I want to write something more lengthy about Ed Miliband’s polling, but I though this worth a short post in its own right. In the last few months there has been various rumbling on blogs and the media about Miliband’s leadership, and polling figures have naturally come into that.

The Labour party have tended to point to Ed Miliband’s approval ratings with MORI, which are negative but not toweringly so. In MORI’s last poll in December 34% of people were satisfied with the way Miliband is doing his job, 50% are dissatisfied. Labour’s case is that this is not out of line with past leaders of the opposition.

Meanwhile anyone looking to criticise Miliband would want to point to his approval ratings with YouGov which are dire – in today’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll only 20% thought he was doing a good job, while 66% thought he was doing badly. YouGov doesn’t have as much past trend data as MORI, but compared to what they do have these are very bad.

What’s the reason for the big difference though? Well, some of it is probably methodological (MORI don’t use political weighting, which means their samples sometimes have more Labour voters than other companies), but I think most of it is down to the question asked. While we tend to dump them all in together as job approval, MORI and YouGov are actually asking very different questions – MORI ask if people are satisfied or unsatisfied with how Miliband is doing his job, YouGov ask if people think he is doing well or badly.

If you break people’s answers down by party support (and here I’m using YouGov figures from December, so we are comparing apples with apples)

Miliband approval ratings in December MORI poll:
MORI Con supporters – 25% satisfied, 61% dissatisfied
MORI Lab supporters – 54% satisfied, 37% dissatisfied
MORI LD supporters – 33% satisfied, 51% dissatisfied

Miliband approval ratings in December YouGov poll:
YG Con supporters – 8% well, 87% badly
YG Lab supporters – 59% well, 31% badly
YG LD supporters – 24% well, 63% badly

You can see where most of the difference lies – amongst Labour voters the answers are not that different, Miliband’s approval rating is in the 50s, his disapproval in the 30s. The big difference is how the supporters of opposing parties answer the question. Basically, if Conservative supporters are asked if Miliband is doing well or badly, they overwhelmingly think he is doing badly. Asked if they are satisfied or disatisfed with his leadership, a significant minority of Tory supporters say they are satisfied – presumably because they are perfectly satisfied with Labour having a leader who they think is doing badly.

219 Responses to “On Ed Miliband’s approval ratings”

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  1. Amber

    I should have referred, of course, to the 1989 Claim of Right (signed by every Scottish Labour MP – except Tam Dalyell, I think)

    “We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount.”.

    But then I wouldn’t really expect you to think that was honesty from Labour – they are dishonest on so many things.

  2. Amber

    incidentally, what are your views on the changes to the Union suggested by David Melding and Alex Fergusson?

    These aren’t Left/Right issues so presumably you aren’t going to have a knee jerk reaction to them, just because they are Tories?

  3. Amber

    Are you a supporter of the UK renewing Trident?

  4. @ Old Nat

    Are you seriously saying that you don’t understand the difference between sovereignty and the “Head of State”.
    I was pointing out that I do know the difference.

    Who is to say that our fellow citizens would not prefer a similar constitutional arrangement as the UK has; have you asked them already?

  5. @ Old Nat

    I should have referred, of course, to the 1989 Claim of Right (signed by every Scottish Labour MP – except Tam Dalyell, I think)
    Oh, if the SNP wish for an Independent Scottish constitution to follow the rules which UK Labour set out, that is fine by me! But it probably will not come to that anyway; polling still says Scots will not vote for independence.

  6. @ Old Nat

    Alex Fergusson…
    He’s not on my radar either. I thought you were talking about the manager of Manchester United, until I read the article. ;-)

  7. Amber

    You have an unfortunate tendency to fail to answer questions that clearly embarrass you.

    Indeed, the Scottish people may decide, in due course, that they reject the sovereignty of the people. I will be arguing that they join the majority of states that enshrine the people as the ultimate arbiter of the constitution. You will be one of those sad souls arguing that politicians are sovereign, and not the people. Care to bet on the outcome?

    Either Labour believes in the Claim of Right that acknowledges “the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs” or it doesn’t.

    The latter seems the most likely position of your party. However, it would be nice (though hardly essential) for you to confirm that they were lying when they signed that declaration.

  8. Amber

    I’ll forgive your confusion between football and politics – not much difference for you, perhaps?

