I missed YouGov’s latest poll earlier this week – topline figures did not show anything new, with voting intentions of CON 42%, LAB 25%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11%.

More interesting was the regular tracker on how well or badly the government are doing at negotiating Brexit: 36% said well, 34% badly. YouGov have been asking the question since last autumn and this is the first time it has scraped into positive territory, presumably because the government and EU have actually made the first steps towards beginning the process.

YouGov also released a survey asking some more detailled questions about how people see Theresa May. There is a clear pattern to what people view as her strengths and weaknesses – a majority of people think she is decisive (56%) and has what it takes to get things done (56%). On balance people think she is good in a crisis (by 44% to 24%) and is honest (by 40% to 25%). However, she is also seen as being out of touch (by 46% to 32%), as having no sense of humour (by 32% to 27%) and a cold personality (by 45% to 26%).

As May herself said in her first Prime Minister’s Question Time – remind you of anyone? The public perceptions of May’s character are similar to the public perceptions of Margaret Thatcher – someone who is a strong and capable leader, but not particularly warm or caring. YouGov also asked directly how similar people thought May was to previous PMs – 47% said she was similar to Thatcher, 31% thought she was different.

It’s interesting to ponder in which direction the causality works here. Do people think May is similar to Thatcher because they have some similar strengths and weaknesses and aspects to their characters… or do people think of May as similar to Thatcher because of the obvious superficial similarities (a female, Conservative, Prime Minister with a strict demeanour) and have, therefore, assumed that May will have the same sort of characteristics as Thatcher. In short, do people think May is like Thatcher because she’s tough, or think she’s tough because she’s like Thatcher? Or, as these things tend to work in real life, do they reinforce one another?

Tabs for voting intention are here, tabs for May are here.

211 Responses to “YouGov poll on how Theresa May is seen”

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  1. My impression of the current polling numbers is this

    Con 44
    Lab 26
    Lib 10
    UKIP 11

    Other than Labour losing c. 50 seats to the Conservatives nothing much changing.

    Looking forward to the local elections – less than 3 weeks now.

  2. @Oldnat – sorry I misread the purpose of the brackets in your last poll posting

    @PeteCairns sad to hear of your children’s health issues. My brother’s best friend was diagnosed early (hole in the heart, when they couldn’t do much about it) and lived until his early 20s. I have worked with my brother and just released a cd of their band’s recordings 35 years after his death. It’s great to hear of your daughter’s success and my memory of my brother’s friend is that he compressed more into his 20 years than I probably have in my 60

  3. First, a Happy Easter to one and all!

    Second, best wishes to you Peter. Your post affected me strongly when I read it this morning. I have two children in their thirties and you have reminded me not to take the normal expectations of life for granted.

    Sometimes I do reflect that whatever our political and cultural differences around the world we are all human beings and we all have a similar reaction to things like illness in children. In a sane world those things would prevent us going to war with each other..

  4. Orb Brexit poll for the Telegraph showing:

    Leave 55
    Remain 45

    Link below:


  5. Good morning and a happy Easter, especially to Peter C and his family.

    Peter, you are, of course, completely correct about the main reasons for our housing problems. It is not actually population increase, although that is a major contributor.

    The principal causes are people living longer, and social change, of which the biggest factor is divorce.

    This is why, despite building about a quarter of a million houses a year for decades, we still have a housing shortage.

    My point really was that we should have a population strategy/target. Current population growth of about 0.7% per annum is double the EU average, and, in my view, unsustainable. We just can’t afford it.

    I am opposed to HS2, Hinkley Point and Heathrow 3, on the grounds that we can’t afford them. I wonder whether any of them would be necessary if we had had 0.3% population growth over the last ten years.

    Building the roads, the power supply, the airport capacity, the housing, the sewerage, the hospitals and the schools, and indeed supplying the food, for an extra half a million people every year is beyond our capabilities. And its relentless.

    And you are right about cars: 600,000 extra cars every year. But no new roads.

    Population growth in Scotland is about 0.3%, if I remember correctly. This is manageable, might even be desirable, hence the relaxed view taken north of the border. I think if you were experiencing 0.7% growth, you would take a very different view.

    There is sustainable growth and there is unsustainable growth. I don’t think government has properly considered at what point that line is crossed. I suspect it is about 0.3%.

    Feeling a bit queasy at the moment, having eaten a whole egg this morning – definitely unsustainable.

  6. Peter C
    I echo what Andrew and others have said

  7. Bantams

    This Telegraph ORB poll will get more coverage from its sponsor than last months from the same organisation which showed 59 per cent to 41 support for Scottish independence in Scotland and 54 to 36 support for having another referendum!

    INTERESTINGLY the UK poll against a second indy referendum was only 45-35. Again received next to no coverage from The Telegraph #inconvenientfacts

  8. @ Scotsglass

    Only passing on a poll I found, if it had been a Scottish poll I’d have done exactly the same!

  9. New thread

  10. Candy,
    “London these days is a thoroughly unpleasant place, and it’s the result of it’s population increasing from 6.5 million to 8.6 million plus within 25 years.”

    But this is because of policy deliberately intended to increase the population density of London, not about the national population. Also, despite probably the most crowding in the country, they voted to remain in the EU, where supposedly population was a key issue.

    “You can’t know that. Suppose the 3% undecided all went to the Conservatives”

    I don’t think it matters. The result was still a net flow of 3% to other parties. If 3% undecided went conservative, that means 6% conservative departed the party, which if anything would be a more significant number.

    “” there is no leader championing Remain” Tim Farron?”
    Not really, his party is still going on about making the best of the nations choice, but even if you consider their policy is to remain, electorally they are generally perceived as powerless.

    “Seems to me the people who think it’s too crowded and resent immigration generally live in thinly populated areas with few immigrants.”

    Now maybe you have hit on an explanation of the leave remain split in and out of London! A self selecting poll!

  11. In 2010 the Lib Dems jamp from nearing 10% in the polls, to almost 30|% I think Labour could have a similar 20% jump, and win,

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