Labour begins to poll higher under Jeremy Corbyn than it did under Ed Miliband

Gap with Conservatives narrows to 15 points, according to two new polls 

Benjamin Kentish
Monday 15 May 2017 22:25
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General Election round-up: May 15

The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn is now polling higher than the vote share it received under Ed Miliband.

Two new polls suggest Labour has climbed to 32 per cent – still significantly behind the Conservatives but higher than the 30.4 per cent the party received at the 2015 election.

The polls, conducted by Opinium and ORB, placed the Conservatives on 47 and 46 per cent respectively – giving them a lead of between 14 and 15 points.

The narrowing of the gap will come as a boost to Jeremy Corbyn and his team after a raft of policy announcements that, polls suggest, were popular with the public.

Labour suffered a blow last week when its entire draft manifesto was leaked to the media, but some sources suggested it could have had a positive effect by ensuring significant coverage of the party’s promises.

Pledges to re-nationalise rail and energy companies, invest in new council homes and raise taxes on high earners all proved to be popular with the electorate.

Writing on Polling Report, Anthony J Wells, research director at YouGov, said: “Overall the pattern seems to be a slight narrowing of the Tory lead, but it’s a case of a truly humongous lead becoming merely a towering one: a lead of fourteen to eighteen points will still deliver a very hefty majority.

General Election polls and projections: May 15

“The election also seems to be becoming more and more of a two-horse race. Ukip’s support fell sharply at the start of the campaign and only seems to have gotten worse since then, and while many expected the Liberal Democrats to increase their support during the campaign, it has yet to happen. If anything, Lib Dem support seems to be being further squeezed.”

Despite the small rise in Labour’s support, Mr Corbyn’s own ratings remain low. ORB found that only 26 per cent of the public approve of the Labour leader compared to 49 per cent who disapprove.

Labour itself polls better than its leader: 31 per cent of voters feel positively towards the party while 41 per cent do not.

In contrast, Theresa May is significantly more popular than her party. The Prime Minister has a net approval rating of ten per cent while her party has a negative rating of minus two.

Despite the seemingly positive result for Labour, an ICM poll released placed Labour back on 28 per cent. The poll, commissioned by The Guardian, had the Conservatives on 48 per cent.

"Theresa May can head into [the June 8 election] confident that her poll lead is largely impregnable," said ICM director Martin Boon.

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