Why Johnson can take little comfort from the Tory voting intention poll leads

Why Johnson can take little comfort from the Tory voting intention poll leads

He’s being smashed by Starmer in the leader ratings

The latest weekly poll from Opinium the the Observer had the Conservatives with a 4% lead while at the same time the same poll gave Starmer net 30% lead over Johnson in its approval question. On the face of it these two statements about this poll simply don’t make sense. The head of a party in the lead on voting would not, surely, have approval numbers that were so far off.

In the UK the poll numbers that generally receives the most coverage are the voting ones with little attention being paid to the leader ratings if indeed the pollster chooses to have them. Opinium, to its great credit, always have their approval numbers of the PM and other leading figures in its weekly poll.

What happens here is that the main data featured by the media are on voting intention with very little attention being played to the approval numbers. This is the wrong way round and that historically leader ratings have been a far better pointer to electoral outcomes than voting figures.

We only have to go back to the 2015 General Election when it will be recalled, the final polls that Ed Miliband Labour Party running Cameron. pretty close. As it turned out Cameron’s Tories won a majority following the five years in coalition.

This was not surprising if people had bothered to focus on the approval numbers and not the voting intention figures.

If there’s disparity between the two go with the leader ratings.

Mike Smithson

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