    However, you have read the article – and if you haven’t read Melding’s I’ll happily repeat the link for you – so what are your views? Surely you have some comment to make?

  9. @ Old Nat

    You have an unfortunate tendency to fail to answer questions that clearly embarrass you.
    Few things embarrass me. On the contrary, your asking questions with the intention of embarrassing people rather than genuinely seeking their view, is one of your least attrative tendencies.

    And I don’t actually know which question you are saying would ’embarrass’ me. The Tory ex-something or other’s untenable position on some tax raising powers being the responsibility of the Scottish parliament or Trident.

  10. @ Old Nat

    You will be one of those sad souls arguing that politicians are sovereign, and not the people.
    I think I will be sad for you when the Scottish people vote against independence. I know it will be disappointing for you.

  11. Amber

    “Few things embarrass me.”

    Alas that is the result of being a SLab supporter! :-) (Actually that is probably inaccurate. You are a UKLab supporter. Scotland probably comes low on your list of priorities).

    I asked a number of questions. You declined to provide answers. That speaks volumes.

    There is a real debate going on about the future of the UK. You decline to take part.

  12. Amber

    You really don’t understand.

    I think the Scottish people are sovereign. You don’t think that the people are ever sovereign.

    I’ll accept the judgement of the Scottish people on our constitutional status. You prefer that either the question is never put (and certainly, that the position preferred by most Scots isn’t put to the vote). Since you make no positive proposals, it’s difficult to know what, if anything, you believe in – other than conservatism.

    You delight in the status quo – which is why you will lose. Conservatives can’t embrace change.

  13. @ Old Nat

    There is a real debate going on about the future of the UK. You decline to take part.
    I have already decided. So have you. What is there for us to ‘debate’?

    I am happy to chat about our differing views from the point of gaining insight into one another’s position. But I am not going to have a friendly discussion where the object is to ’embarrass’ me or when you are going to insult me e.g. as ‘a sad soul’ for holding an opinion which differs from yours.

  14. @ Old Nat

    You don’t think that the people are ever sovereign.
    Correct; the sovereignty of the people is a ‘feel good’ abstract concept with no practical meaning.

  15. Amber

    In the rational world that is UKPR (or at least it should be!) there is regular discussion of factors which will affect public opinion on political issues.

    I would have thought that alternative visions by Tories in Wales and Scotland would have been matters for legitimate debate – especially since neither of us are Tories!

    However, if you prefer to run away and hide, deciding that there are simply entrenched positions on Scottish autonomy – why do you bother debating with other Brits who are similarly entrenched in their views – as you are in yours?

    I would describe that as your having few arguments to support your conservatism, and that you are just content to posture. You would disagree, but you choose to deploy no arguments to support your views on the constitution. That’s why you are losing.

  16. Amber

    Now we’re getting somewhere!

    You don’t believe that the sovereignty of the people means anything. Your MPs were (if they agree with you) were mouthing a nonsense which they had no belief in.


  17. @ Old Nat

    You delight in the status quo – which is why you will lose. Conservatives can’t embrace change.
    Nobody ever votes for the status quo?

    And the SNP are fighting a rear-guard action over a change that happened over 300 years ago; if that’s not resisting change, I don’t know what is!

  18. @ Old Nat

    Your MPs were (if they agree with you) were mouthing a nonsense which they had no belief in.
    I didn’t say they agree with me. I am sure many of them believe in abstract concepts. I bet loads of them believe in a god, for example. That’s up to them.

    How will I know when I am sovereign? Do I get a badge? Or a crown even? Can I tell the army whom to shoot at? Will the police not be allowed to arrest me? If I disagree with a law or a judge’s ruling, may I ignore it? Tell me, how will I recognise my sovereignty when I have it?

    Or are you telling me that I am already sovereign, based on the piece of paper signed by all but Tam? Because honestly, Old Nat, I didn’t notice the change to my status which this momentus event allegedly brought about.

  19. CROSS BAT 11 and ADRIAN
    Good Morning,
    I think in 1957, when I was also 18 months old, the Villa centre forward beat up our goalie, the same happened with the Bolton goal in 1958, after the tragedy about which fans from certain clubs like Leeds, Chelsea and victimpool still sing, sadly.

    An interesting second half of the season coming up now, plus, no doubt, Wales being gallant losers in the Six Nations again.

