Can he win if people don’t like him?
Tucked away in the YouGov poll that came out on Tuesday afternoon were some numbers that might be at the heart of the Labour succession and the 2009/10 General Election campaign. Electors might agree with Gordon Brown’s policies, they might respect him as a politician but they do not seem to like him.
When asked whether four named politicians had “an attractive personality” the ratings were:- David Cameron 23%: Tony Blair 18%: Charles Kennedy 17%:Gordon Brown 6%
Thus the front-runner for the Labour leadership scored barely a quarter of the Cameron figure and a third of the Kennedy and Blair ratings.
As we have seen with the Tories a leadership race puts a candidateâ€™s style and personality under the most intense scrutiny. In this age of wall-to-wall round the clock television the question of likability could be crucial.
Everybody recalls the Tony Blair “I’m a pretty ordinary sort of guy” response to the Bernie Ecclestone tobacco advertising row in 1997. Yet Blair managed to put that to one side, in my view, because for many people he is likable.
Nine days ago I wrote about a bet against Brown for the Labour leadership because of doubts about his personality in a leadership race. These YouGov numbers reinforce that view. With “personality” being a big part of Cameron’s appeal we can expect further poll probing on the issue.
This is about perceptions not about reality. Thus my personal view is that David Cameron is nothing like as nice as he appears – but that does not matter because he comes over well and other people seem to respond to him.
YESTERDAY’S THREAD broke the PB.C record for the number of comments. At the time of writing it stood at 492 and no doubt it will top the 500 mark.