The data, surely, shows that the PM is a liability
Earlier in the month the Labour blogger, Hopi Sen, was making the argument that the polls were showing Gordon Brown was more popular than his party and, therefore, any change of leader would have a negative rather than positive impact on Labour’s chances.
Hopi based his case on the MORI monthly question when respondents rated their satisfaction with the government and their satisfaction with Brown. He argued that because the latter was at a higher level then his point was proved.
I was uneasy about this approach because the Government/Labour were not being compared directly against the leader. So I had a dig around to try to find any polling data with a direct comparison between Brown and his party.
The above is what I came up with and I’ve been meaning to post on this for a couple of weeks. The table is from the MORI political monitor of July 2008 – the last time, I believe, polling questions have been put asking participants to make a direct comparison between the leader and the party. As can be seen the response was not good for Brown.
So 18% said “I like Gordon Brown and I like the Labour Party”; 11% said “I like Gordon Brown but I do not like the Labour party“; 21% said “I do not like Gordon Brown but I like the Labour Party” and 44% replied “I do not like Gordon Brown and I do not like the Labour Party
The evidence, I would argue, is pretty emphatic even though the polling is a little old – a total of 29% said they liked Brown compared with 39% saying they liked Labour
Now things might have changed since July last year but I doubt if the overall conclusion will be any different. Brown, I believe, is a liability. Changing for a more liked leader could help the party.