Keir Starmer reverses Jeremy Corbyn’s negative popularity ratings in first major poll since becoming Labour leader

New Labour leader enjoys positive satisfaction ratings, but many voters yet to make up their minds on him

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Saturday 11 April 2020 14:04
Comments
Keir Starmer addresses Labour leadership win

Keir Starmer has reversed the negative ratings of his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn in the first major survey of his public popularity since he became Labour leader last weekend.

But there was little sign in the BMG survey for The Independent of Sir Keir making immediate inroads into Boris Johnson’s electoral lead, with the Tories maintaining the overwhelming 17-point advantage which they enjoyed in the company’s final poll of the Corbyn era.

And the poll indicated that Sir Keir has work to do to make an impression on the public, with more than half – 59 per cent – saying they had so far formed no opinion on his performance.

By the final month of his four and a half years at Labour’s helm, two-time election loser Mr Corbyn had plumbed previously uncharted depths in the polls, with 77 per cent of voters who expressed an opinion telling BMG in March that they were dissatisfied with his performance against just 23 per cent who were satisfied – an overall rating of minus-54.

Sir Keir’s ratings were almost exactly the opposite in the BMG poll conducted in the days after he was elected leader on 4 April.

Of those expressing a view, some 75 per cent said they were satisfied with him with 25 per cent dissatisfied – an overall margin of plus-50.

When “don’t knows” and “no opinions” are taken into account, however, the picture was less rosy for the new Labour leader, with the 31 per cent who were satisfied easily outnumbering the 10 per cent dissatisfied, but both tallies far overshadowed by the 59 per cent who have not made their minds up.

The poll was taken in the immediate aftermath of a shadow cabinet reshuffle in which some of the totemic left-wing figures of the Corbyn team like John McDonnell and Diane Abbott were replaced by faces from the party’s centrist wing like David Lammy, Rachel Reeves and Ian Murray.

On voting intention, Mr Johnson’s Tories remained comfortably in the lead with 46 per cent (up one point since March) against Labour’s 29 per cent (up one), when don’t knows are excluded. Liberal Democrats were down a point on 10 per cent with Greens on 6 and the Brexit Party on 2.

Labour voters showed strong approval of Sir Keir’s leadership, with 49 per cent satisfied, against just 7 per cent who were not. But he also enjoyed a positive satisfaction rating among Tory and Lib Dem voters.

Keir Starmer defeated Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey in the race for the Labour leadership

And crucially, his arrival appeared to be welcomed by the key sector of voters who did not vote in the 2019 election – believed to include many traditional Labour supporters turned off by Mr Corbyn. Some 22 per cent of non-voters voiced satisfaction at Sir Keir’s leadership, against 9 per cent who were dissatisfied.

Strongest support for the new Labour leader was found in his native London (33 per cent satisfied against 11 per cent dissatisfied) and the West Midlands (39-11). But he appeared to have made less of a breakthrough in the northeast, where the margin of satisfaction was just 21-14, and Scotland (26-7).

He enjoyed his strongest approval among the 18- to 24-year-old age group (36 per cent satisfied, 11 per cent dissatisfied). And his satisfaction rating was higher among the middle and upper class ABC1 social categories (35 per cent) and university graduates (37 per cent) than the working and lower middle class C2DE group (25 per cent) and those with no educational qualifications (20 per cent).

BMG questioned 1,541 British adults between 7 and 9 April

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in