As rail workers prepare for Christmas strikes, what do Britons think of trade unionist Mick Lynch?

Joanna MorrisData Journalist
December 20, 2022, 8:58 AM GMT+0

The RMT’s straight-talking general secretary is dividing opinion across Britain

As the public face of this winter’s railway strikes, trade unionist Mick Lynch has been thrust into the national spotlight, bringing with him a blunt interview style and the ability to divide opinion across Britain.

Echoing comments from prime minister Rishi Sunak, unflattering media coverage has seen the general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) compared to the Grinch and accused of waging “class war” over his support of strike action.

But away from press and politicians, what do Britons really make of Mr Lynch?

Half of the public (50%) say they don’t know whether or not they hold a favourable or unfavourable opinion of the 60-year-old. Among those who do, he’s generally dividing opinion.

More than one in five Britons (22%) have a favourable opinion of Mr Lynch, including 10% who think “very” favourably of him.

But they are slightly outweighed by those who have a more negative view – 28% hold an unfavourable opinion of the 60-year-old, including 20% who say they think of him “very” unfavourably.

That gives the trade unionist a net favourability rating — the result of subtracting the percentage of people with an unfavorable view from the percentage with a favorable view — of -6, making him significantly more popular than the government’s transport secretary, Mark Harper (-16).

In contrast, the Conservative Party currently has a net favourability rating of -45 while prime minister Rishi Sunak’s is -24.

Keir Starmer’s net favourability rating now stands at -10 and the Labour Party’s at -3.

Nearly four in ten 65-and-overs think unfavourably of the trade unionist

Among most age groups, opinions are generally divided, though Mr Lynch is thought of slightly more favourably than unfavourably by 18 to 24-year-olds (22% to 17%) and is equally as popular as popular with those aged 25 to 49 (22% to 22%).

Nearly three in ten 50 to 64-year-olds (29%) have a favourable opinion of Mr Lynch, making that age group the most likely to think positively of him.

However, 34% of them think unfavourably of the trade unionist, as do 38% of the 65-and-overs (the age group most likely to have an unfavourable opinion).

Mick Lynch is as popular among Labour voters as he is unpopular with Tories

Just 6% of Conservative voters have a favourable opinion of the RMT spokesman while around half – 48% — hold an unfavourable view.

Among Tory supporters, that means a net favourability rating of –42 for Lynch, compared to +32 for Labour voters.

One in nine (11%) of those who vote Labour think unfavourably of Mr Lynch, but 43% have a favourable opinion, including 22% who say their view is “very” favourable.

And despite being a Brexit supporter, Mick Lynch is far more liked among remainers than among leavers – 36% of those who voted to stay in the EU have a favourable opinion of him, compared to 11% of those who voted to leave.

Picture: Getty

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