Corbyn favourability hits new low as election campaign starts

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
April 26, 2017, 7:00 AM UTC

The Labour leader is seen negatively across every cross-section of society

With the general election campaign kicking off YouGov has released its latest political favourability results. They contain good news for Theresa May and the Conservatives, but are grim reading for just about everyone else.

The leaders

With six weeks to go until polling day, Jeremy Corbyn’s net favourability sits at -42, falling slightly from the last time we asked these questions in February, when he was at -40. Nearly two thirds (64%) of people now have an unfavourable view of the opposition leader compared to just 22% who hold a favourable view.

Labour's leader has a net negative rating among every single demographic group; even among the party's voters at the 2015 election where his rating sits at -10.

Meanwhile, Theresa May's rating has improved from +6 to +10, with 48% of people having a favourable view of the Prime Minister compared to 38% who hold an unfavourable one.

The results show that Lib Dem and UKIP leaders Tim Farron and Paul Nuttall still have a long way to break through to the public, with 40% and 45% of people respectively saying they “don’t know” whether they view them favourably or not (an indicator that most of those people don’t know who they are). Among those who do have a view, they are overwhelmingly negative – only 17% oholding a favourable view of Farron (compared to 43% unfavourable) and barely 6% of people view Nuttall favourably (with 45% seeing him unfavourably).

Appearing in this series for the first time, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon comes in with a net rating of -36, with 23% of Brits having a favourable opinion of the first minister compared to 59% who have a negative opinion. As might be expected, the First Minister’s favourability is much higher in Scotland.

The parties

Perhaps the most striking finding in the results is the ongoing rehabilitation of the Conservative party. Having started out with a net rating of -19 when we first ran the survey in August, the party is now within arm’s reach of a positive net rating, having improved to -2 in the latest set of results. 

Labour have seen no such improvement, however, languishing on -27, around the same level they have been in all previous surveys. There is no good news for any of the other parties either: the Liberal Democrats sit at -25, about the same level they have over the course of this survey series. UKIP has fallen to -43, while the SNP are also down to -39. The Green party, who have only appeared in the two most recent surveys, are down from -2 in February to -11 now.

Photo: PA images

See the full results here