The graph of YouGov’s BrandIndex tracker data below (click on the graph for a bigger version) shows the net impression figures for senior Labour party politicians over the last five months, hopefully in the coming months I’ll be updating it so we can track the manoeuvring for the Labour crown.


To date Gordon Brown has been on a slow downwards trajectory – his ratings have taken knocks after the stock market falls in mid-May, after his backing of Trident in June and after Lord Levy’s arrest when all the Labour politicians tracked saw their figures drop to some extent. These dips are small compared to the stark fall in the public’s impression of Brown since the “failed coup” against Tony Blair last week. Brown has fallen from minus 20 on the day of Tom Watson’s resignation to minus 32 in the latest figures.

In contrast the public have warmed towards Tony Blair as his party put him under pressure – his net impression rating rose from minus 34 on the day of Watson’s resignation to minus 30 now. This means that for the first time in YouGov’s daily trackers the public have a more positive impression of Tony Blair than Gordon Brown.

Amongst the other potential candidates for Labour’s leadership, John Reid enjoyed a huge boost in popularity as a result of his handling of the terror arrests in early August, which saw his net ratings shoot up from minus 16 to minus 2. However, the effect has since faded and Reid’s figures are now back to minus 15, only slightly above their level before the arrests.

Alan Johnson is once again the most popular of those politicians on the tracker who are currently being suggested as potential leadership candidates, with a rating of minus 7. To some extent however, this is due to his low public recognition. Only 22% of respondents expressed any opinion – positive or negative – about Johnson. This compares to 24% for Miliband, 42% for Reid, 71% for Brown and 77% for Blair.

However, those few who do have opinions about Johnson do tend to be positive. If you take the positive ratings as a proportion of those expressing an opinion about each politician, Johnson remains the most popular with 35% of those expressing an opinion on Johnson being positive, 32% of opinions on Reid were positive, Blair 30% positive, Brown 28% positive and Miliband just 22% positive.

pdf Download full report HERE.

  • Voting Intentions steady despite leadership row
  • Gordon Brown’s lead as public’s favoured successor to Blair continues to drop

This blogs top advice in judging a poll is always judge a poll on what the actual figures say, not on what the newspaper or group commissioning them, or indeed I say they say. Despite the way that the Sun has presented it, what a new YouGov poll in Friday’s Sun actually suggests that, while Tony Blair and the Labour party have not suffered unduly from the leadership row, Gordon Brown may have damaged his public image.

Topline voting intention figures with changes from the Telegraph poll a week ago are CON 38% (-2), LAB 31% (-1), LDEM 18% (+1). The last poll was however conducted immediately after Tom Watson’s resignation while the news was still dominating the media. Looking at the YouGov poll a week before that, todays figures are identical suggesting that Labour’s leadership crisis hasn’t really had much effect upon any of the parties’ levels of support. Where the events of the last week do seem to have had an effect is on opinions of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair – overall 51% of people think Gordon Brown was engaged in a plot to oust Tony Blair, and it has damaged peoples’ opinions of him.

Asked if Tony Blair or David Cameron would make a better Prime Minister, a week ago Cameron led Blair by 10 points. Cameron’s lead is now down to 6 points, suggesting Blair has won some admiration, or at least some sympathy, for his handling of the last week. In contrast, asked whether they would prefer Cameron or Brown, last week Cameron had a five point lead, this week it is up to 9 points.

Similarly, Brown’s huge lead as the person people who would most like to see replace Blair as Labour lead is being slowly whittled away. At the time of the last General Election 47% of people told YouGov they wanted to see Brown as the next Labour leader, by last week it had fallen to 31%. This poll has it down to 28%. John Reid remains up second place on 15% (up from 14% last week), with Alan Johnson third on 7% (up from 4% last week). Amongst Labour voters there is a simialr movement – Brown down to 54% (from 56% last week), Reid up two points on 11% and Johnson significantly up on 7% (from 2% last week) – with a lead of 43% though, Brown still absolutely dominates Labour supporters’ preferences.

The percentage of people thinking that Brown will make a good Prime Minister is unchanged on 30%, but the proportion of people thinking he will be a bad Prime Minister has risen from 38% last week to 43% now. There is a similar movement amongst Labour voters – 13% thought he would make a bad Prime Minister last week, now 18% do.

Asked about several statements about Gordon Brown, 53% think he has run the economy well, 22% think he is more passionate and idealistic than Blair, 25% of people think that, as a Scot, Brown does not really understand the English, and 28% of people think him “psychologically flawed”. Asked to compare how they think Cameron and Brown would perform as Prime Minister, more people (46%) expect Brown to be a strong leader than think the same about Cameron (41%), and the two men had almost identical ratings on honesty. On the other measures Cameron outpolled Brown, with more people seeing him as likely to improve the lives of “people like you” (by 26% to 18%), having good ideas for the future of Britain (40% to 32%) and being able to govern Britain from the centre (33% to 28%).