    I think that Opposition leaders are normally ahead significantly after 18 months of a Parliament. ED: ‘not up to the job, I’m afraid’ as Major Attlee used to say about failing colleagues.
    ADRIAN here is right about ED’s failure, which is, I think already embedded in voters minds- not the people who call the mid day meal lunch and the evening people supper and read opinion poll data for fun- but the people with whom winning Labour leaders connected and understood.

    Attlee for example, spend years working the the East End of London in Toynbee Hall, and fought alongside men in war.

    Ed has told us himself, while smiling and waiting for the mob to laugh: ‘I’m not Tony Blair’ . That is true

  20. Mr Darling’s comments on ED are interesting to study.

    I think he was badly treated by Ed’s former boss, the Balls.

  21. @ Chris Lane 1945

    Mr Darling’s comments on ED are interesting to study.

    I think he was badly treated by Ed’s former boss, the Balls.
    IMO, Anybody who thinks Alistair Darling would allow himself to be badly treated without giving as good as he got, doesn’t know AD or his supporters very well.

  22. chrislane1945

    “Mr Darling’s comments on ED are interesting to study”

    Didn’t he say that Labour’s time for Mea Culpa has passed? They’ve missed their chance then.

    Good Morning to you.
    Off to tennis soon, and then some work.

    what does IMO mean please? ! (I have learned other sets of letters from my children)

    Thank you

  24. Comments on the timing of the Scotland Independence Referendum Date.

    Lots of waffle, etc on the date of the above, sovereignty, Trident, etc. But no-one has thought about the significance of the time-frame itself, apart from whether it helps or hinders the achievement of the result they would favour.

    With a UK election scheduled for 2015, it is IMPERATIVE that the question of whether Scotland is or is not continuing as part of the UK is answered by that date. One possible contender for the UK Govt in 2015 may be heavily reliant upon its Scottish MPs for its UK Parliament mandate. It would not be tenable for the UK to have a UK govt, possibly decided in part due to its Scottish MPs, only to find that govt has to fall/change because Scotland in its referendum votes to leave the UK. Those Scottish MPs may themselves be either part of the governing party, coalition partners or merely supplying votes on a S and C basis.

    Similarly if that Scotland Independence Referendum question includes other options such as greater autonomy, especially over such matters as even greater fiscal control, then it would be untenable for Scottish MPs to continue to have a say in how these matters should be dealt with in the rest of the UK.

    Thus whether Scotland is in/out/shake-it-all-about within the UK is vital to resolve before the next scheduled UK general election.

    If the Scotland Independence Referendum includes other options that in any way affect the well-being of the rest of the UK, should not the rest of the UK also have some say whether they want/accept any ‘Scotland only’ referendum decision. Some may feel that the ‘price’ of keeping Scotland within the UK is no longer justified. I am of course referring to the ‘price’ of having Scottish MPs voting upon English/rest of UK matters. I really don’t want another lecture on ‘whose oil is it anyway’.

  25. Happened to flick through a copy of The Sun this morning. Right there on page 2, Miliband now less poular than Clegg according to YouGov.

    Cameron on the other hand, has completed Angry Birds.

  26. I’ve given this a lot of thought, (I haven’t actually but its nice to think I have) and have come up with some earth shattering conclusions.

    When a political party, (after a long period in government) moves into opposition it has to convince everyone that its ready to return to government, when nothing could be further from the truth. So it makes all sorts of wrong decisions,( the Tories for instance had three dud leaders before it struck lucky and even then couldn’t win a GE.) in this desire to prove, ‘its ready’

    Labour should sit back enjoy themselves watch listen and learn and wait. Wait for that day when the Coalition cock-up so big, it can’t be blamed on anyone but themselves, be ready for that day.

    Clear out the deadwood, remove all those who are linked with the past government, choose someone whose fresh, who doesn’t remind the voters of Blair/Brown, someone who isn’t beholden to either the unions or any of the cliques that riddle political parties, someone whose been formed in a different mould.

    Try to get odds on Dan Jarvis MP being the next Labour PM, that man’s CV reads like a film script, gotta be worth a punt.

  27. @ Chris Lane

    IMO, is In My Opinion.

