Corbyn isn’t seen as an alternative
There’s little doubt that if the general election had been on May 4th, local election day, then Mrs. May would have got her landslide. The general election polling that was coming out at the time with leads of 15%/20% was broadly reflected in the way that the country voted in the range of elections on that day. The build up to that Thursday, and her dramatic visit to the Palace on May 3rd and speech in Downing Street afterwards very much set the tone for the elections the following day.
In the run up to May 4th TMay had leads over Corbyn in the best PM polling of 30-40%. Anything in the general election five weeks later seemed possible.
Party workers in the May local elections were being told on the doorstep that their choice was just “Theresa” – her brand had extraordinary support and went way beyond just the Conservatives.
Is it any wonder then that Lynton Crosby’s £4m campaign for the Tories advised that making her the main plank of the Tory campaign was the right way to go. She was an electoral phenomenon and he sought to cash in on it.
Unfortunately for the blue team there were still five weeks to go and when TMay faced the serious scrutiny of a general election campaign she moved from being an electoral asset to an electoral liability. Her inability to interact comfortably with ordinary people became more apparent as the days went by and her refusal to take part in a TV debate with Corbyn in the closing stages was a huge mistake as the BES polling has shown.
So in spite of her overall public image taking a battering because of the result it is striking that when pollsters ask ho they think would make the best PM they do not choose Corbyn. He’s only led in one poll since the election.