Two years before an election, how much of a lead does the Opposition have.

Two years before an election, how much of a lead does the Opposition have.

The one thing I’ve most read on British politics in recent months, is that Labour should be doing better,

What the below graph shows is how much of a lead in voting intentions the opposition has two years before an election with Ipsos-Mori (note the figure for Margaret Thatcher is from March 1977, a little under 26 months before an election)

As we can see, generally speaking most oppositions have a lead two years before an election, the exceptions being William Hague and IDS who were facing Tony Blair, who could be accurately described as the most successful politician of recent times.

Ed Miliband does has a lead, but in comparison to leads held by other oppositions, it is smaller, than most,  even Michael Foot had a larger lead, and he has been considered the benchmark for bad Leaders of the Opposition.

But a larger lead is no guarantee of electoral success two years later, Neil Kinnock held a 23% lead in April 1990, but lost the subsequent election (although that may have been because of the Tory Party replacing Margaret Thatcher before the election)

I’ve done a similar exercise with the ICM/Guardian series, since this series started in 1984, we don’t have equivalent figures for Margaret Thatcher and Michael Foot, but for subsequent leaders, the trend is similar, and Labour’s current position matches roughly what the Ipsos Mori series shows.



I’ve added another graph, this shows the lead the Leader of the Opposition has over the Prime Minister in net satisfaction ratings two years before an election with Mori.


Note: Mike Smithson is currently on holiday. 

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