  28. Amber

    I wasn’t suggesting you would necessarily take to the Pentland Hills, Kalashnikov in hand, just that even many ‘Unionists’ would feel annoyed at being ordered to do something they want to do from their own free will. When I finally got around to reading the article in the Paper That Must Not Be Linked To and saw that Cameron was being almost as daft as I feared, I couldn’t help noticing that even English nationalists got this. After all if Brussels started ordering the English when to have referendums and what to put in them, they’d get extremely narked.

    As far as sovereignty goes, you must admit that, while the Scottish Constitution is “what happens” in the same way as the British one, the tradition has always made more reference to the will of the people – even if the reality was just one group of posh people fighting another lot. The Divine Right of anyone usually went down like a lead balloon in Scotland and it’s a bit late to try again.

  29. Chris Lane

    I know schoolkids expect to be spoon-fed these days, but it’s a bit much when the teachers do as well. :P

    Stop bothering Amber and start using the omniscient Urban Dictionary if you want to be down wiv da kidz.

  30. Oldnat,

    Can you please try to be less partisan? Just because you´re not talking about Lab or Con doesn´t mean it´s more acceptable.

  31. @ Roger Mexico,

    Yes, I was being a tad facetious.

    But I do think we have to be a bit careful in comparing Westminster to Brussels. And, given the site on which we are pontificating ;-) we must keep in mind, David Cameron has polling on his side. The majority of Scots do not want independence but they do want the referendum to be sooner rather than later.

    Furthermore, if you read the article again, the Coalition are making the SNP an offer – not (yet?) imposing a referendum of the Coalition’s choosing. And it is a good offer. A legally binding referendum, instead of an ‘attitude’ survey, provided it is held before July 2013.

    Once the dust settles & folks actually read what is being offered, there will be a lot of pressure on the SNP to accept – mostly from their own supporters who believe the pro-Uk Parties are in disarray & the SNP should move swiftly to capitalise on their own 2011 success.

  32. On Scottish independence;

    I fully agree that it is up to the Scottish people to decide it´s own fate, which I think the “1989 Claim of Right” stood for.


    I agree about the timing (though I think even if Scotland votes for independence then we will still get to vote in the GE as it would probably take at least one parliament to actually achieve independence). I wonder if it would end up similar to the Republic of Ireland, where they still get to vote in elections? I hope not, I think it´s unfair.

    I think the reason the SNP are holding off is so resentment against the UK Gov. builds, and the EU stabilises,to maximise the pro-independence vote.

    As to Scottish MPs having a say in English matters, it´s completely unfair, however, it´s hardly the fault of the Scottish MPs. I think that to solve that problem, England has to get it´s own National parliament with devolved matters, and have a British Government for British matters, such as defence and foreign policy.

  33. A belated happy new year, everyone. :-)

    @AMBERSTAR……………..I too struggle with the excessive use of the TLA. :-)

  34. pablo420

    How is the Sun spinning that? Given that the figures are actually:

    Miliband 20 – 66 = -46

    Clegg 21 – 70 = -49

    True Clegg is more ‘popular’ among his own Party’s supporters (67 – 25 = +42) than Miliband (48 – 42 = +6), but them Miliband has more of them, which is what matters in the end.

  35. Thinking about Anthony’s point about the difference between MORI’s and YouGov’s questions and responses, I think there is more going on than just cunning Tories happy with a perceived poor Labour leader. After all the same MORI Tories are less happy with Cameron (83-13) than their YouGov counterparts (94-5).

    I suspect what we’re seeing here is that people are giving their ‘personal’ reactions to the MORI ‘satisfied’ question, while the YouGov ‘well/badly’ is seen as being more about general public perception. So a media environment where Cameron is being generally praised and Miliband denigrated (or vice versa) will prompt some people to say they are doing well/badly when personally they think differently.

  36. Oldnat

    “I might be concerned about these calls – except that Westminster/Whitehall arrogance means that these calls won’t even appear on Cameron’s political radar.”

    If Reform Scotland added David Melding and Henry McLeish there is every chance they could come up with a winning Unionist solution. They would need to ave the power to be able to offer sweeteners/atonement/reparations for past offence (CFP) to show good faith.

    Unfortunately there is no understanding that there have been past errors, or that a credible way to avoid them in future needs to be in place, that there is serious risk about secession, or that assurances of beter behaviour in future will not be enough.

    It’s like the threat of divorce. Promises to reform and a bunch of flowers from a filling station on the company credit card aren’t good enough.

