Corbyn favourability plummets off back of election defeat

Matthew SmithLead data journalist
December 17, 2019, 11:50 AM UTC

Seven in ten Britons now have a negative opinion of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in the wake of the party’s worst defeat since the 1930s

With recriminations for Labour’s drubbing in last week’s election still flying thick and fast, a new YouGov favourability survey shows that public opinion of Jeremy Corbyn has slumped since the defeat.

In our final favourability survey before the election one in three Britons (32%) had a favourable view of the Labour leader and 59% an unfavourable view, giving him a net score of -27.

In the wake of Labour’s worst defeat since the 1930s Corbyn’s score has now tumbled to -50, with only 21% now having a positive view of him, compared to 71% with a negative one.

But this is not actually his worst ever showing – in fact, it’s more of a return to form. Outside of the election campaign Corbyn has been on similar numbers for most of 2019, achieving an all-time low of -56 at the end of July.

Unsurprisingly, Corbyn’s reputation has suffered most among Labour voters. While the leader of the opposition had a net score of +39 among those who voted for his party in 2017, it has now fallen to -9.

Jo Swinson’s ratings also take a hit, although much of the movement comes from non-Lib Dem voters

Jo Swinson’s reputation was another casualty of the campaign. The Lib Dem leader has seen her score fall from -31 last week to -44. An article we published ahead of the election highlighted how Swinson seemed to become less popular the more the public got to know her.

While the Lib Dem leader’s reputation has taken a knock among those who backed the party in 2017 – going from +24 to +15 – it is worth noting that the proportion with a positive opinion of her has remained the same at 54%, compared to 53% ahead of the ballot.

Her declining favourability figures among Lib Dem voters instead come from people moving from don’t know (down to 7% from 18%) to holding an unfavourable view (up from 29% to 39%).

Opinion of Swinson has actually fallen more sharply among Conservative and Labour voters. While the Lib Dem leader had a net score of -18 among 2017 Labour voters prior to the election, it has since fallen to -39, and among Tory voters the decline has been from -52 to -65.

Boris Johnson sees no benefit to his ratings for winning the election

While there has clearly been a popularity penalty for losing the election, there appears to be no contrasting dividend for winning it. Boris Johnson’s net favourability remains effectively unchanged, having been on -12 just prior to the vote compared to -11 now, with 41% holding a positive view of the PM and 52% a negative one.

Even among 2017 Conservative voters the figures remain remarkably resilient. Eight in ten (79%) had a favourable view of Johnson and 18% a negative one during the 9th and 10th of December; those figures are now 81% and 17% respectively.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here