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UK Politics

Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians

Country feels negative and apathetic about most political leaders, as election approaches

Voters find David Cameron frustrating, Ed Miliband confusing, and are disgusted and apathetic about Nick Clegg, according to a recent survey.

It revealed that the UK feels overwhelmingly negative or neutral towards all the major party leaders ahead of May's election.

The most reported positive feeling reported by voters was that leaders were intriguing — with politicians inspiring few other positive emotions like excited and happy.

Image consultancy The Buzzz showed 1,000 UK voters pictures of the four leaders and asked them to describe how they felt using a range of positive and negative words.

Most voters felt frustrated with their leaders — it was 29% of voters' strongest feeling about David Cameron, with 21% feeling that way about Nick Clegg and 21% frustrated with Ed Miliband.


Clegg inspired the least feelings of any of the leaders — 33% of those shown his picture felt nothing at all, nearly twice those that said the same of Nigel Farage. Clegg didn’t scare anyone, and only 1% were shocked by him.

But 21% of those shown were disgusted by him, higher than anyone but Farage, and 24% felt frustrated. Clegg is the least liked of all four leaders, with only 7% of voters feeling anything positive about him at all, most of whom felt intrigued or surprised.

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Farage disgusted 29% of voters, his most common reaction, with 5% feeling scared and 7% feeling frustrated.  But another 19% of voters felt intrigued, far more than any other leader.

clegg.jpgThe Ukip leader received many more positive comments than any of his competitors, with other voters describing themselves as being excited, happy and surprised by him.

Farage scored only -20 ‘net emotional resonance’ — a measure of how many feel negatively about him against those that feel positive — against -32 for Miliband, -42 for Cameron and -51 for Clegg. He also scored highest on ‘absolute emotional resonance’ — how many people feel anything about him at all. He scored 82, against the least emotionally engaging leader Nick Clegg, who scored 72.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage inspired the strongest feelings in voters, though many of them were negative. Source: Getty Images

The consultants said the “Results confirm the apathy and anonymity political leaders engender in the public – the largest proportions said they felt ‘nothing’ or ‘frustrated’, even disgusted”.