  37. Roger

    Nicola Sturgeon was on the radio this morning.

    Clearly she agees with every word you said in your post yesterday.

    That’s because you are right, and anybody who is not ignorant, stupid or an authoritarian follower can see it.

    So that’s the three of us and Oldnat at least.

  38. Amber

    I was comparing Westminster and Brussels only with respect to emotional reaction to perceived impositions from them, not to anything more formal or constitutional.

    Cameron may have polling on his side with repect to an earlier referendum, but people may not feel strongly enough for that to overcome the feeling of being dictated to. More substantially he certainly does not have polling on his side with regard to no ‘devo-max’ option being on the ballot paper.

    This does have widespread support. It also has the ability to change the constitutional settlement throughout the UK much more than even an independent Scotland would – which is why it is not being offered. Separation has been managed before with Ireland, financial autonomy would undermine Westminster central control everywhere.

  39. Alec

    On the subject of diesel prices, the largest independent refiner in Europe has had to shut down 3 refineries because of credit problems. I don’t know if they have solved this problem now but they put out an announcement in the dog end of last year. This has been happening to a lot of companies, their credit lines are being yanked and renegotiated.

  40. John b

    ” That’s because you are right, and anybody who is not ignorant, stupid or an authoritarian follower can see it.”

    Careful now, you are starting to sound like an authoritarian leader!! :smile:

  41. ^”If you CAN bear to go there ” that should have read.

  42. scotswaehae

    You’re completely right in your reply to Frank that there would be a lot of unravelling to do if Scotland did vote for independence (one reason why I think it won’t happen) so Scots MPs would still need to be in the next HoC even if there was a successful referendum tomorrow.

    Presumably a separate Scotland would stay in the Commonwealth (they’re wasting a lot of money on the Glasgow Games if not) so Scots in rUK (to use OldNat’s unlovely term) would still have the vote there. That would be fair because voting in Scottish Parliament elections is open to all residents, irrespective of nationality.

    Incidentally Brits in Ireland do have the vote for the Dail though not for the President of the Republic or for constitutional amendments. Though as Brits in the UK don’t have a constitution or the right to vote for who is monarch, that hardly seems a great loss.

  43. @ John B Dick

    That’s because you are right, and anybody who is not ignorant, stupid or an authoritarian follower can see it.
    Really, you & Old Nat’s increasing proprensity to insult & bully anybody who does not agree with you is beginning to grate.

  44. oldnat @ Amber

    “I’m sure that Cameron has discussed his plans with Lizzie – just as Salmond has”.

    I don’t know about the Queen of England, but if they discussed it with the Queen of Canada, they could get some good advice.

    The QoC is the only player in the game who has done it before, and she can dash off a Statutory Instrument as required in both of the languages in which she is fluent. I don’t think she could manage it in Gaelic, though.

  45. Without trying to sound controversial, it seems (from public opinion polls) that more English people are wishing for Scottish independence than the Scots. I guess that’s partly because it would also move England closer to being an independent nation.

    I have to say I agree with Amber on the outcome; when push comes to shove, the Scottish people will decide that they are better off as part of the UK than gaining full independence.


    “a bunch of flowers from a filling station on the company credit card aren’t good enough.”

    Perhaps not even a huge bill from a London store paid for on a Government credit card [1] would suffice either.

    [1] Reference meaningless for those who aren’t watching Borgen.

  47. Alistair Darling and Alan Johnson clearly getting the wind up regarding their leader. In fairness to them, they both talk sense. Louise Mentsch does not talk sense, she has a photo taken dressed in leather for a ladmag, and then preaches feminism.

    Why are so many women politicians, so silly?

    Why don’t you get in amongst them and raise the tone?

  48. Oldnat

    David Melding, Alex Ferguson and Murdo Fraser have no place in the Conservative party. They do their own thinking.

    I could imagine circumstances in which I could vote for them. The same goes for the Reform Scotland Labour adviser, Malcolm Chisholm.

    What’s wrong with these oddballs? Are they just masochists who love rejection?

  49. Who the hell was that ridiculous Scottish woman on the news this AM, squawking that “Cameron is poking his Tory nose into the Scottish peoples business.” Does this individual think that Scotland is already independent, or has she not heard that Cameron is Prime Minister of the UK?

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