Ed Miliband's leadership rating is the worst it has been since January 2012
On October 2nd, the day after David Cameron's speech to the Conservative Party Conference, the Tories overtook Labour in voting intention for the first time since March 2012. The speech, which proposed a raise in the tax-free allowance, a pledge on 'English votes for English laws' and a raise in the threshold for the 40p tax rate, was well-received and led to a bounce for the Conservatives. Since then, in October Labour's lead over the Conservatives has averaged 2%, compared to an average 4% lead over the course of 2014, and in the two most recent YouGov polls the two main parties have been neck and neck.
This month the spotlight has been on David Cameron far more than Ed Miliband: borrowing was announced as higher this year than the last, UKIP gained its first MP at the Conservatives' expense and the Prime Minister's EU renegotiation project has come up against a series of hurdles. But new YouGov research for the Sunday Times reveals that for Ed Miliband the challenge remains as big as ever.
In the latest YouGov survey for the Sunday Times, Mr Miliband's leadership rating is the lowest (20% think he is doing well, 71% think he is doing badly) since January 2012 (18% well, 71% badly), when there was much speculation as to whether he would survive in the role.
His approval has been on a downward trend since it received a bump after the September 2013 conference; David Cameron's, by contrast, has steadily been on the rise since early 2013.
This weekend Ed Miliband has been blamed for the resignation of Johann Lamont, the Scottish Labour leader who has accused Labour's leadership in London of undermining her and treating Scottish Labour like a "branch office". Mr Miliband has been warned by Henry McLeish, a former Labour first minister of Scotland, that the party is now facing a problem of “historic, epic proportions”. “If there’s any hiccup in the number of MPs we send to Westminster in 2015 this could be catastrophic for Ed Miliband’s effort to become prime minister”, he said.
This article was amended on 27/10/2014