Despite a 6-point lead over the Conservatives in voting intention polls, 54% of voters doubt Labour will win in 2015
Ed Miliband has faced new criticism from within the Labour ranks this week, including comments by Damian McBride, Gordon Brown’s former spin doctor, that the advisors in Mr Miliband’s inner circle are “not fighters”.
In response to his critics, Ed Miliband said his team would “defy the odds” in the general election next May, but voters aren’t so sure. According to a new YouGov poll for the Sunday Times, only 31% of the public think the next election will result in the formation of a Labour government, even as 38% say they intend to vote Labour, to 32% for the Conservatives.
Labour voters are most optimistic, with 63% predicting a Labour win, but a quarter (26%) of Labour supporters doubt Mr Miliband will lead the party to victory.
Looking the part
Aside from concerns about his advisers, some have also criticised the Labour leader for simply not looking like a future Prime Minister.
Among ordinary voters only 14% were ready to say that Ed Miliband “looks and sounds like a possible Prime Minister”, whether they agree with his policies or not. This includes only 28% of Labour voters – the majority (56%) of Labour voters say that while they agree with his policies, Mr Miliband does not give the impression of being a PM in waiting. These numbers are virtually unchanged from when YouGov last asked the question in July 2012.
By contrast, 56% of voters say David Cameron looks and sounds like a Prime Minister, including 72% of Conservatives and even 46% of Labour voters.
Voters’ concerns about Mr Miliband go beyond his image, as the poll also finds that six in ten voters do not think he is up to the job of being Prime Minister.
Still, the Labour's campaign team has indicated an awareness that the way voters see him may present problems come election day. Earlier this year, it was announced that the Labour party would be hiring David Axelrod, a political messaging guru renowned for his work on Barack Obama’s two successful presidential campaigns, to advise Mr Miliband on how to improve his image.