How Ed Miliband compares to his predecessors

How Ed Miliband compares to his predecessors

Now that we’re just a little under two years from the General Election, I thought it might be useful to see how Dave and Ed compare to the predecessors as Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, and used their net approval ratings with Ipsos-Mori

In the first of this series, I’m starting with how Ed Miliband compares with his predecessors in terms of net ratings.


A couple of notes about the data.

1) The figure from Margaret Thatcher is from March 1977, nearly twenty-six months before the General election. This is the nearest polling to the two year window.

2) Iain Duncan Smith was removed as Tory Leader before he could contest the 2005 General election,

As we can see from the graph, the only two Leaders of the Opposition with a net positive rating two years before an election went onto become Prime Minister.

But only one out six of the Leaders of the Opposition with a net negative rating went onto win the general election, the seventh, IDS, was removed, nobody would suggest he was on course to win the 2005 General Election.

Is Ed Miliband in the same league as Margaret Thatcher?

We’re going to find out in little under two years time.

Update, I’ve added David Cameron’s figures.

Now moving onto how David Cameron compares to his predecessors.


His net ratings are comparable to Thatcher in 1981, 1985 and Blair in 2003, and they went onto win the subsequent general election, Cameron can be relieved his net ratings aren’t as bad as Thatcher in 1990, or Major in 1995 or Brown in 2008, who were either replaced as Prime Minister, or led their parties to record breaking defeats at the General Election.

As we can see above, Jim Callaghan had a positive net rating, but he still went onto lose the subsequent election.

The below graph shows the lead the Prime Minister enjoys over the Leader of the Opposition in the Ipsos Mori net ratings two years before the election.

Two years to go, this election isn’t in the bag for either party.


  • In the next few days, I’ll do a couple of threads comparing David Cameron’s and the Government’s approval and VI ratings to their predecessors two years from a General Election. 
  • In the next few days I’ll do a thread comparing this government’s approval and VI ratings  two years before an election with its predecessors.
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