Poll shows that trust and competence are key for next Labour leader

Voters want concrete plans, not big visions


A revealing new poll published today by the TUC shows how voters feel about Labour and the Conservatives in the wake of the election.

The poll, conducted straight after the election by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, provides a valuable insight into voting habits, and will be a useful resource for Labour as they choose their new leader.

For example, 13 per cent of voters said that they considered voting Labour before eventually choosing another party. 35 per cent switched to the Conservatives, 23 to Liberal Democrats, 17 to UKIP and 14 to the Greens.

Among this group, the biggest doubts influencing their ultimate lack of faith were spending and the threat of the SNP. Just 8 per cent of this group said their doubts included Labour being ‘hostile to aspiration’.

Just 27 per cent of voters said they thought Labour had a good record in government, and they scored 31 for competence compared to the Tories’ 57.

In contrast, although only 30 per cent said they thought the Conservatives were on the side of ordinary people, compared to 61 per cent for Labour, 54 per cent of people said they thought the Conservatives had a good track record in government.

Voters were concerned that Labour could not deliver on a number of issues including:

  • Economic trust: Labour is 39 points behind on economic trust despite the fact that the poll suggests Labour’s potential growth arguments were more persuasive to voters
  • ‘Concrete plans’: By 77 to 15 voters are looking for ‘concrete plans for sensible change’ rather than ‘a big vision for radical change’ from parties.
  • Big business and wealth: By 42 to 22 voters thought Labour was too soft on big business, rather than too tough. This figure rose to 50 to 15 among those voters who considered Labour.
  • Immigration and identity: By 62 to 20 voters want Labour to be tougher on immigration rather than more positive.

Labour has retained its traditional strongpoint, the NHS, with a 17-point lead over the Conservatives on healthcare.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said today:

“What comes through is that this poll offers no simple set of solutions for a new Labour leader – the attitudes revealed are a fascinating mix that shows voters are on the left on some issues and on the right on others.

“The challenges Labour now faces are very different from those in the past.  Voters back a lot of the trade union agenda on living standards and an economic policy based on investment and growth, rather than the deep cuts we now face. But on welfare and immigration their views are very challenging.”

The poll shows that, moving forward, Labour needs to think about a leader who projects an image of competence and toughness. Despite the unpopularity of Conservative cuts, they have been carried out with a confidence which seems to appeal to voters.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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