Cameron’s popularity slips as Brown’s rises

Gordon Brown’s popularity has risen 6 points to 35 per cent in the last 18 months, with David Cameron's popularity down 9 points to 45 per cent.

After Labour’s landslide victory in 1997, the Conservative Party struggled to find a smooth and marketable leader whom the public would find attractive. William Hague’s baby face and baldness did him no favours with the press, nor did his experiments with a baseball cap.

IDS is barely remembered and Michael Howard often needed to justify why he was running for Prime Minister and not spending more time with his grandchildren.

When David Cameron was chosen party leader in 2005, the Conservatives now had an electoral asset. He looked more like Tony Blair and his popularity ratings were higher than those of his party.

It now seems however that David Cameron’s shine is rubbing off. An Ipsos Mori poll that was mentioned by UK Polling Report but barely noticed by the mainstream press shows that:

• David Cameron’s popularity has dropped 9 points to 45% since the last time this question was asked back in the summer of 2008.

Cameron’s popularity, at that time, was 54% – 12 points higher than that of his party.

• Gordon Brown’s popularity has risen 6 points to 35% in the last 18 months.

It is still 3 points lower than Labour at 38% but a solid improvement nonetheless.

Although there is no clear cut explanation for this trend, some polls suggest that whilst Cameron does well on some personality tests, he falls down on poll questions which ask whether the Leader of the Opposition is ‘all spin not substance’.

This was picked up both by a YouGov poll in September 2009 and a Guardian ICM poll in November 2009.

This shouldn’t be too surprising. Conservative lightness on policy is something regularly commented on – even by the Tory faithful; this week it was the turn of James Forsyth, deputy editor (online) of the Spectator.

Overall, it raises the question of whether the constituents of Bethnal Green and Bow are the voice of the future when recently at Aldgate East Tube Station they suggested to Cameron that he might care to go back to Eton.

Our guest writer is Felix Grenfell Bozek, an intern at the Fabian Society

21 Responses to “Cameron’s popularity slips as Brown’s rises”

  1. Jamie Cater

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s popularity slips as Brown’s rises: //is.gd/85FIM

  2. Ben Cooper

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s popularity slips as Brown’s rises: //is.gd/85FIM

  3. NOTORYUS

    RT @BenCooper86: Cameron’s popularity slips as Brown’s rises: //is.gd/85FIM > RIP Cameron!

  4. Sunder Katwala

    One is certainly rather disappointed to see such abusive and offensive graffiti being levelled at Mr Cameron by frustrated voters in Aldgate East. One would not want to condone that in any way. Perhaps the author might think it an effective piece of political communication in getting across the point they were trying to make but I can see why the Conservative Party might be disappointed at that.

    On a point of information, I wonder if Left Foot Forward could investigate as to whether the Conservative Party might expect to receive any rebate on the advertising costs if and when any of their posters have been vandalised in this and other ways, which I imagine Lord Ashcroft might feel is undermining the intended message. I wonder if the party have made any claims to date, or might have any estimate of how many posters and how much money is involved?

    Would be interested if LFF were able to report any information on that, perhaps along with some of the other more egregious examples.

  5. Swagata

    Is this not perpetuating personality politics? Also, no mention of Nick Clegg. Is he not popular at all, do the pollsters not ask about him or are you deliberately excluding him?

    Also, I know it’s fun to mock the poster about Cameron and Eton but the Tory leader had little choice in his school. What if residents of Chelsea put a message telling to “fuck off back to Kirkaldy”, or is it fair game to mock Darling for attending Scotland’s oldest boarding school? Personally I’d avoid this sort of prejudice on a blog that tries to put forward a progressive agenda…

    …[Removed by the Editor]

  6. Will Straw

    Swagata – You make some perfectly fair points in the first two paras but the 3rd para was in breach of our Comments policy.

  7. Swagata

    No probs Will. I suppose it was too personal. I meant a general observation that if the blog post concludes by saying “the voice of the future” is having a go at someone for their elite education then perhaps the author had better be on safe ground?

    As for Clegg, I’ve done some digging and based on the UK Polling report linked I’ve seen the popularity ratings there. Both Cameron and Clegg score plus 15% approval ratings with Gordon Brown on minus 38% (//ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/leaders/brown) although the latest survey on the site seems to be two months old. Given the increasing liklihood that Cameron’s falling popularity could bring a hung parliament then there’s all the more reason to include Clegg.

  8. Johanna Baxter

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s popularity slips as Brown’s rises: //is.gd/85FIM

  9. Quietzapple

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s popularity slips as Brown’s rises: //is.gd/85FIM

  10. Quietzapple

    Not Flash, Gordon! Honesty is the best policy: RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s popularity slips as Brown’s rises: //is.gd/85FIM

  11. Felix Grenfell Bozek

    Rather than condoning the vandalism of Conservative posters, the important question I feel is whether or not it is a coincidence that this piece of obscene graffiti was written at a time when the popularity of Cameron and the Conservatives is slipping? Is this evidence supporting recent poll findings? I suppose for a definite answer we would have to ask the writer.

    On the issue of does this post perpetuate personality politics, I would suggest that in drawing attention to some polling data that indicates that the public feel Cameron is more personality than politics, the post in fact decries the perpetuation of personality politics.

  12. Swagata

    How can the actions of a grafitti artist define the political mood? It makes for a good laugh but it’s got little to do with the polls. How come you excluded Nick Clegg, was that deliberate or an oversight?

  13. Liberal Conspiracy » Political blogs and their influence

    […] are just the facts. As Left Foot Forward points out, Cameron’s popularity is falling while Brown’s is […]

  14. NOTORYUS

    Cameron’s popularity slips as Brown’s rises: //is.gd/85FIM > Its time to lay Cameron to rest. #ToryRIP

  15. Leroy Miller

    RT @N0TORYUS: Cameron’s popularity slips as Brown’s rises: //is.gd/85FIM > Its time to lay Cameron to rest. #ToryRIP

  16. Alfred Camp

    RT @N0TORYUS: Cameron’s popularity slips as Brown’s rises: //is.gd/85FIM > Its time to lay Cameron to rest. #ToryRIP

  17. Rob

    Please for the love all thats decent stop harping on about the guys school! What does it matter where he was schooled and why is it cool to discriminate in verbally aggressive terms someone who went to an elite school. I went to a crap state comp and my life nearly fell apart there, my step brother goes to a high ranking private secondary school. Is it ok to rip on him for that? Should he be discriminated in the job market for it? Would i make a better politician than him?

  18. Felix Grenfell Bozek

    My point was not about his schooling but his popularity. I concede that the point of the last paragraph would have been more clear had it read…

    ‘Overall, it raises the question of whether an expression of dissatisfaction in Aldgate East – a suggestion that Cameron might care to go back to Eton – is one person’s protest or reflects a growing trend of Cameron’s declining popularity.’

  19. How to win back voters Labour's lost | Left Foot Forward

    […] 37% said Labour, 31% Conservative and 18% Liberal Democrat – and yesterday, Left Foot Forward reported the IPSOS Mori findings for The Observer that showed Cameron’s popularity had slipped 9 […]

  20. rparker

    brown stuff heats up pure compost and hot air as usual from the party of aprehension, you.ll never self brown no matter what you wrap him in and youve forgotten the army vote if you want to know what hate for labour is like just ask

  21. Brushed off: Cameron axed from Tory posters - but who'll replace him... Osborne?!? | Left Foot Forward

    […] also comes in the wake of a slump in Cameron’s popularity, reported by Left Foot Forward earlier this week. His personal rating fell 9 points to 45% in the 18 months […]

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