Jeremy Corbyn won victory over Boris Johnson among undecided voters in first election debate, poll shows

Voters who have not yet decided which way to vote on 12 December thought the Labour leader performed best in TV showdown

Johnson v Corbyn: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn share awkward handshake

Undecided voters gave Jeremy Corbyn a 59-41 per cent lead over Boris Johnson as best performer in last night’s ITV general election leaders’ debate, according to details of YouGov polling.

The two leaders were tied almost neck-and-neck among viewers overall in the survey, with Mr Johnson edging the contest by 51-49 per cent.

But Labour will be heartened by the fact that their leader appears to have gone down better with the potentially crucial swing voters who could decide the outcome of the 12 December general election. One party source said the figures were "encouraging".

YouGov divided voters between those who have “definitely decided” which way they will cast their ballot and those who will “wait until closer to the time”.

Although almost four times as many said they had made up their minds, it is the smaller group of undecideds – making up around 20 per cent of the electorate – who the parties must win over to stand a chance of improving their position on Election Day.

Asked who performed best in Tuesday’s debate, they split 59-41 in favour of Mr Corbyn, when ‘don’t knows’ were removed. And when asked how the two leaders had performed individually in the debate, some 71 percent of the undecideds said the Labour leader had done well and 29 per cent badly, compared to a much closer 51 per cent well and 49 per cent badly for the prime minister.

Mr Corbyn was seen as more trustworthy, more likeable and more in touch with ordinary people by undecided voters than by the electorate as a whole, and also closed Mr Johnson’s advantage on looking prime ministerial from 27 points overall to 21 points among swing voters.

The Labour leader’s narrow 49-44 advantage over Mr Johnson on the NHS among voters overall swelled to an overwhelming 66-25 among undecided voters, while he cut the PM’s lead on Brexit and government spending.

Among a third, very small, group of voters who said they were not sure whether or not they had decided who to support, Mr Corbyn led by a dominant 74-26 over Mr Johnson.

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