all about going back to the 1950’s. The SNP is about going back to pre-1707, though sometimes they want to go back to 1314, they even had their referendum on the anniversary of that battle, the harking back was so important to them. The Conservatives give nod to the past with their name and their logo, though of all the parties they appear most comfortable with the 21st century,

    You don’t hear any of this sort of harking back in the American presidential elections or the French elections etc.

    But this is Britain!

  37. CANDY

    Why do people think quoting Putin’s people bolsters their arguments?

    I think they’re just pointing out that if even Russia can stand on the moral high ground above you on a topic, you’re probably doing something wrong.

    Denouncing you political opponents as threats to national security is exactly the sort of thing that dictatorships do all the time. Cameron should really know better.

  38. @Roger Mexico

    Is Russia really on the moral high ground (given the imprisonments and poisonings etc)?

    Or are they trolling and finding useful idiots eager to say, “Russia is on the high moral ground for agreeing with me that Corbyn shouldn’t be criticised”.

    If anything Russia’s point fell rather flat because if we didn’t have outraged headlines about all the poisonings etc that take place there, we certainly wouldn’t bother with headlines if they merely accused the opposition of being a threat to national security. We’d take it as a sign they were normalising :-)

  39. @raf

    “Of course the greatest ever national anthem has to be the Marseilles.”

    Hear hear.

    If the French do something right, it’s national anthems.

  40. Candy,

    I agree with all of that. It’s amazing, given that 14 years ago the Tories had entered 21rst century completely out of sorts with modern Britain and struggling to justify their very existence as a party-

    Cameron’s Tory party just seems to fit in a world of apps, Youtube celebrities, Uber, the total normalisation of same-sex relationships, microloans, and a vastly increased sense that it is an individual’s right to choose their community rather than vice versa. It’s not so much that he moved to the left, as much as he stripped much of the traditionalism off of Thatcherism.

    Some people will hate that Britain and some people will love it, and some people will be indifferent, but in their different ways both the Tories and the SNP seem to fit it. I disagree that the SNP is backward looking: if anything, I think their sense of history and traditional Scottish culture has atrophied due to years of outreach and trying to be hyper-modern in image while being extremely small c-conservative on policy.

  41. On the subject of Russia, it is good that America is starting to operate some good sense on Syria as well as Iran.

  42. Santafemad @LIZH

    “Please don’t be so rude”

    Alternatively, tale LisH’s advice on her own posts – “Just ignore her posts, they don’t deserve a reply.”

  43. Candy

    “Why do people think quoting Putin’s people bolsters their arguments?”

    I have no idea, since I wasn’t bolstering any argument..

    I was simply pointing out that Cameron’s rhetoric gives opportunities for his opponents to use his rather silly language against him.

    Doubtless, Cameron doesn’t give a damn about that as long as he can raise a cheap laugh in Surrey. However, UK interests may not be best served by its PM saying really stupid things.

  44. Well done Fiji & England-that’s how you sing a National Anthem.

  45. Colin

    “a National Anthem”

    Do they have the same one?

    Missed the Rugby since I was looking after the grandkids, but I thought Fiji wanted “God” to “bless” Fiji, rather than wishing that the same omnipotent, omniscient supernatural figure would “save” the temporary occupant of the position of UK Head of State.

    If England has its own national teams, surely they should have their own anthem, rather than adopting the anthem of the multi-national state of which they are only part?

    There are many fine songs that they might adopt – The Wurzel’s “I’ve got a brand new combine harvester” immediately springs to mind as a potential candidate.

  46. @Candy
    “He’s not offering anything new – he’s offering a chance to go back to the ’70’s”

    Very few things are ever new in politics. Is Cameron offering anything new? Corbyn’s democratic populism isn’t new but it is very current. He’s seizing on a public mood across Europe and various other parts of the world for greater direct public input into decision-making.

  47. @RAF

    Oh, come on. His big idea for employment is opening coal mines! Because that’s what they did in the ’70’s. The only people who think coal mines are great are luvvies who don’t think about what it was like to work in them.

    By all accounts deep coal mining was unsafe, unpleasant and depressing. People in 2015 don’t want to entomb themselves like that, they want a nice job in a nicely furbished well-lit, well ventilated office.

    It’s interesting that Yvette Cooper is a miners grandaughter (and got an endorsement from the NUM on the strength of that) but was talking about technology jobs. While Corbyn was fondly imagining that people will want to know their place and gladly go back to grim unpleasant work.

    The mind boggles.

  48. Candy

    I doubt that many on here doubt that your mind boggles.

    Most will hope there is a cure.

  49. CANDY

    Is Russia really on the moral high ground (given the imprisonments and poisonings etc)?

    Or are they trolling and finding useful idiots eager to say, “Russia is on the high moral ground for agreeing with me that Corbyn shouldn’t be criticised”.

    Well they’re trolling of course, but you miss my point. I said they were placing themselves on the moral high ground above Cameron, not how far up the slope they were. When Putin is saying “Welcome to the gutter”, you’ve got problems. Indeed one of the objections to this sort of language is that it gives semi-totalitarian regimes such as Russia an easy get-out “Look the West say the same sort of thing”.

    And no one is saying that Corbyn shouldn’t be criticised. But it’s a long way from criticising someone’s policies to calling them a threat to national security, implying they’re an enemy of the state. Politicians may think this sort of thing all the time (what they really mean is ‘An enemy of ME’) but are stupid to say it outloud.

    The strange fact though is that there has actually been very little criticism of Corbyn. What there has been is endless insults and insinuations, not to mention the elevation of matters of extreme triviality into things of great import, to be discussed endlessly in shocked tones. But reasoned criticism of policy (and he did set out a lot in the campaign) has been missing. Saying “He’s against Trident” is not enough, you have to make the case for Trident.

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