The reason Theresa May is rating so well, even amongst LAB voters, is that she exudes competence

The reason Theresa May is rating so well, even amongst LAB voters, is that she exudes competence


Her current LAB alternative does not

Yesterday’s shock leader satisfaction ratings from Ipsos MORI that had May with net a positive from LAB voters while Corbyn was given a net negative by the same segment was totally unprecedented. Generally people respond to leader ratings on party basis.

The numbers come on top of a series of leader ratings which have been very good for the new PM and very bad for Corbyn who is battling to hang on to his job.

What they all underline is a truth about voting behaviour that a critical thing we look for in our political leaders is competence. We might not like some of the policies they espouse and implement but at least the impression is that policy is developed and decisions appear to be being made in a proper and fair manner taking into account all the relevant factors.

This is why Labour struggled so much at GE2015 because at the time the person who appeared the most competent was the then PM not the Labour alternative.

It is also I’d suggest what is behind the current Tory surge under the new Prime Minister and why things look glum for Labour incumbent as he struggles to maintain his job. Whether or not you agree with his policy positions he doesn’t exude an aura of competence and the ability to run and lead the country.

If he can’t maintain the confidence of his parliamentary colleagues he’s hardly going to appear a credible alternative PM. That PLP vote was devastating for Corbyn and makes his situation almost untenable even if he hangs on in the current leadership election.

Things have been exacerbated to an enormous extent by the uncertainty created by the referendum outcome. May gives the impression of being able to navigate through the story waters ahead and so gets good polling support.

Of course there is plenty of time for Theresa May to screw things up and I very much doubt whether the August 2016 leader ratings are going to continue but for the moment things are on her side.

Mike Smithson

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