How good a pointer are these numbers?
A lot is talked about polling comparisons between now and the run-up to the May 1997 general election when, of course, Mr. Blair won a landslide victory.
It can be challenging finding comparable data because of the considerable changes in polling over the past thirteen years. The table above, however, is one where we can make a direct comparison because it’s based on MORI questions which have been asked in the same way for more than thirty years. MORI then and MORI now do not weight samples by past vote.
The numbers in the table are the percentages of those sample saying they are satisfied when asked “..Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Mr. Callaghgan/Mr. Major/Mr Brown is doing his job as Prime Minister?”
I plan a further post focussing on the Maggie/Blair/Cameron comparison when the question was about doing their job as opposition leader.
The main methodological difference between 1979, 1997 and 2009/10 is that since June 2008 all political polling by the firm has been carried out on the telephone.
UPDATE: The table has been updated to include the figures for the 1978/79 period when Labour under Callaghan last lost power.