The Sun claim that the survey shows that Gordon Brown’s “public support for the Prime Minister in the last few days has restored the public’s faith in him”. The poll does show that supporting Blair might well do that in the future – 74% said they like to see Brown publically support Blair for as long as he remains PM – but for a poll that shows Brown falling further behind Cameron than last week, shows the proportion of people who think he will be a bad Prime Minister rising and shows the proportion of people who want to see him as the next Labour dropping, it’s a somewhat unusual interpretation…


The data from MORI’s monthly political monitor has been published, here and here.

The first set of data is the leader attributes, which were published in the Observer. The Observer only compared how people saw Brown and how people saw Blair – I said at the time that as far as I knew MORI hadn’t yet asked the same questions about David Cameron. In fact they had.

People still have few opinions about Cameron – the only thing that strongly emerged was that 37% ticked “rather inexperienced”. Comparing Brown and Cameron there are only a few noticable differences: the two men are both seen as a capable leader by 17% of people, on honesty, being down-to-earth and patriotic there is little difference, the negative attributes of being “rather narrow minded”, “tending to talk down to people”, “being out of touch” and being “too inflexible” all see Brown score noticably higher than Cameron, more people see Cameron as having lots of personality than do Brown. Brown outscores Cameron on being good in a crisis, having sound judgement and understanding the problems facing Britain and the world. Once again, it is the same old pattern – Cameron beats Brown on “fluffy” attributes like being likeable, in touch, broad minded and so on, but Brown beats Cameron on being seen as effective. The only strong finding on the attributes people associated with Menzies Campbell is that he was seen as more trustworthy than most politicians by 17% of respondents.

The other half of the poll contained leader approval ratings (Cameron and Brown both up slightly, Campbell unchanged), questions on which party is best in different policy areas and voting intention. The issue figures on MORI’s site are only for those who said the issues were inportant, but contain some surprising results – amongst those who told MORI that Europe was a very important issue, Labour still led over the Conservatives. Labour have recently led the Conservative on the issue of Europe, but personally I always expected that those people who said Europe was an important issue would tend to be those of a more Euro-sceptic bent – however, those people say they prefer Labour. More surprising still is those people who say they think healthcare is an important issue think that the Conservatives are the best party on the issue. On Labour’s trump card of the economy, where recent YouGov polls have shown them losing the lead amongst the public as a whole, they maintain a strong lead amongst those who name the economy as an important issue.

I’ve left the most surprising figure to last. The Conservatives have led in every opinion poll published since late April (and indeed, still lead in the two opinion polls conducted since MORI completed their fieldwork), but the poll also shows Labour ahead on voting intention. The topline figures, with changes since MORI’s last opinion poll, are CON 35%(-1), LAB 36% (+4), LDEM 19% (-5). It goes without saying that the poll appears out of line with all other recent polls (I explored here why I think it is that MORI’s polls are quite so volatile). Given MORI’s volatility and the fact that both the YouGov poll carried out since, and the Populus poll carried out at the same time, showed movement in the opposite direction, I think this poll is probably the outlier.

A new Populus poll in the Times today asked people who they would like to see succeed Tony Blair as Labour leader. Gordon Brown continues to lead, and to dominate amongst Labour voters. 30% of the general public named Brown as their preferred successor, with 11% backing John Reid and 11% Jack Straw (the article gave no figures for Alan Johnson or other potential candidates). Amongst Labour voters Brown received 51% support, with no other candidate getting the support of more than 8% of Labour voters.

The proportion of people wanting Tony Blair to leave office this year has risen to 53%, from 51% in the Populus poll last week.

On the 5th anniversary of 9/11 there is, unsurprisingly, a new poll out on the war on terror. This time it is by YouGov for Sky News. The main findings are similar to the other recent polls on the issue. 63% of people told YouGov they thought there was a “war on terror” – made up of 62% of people who thought there was a war that the West needed to win, and 1% who thought the West should lose. The percentage of people saying there is a war on terror is higher than some of other questions asking if we are at war, since it offered the choices of being at war or not being at war, when some previous questions asked if whether we should consider it a war, or something else.

The survey found the same sort of pessimism about how well the “war” is going and how long it is likely to last as in the YouGov/Spectator survey last month. Only 7% thought we were winning the “war on terror”, with 22% thinking we were losing. 66% of people thought that the “war” would not end in their lifetimes.

77% of people thought that “Tony Blair’s policies towards the Middle East have made Britain more of a target for terrorists” with only 13% of people disagreeing.

Finally, YouGov asked about the possibility of war with Iran – something that, surprisingly, hasn’t actually been polled upon to a great extent. The answers however were unsurprising: 67% said if America took military action against Iran and asked Britain to send troops we should refuse, 16% would supporting sending troops. Supporters of all three political parties were overwhelming opposed (thought Lib Dems were most opposed, with only 8% supporting, and the Conservatives least, with 20% supporting).