Here's where the public are on Jeremy Corbyn's side - and where they aren't

Polls show some of the Labour leader's policies are more popular than others

Jon Stone
Wednesday 21 October 2015 15:32
The Labour leader has the party's most radical programme in decades
The Labour leader has the party's most radical programme in decades

Jeremy Corbyn was elected as Labour leader by a landslide, but what do the public think of his policies?

The picture is complicated – while commentators have focused on Mr Corbyn’s socialist approach as a barrier to electability, it isn’t necessarily his most left-wing policies that put people off.

YouGov recently did some polling for the Prospect magazine to look at how different policies fared.

A legally enforced living wage is very popular

The public are incredibly relaxed about the state compelling companies to pay a minimum higher wage.

By 80 per cent to 10 per cent they would support Mr Corbyn’s proposals for an £8 minimum wage and a £9.30 in London.

By 2020 John McDonnell has proposed a £10 minimum wage.

Almost nobody is against rent controls

Rent controls – or rent stabilization, as it is sometimes called, are very popular with the public too.

74 per cent support controls on how fast rents can rise, similar to those suggested by Ed Miliband before the 2015 general election.

Nationalising the railways is popular with everyone

Traditional socialist policies are very popular as well. Only 30 per cent of the public are against railway nationalization.

Despite being outside the realms of discussion in the media, the public – of all parties – have repeatedly told pollsters that they support public ownership of transport.

Nationalising gas and electricity companies is very popular too

The public generally believe privatisation of utilities to have been a failure and want to take energy companies back under public ownership.

Large majorities of voters favour electricity and gas nationalisation.

Most people support higher taxes on corporations

Higher taxes on corporations go down well with the public, whose minds are possibly concentrated on recent high-profile cases of tax avoidance.

Jeremy Corbyn has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to fund living grants for students and abolishing tuition fees.

The public want to end the academies and free schools experiments

Despite the near consensus in Westminster over schools policy over the last decade, the public are not on the same page as politicians.

Polling consistently shows strong support for taking academies and free schools back under democratic local controls of councils - a policy of Corbyn's.

People are split on whether there should be a £1m maximum wage

During his leadership campaign Jeremy Corbyn suggested a national maximum wage of £1m a year to help takle inequality and runaway salaries.

This rather radical idea hasn't been implemented anywhere else before. The public are split on it, with strong support and strong opposition. It's not yet clear whether this will make it into Labour's policy portfolio.

Most people want to keep Northern Ireland in the UK

It’s not actually Jeremy Corbyn’s policy to give Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland – he’s said it’s up to the Northern Irish people.

But he has recent reaffirmed his support for the principle. Most of the public disagree, though not overwhelmingly so. A lot of people, in fact, do not give a preference.

Trident nuclear weapons are actually quite popular

While many polls show scrapping Trident is popular in Scotland, where the weapons are actually based, most people want Britain to keep its nuclear weapons.

Other polls have shown some support for scrapping Trident and replacing it was a different system, but in principle the public want to keep nuclear weapons by a fairly sizable margin.

A large majority want to keep the benefit cap in place

Despite the poverty the Tories benefit cap has been shown to cause, it is popular with the public.

By a large majority people support keeping the cap, which is being set at £22,000 a year under plans in the Conservative manifesto.

Ruling out air strikes against Isis is not popular

This is a fast-shifting area of public opinion: the public are against ruling out British warplaces making strikes against Isis.

Jeremy Corbyn says he wants regional powers to play a greater role in solving the conflict in Syria.

Other phrasing of the question however produce different results – people are less supportive of sending British troops to Syria when the term “Isis” is not used.

Significantly increasing Syrian refugees settling in the UK would not go down well

While there have been a significant uptick in support for acting as a safe-haven for Syria refugees, people are still against the principle of people “settling” in the UK.

Jeremy Corbyn has called on the Government to do far more about the crisis. Public opinion polling perhaps shows why David Cameron is wary.

The public are strongly against making defence cuts

Labour’s defence policy is currently up in the air, with reports that the party could be about to commit to a two per cent GDP target for defence spending.

Jeremy Corbyn has previous said he would like, in principle, to see a reduction in armed forces around the world.

It’s not clear whether he would translate this into a unilateral policy of cutting defence, but if he did, it wouldn’t be popular.

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