With the House rising next week for Christmas, and following his underwhelming performance at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Ed Miliband has much to think about as he heads home for recess.
In the midst of the economic crisis, and with the coalition tearing itself apart over Europe, Labour’s poll lead has vanished, with Miliband’s personal poll ratings, amongst all voters and Labour ones, whether it be a snapshot, over the medium term, or the long term picture since his election last year, particularly concerning.
The latest headline figures from YouGov’s daily tracker poll for The Sun give the Conservatives a two-point lead, 40%-38%; bad enough, but when delved into the full data (pdf) looks even grimmer for the Labour leader. As Chart 1 shows, the proportion of voters that find him decisive (8%), strong (7%), a natural leader (4%) or good in a crisis (5%) are not pretty, with the perceptions of Labour voters scarcely better.
And on the point about Labour supporters’ views of Miliband, the latest LabourList readers’ survey (see Chart 2) merely deepens the gloom, as Mark Ferguson notes:
The percentage of respondents rating Miliband as Good or Excellent has fallen to just 26% down from 40% last month and a high of 59% in the wake of the phone hacking scandal in July. 41% think that Miliband’s performance has been Poor or Very Poor, with 33% considering his performance to be average.
Onto the longer term trends, and, as Graph 1 (from last night’s Newsnight) shows, though his satisfaction rating may be down only slightly, the percentage of voters dissatisfied with him has shot up – those who were initially don’t knows, now they do know, are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the Labour leader’s performance.
The historical comparison isn’t great either; as Graph 2 shows, only Michael Howard, William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith (none of whom made it to Number 10) have lower net satisfaction ratings after the first 14 months as Leader of the Opposition, with David Cameron’s net figure much lower and Tony Blair, unsurprisingly, enjoying a healthy net satisfaction rating throughout.
Much to think about in the New Year, then, with the condemnation and ridicule of this morning’s blogs and papers, from across the political spectrum, ringing in his ears; as Ferguson said, it’s time to ditch the jokes, show he’s serious, show he gets it – the big positive from the polls is that voters do believe him to be in touch with the concerns of ordinary people – lead from the front and reverse the slump.
• Miliband fails to nail Cameron on bankers, greed and regulation – Shamik Das, November 2nd 2011
• Labour and the Conservatives need to reach out to the ordinary voter – David Skelton, October 19th 2011
• As energy company buckles, Miliband needs to pick more battles – Alex Hern, October 12th 2011
• Look Left – Miliband shuffles the shadows as Clarke/May feud drags on – Shamik Das, October 7th 2011
• Cameron the global statesman contrasts with Miliband’s wholly domestic speech – Shamik Das, October 5th 2011