The Great Corbyn leader rating divide

The Great Corbyn leader rating divide


How GE15 CON voters react differently depending on the question format

With question marks still hanging over voting intention polling there’s been a lot more focus on leader ratings which seemed to have performed far better as voting indicators at GE2015.

But here’s a thing. Over the past five days we’ve seen three completely different pictures of how Mr Corbyn is doing from three of the UK’s leading pollsters. Just look at the chart above.

With Ipsos-MORI things are not going too badly for the new red team captain. YouGov has him a fair bit lower and right at the bottom is ComRes.

The reason is that the three pollsters ask very different questions. For forty years Ipsos-MORI has used the satisfied/dissatisfied question. YouGov’s main measure for more than a decade had been on “well/badly” while in the 2010-2015 parliament ComRes, partly at my suggestion, switched to asking about favourability.

The latter has become almost the standard format in the US and I became convinced it was the right approach while writing on White House Race polling in 2012 for the Daily Telegraph. My view is that it gives a better view of electoral outcomes.

In the chart I’ve shown the responses of Tory general election voters to Mr Corbyn and as can be seen there’s a massive difference from the three pollsters. Ipsos had 28% of the Tories saying they were satisfied with the LAB leader while ComRes had just 5% viewing him favourably.

Given how the new LAB leadership has been working out you can understand why many CON backers are satisfied. Looking on him in favourability terms is, however, a totally different matter.

Mike Smithson

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