How predictive are leader aprroval ratings six months out?
The above table has been prepared by pollling analyst Mark Gill and appears on the Gary Gibbon blog on the Channel 4 website.
Using Gallup Poll leader approval data for 1959 â€“ 1974 and Ipsos MORI for 1979 â€“ 2009 it seeks to show the extent to which those those numbers were predictive from six months out before the election.
Just look at it election by election and then come to where we are today. Yes Cameron is five points below what Blair was enjoying ahead of his landslide victory in 1997 but look at the ratings for Major then and Brown now. Major was on minus 27 while Brown is on minus 33.
What are particularly relevant are the 1979 figures – the last time that the Tories came to power. Then both Maggie and Callaghan had equal ratings of zero but the Tories won.
I’ve never paid much attention to leader approval numbers – maybe I ought to start doing so?
Now I wonder what those numbers would look like if Labour had a leader other than Mr. Brown – something that’s become the issue of the moment.