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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13 Responses to “Poll shows that trust and competence are key for next Labour leader”

  1. AlanGiles

    Labour have a few things to be glad about – Ed Balls can’t do any more damage, after nine long days the pious loser Jim Murphy finally stood down, Blair’s son didn’t get a seat, and the self regarding Umunna withdrew from the leadership, as did Mandy’s other pet, Tristram Hunt – but there are many things to be ashamed about: arch hypocrites Keith Vaz and Margaret Hodge still have their seats, as does closet Tory Frank Field. Ageing Gerald Kaufman will still be able to “buy” his next £8000 TV set with our money.

    We saw the return of Dawn Butler in Brent, the woman whose second home was less than thirty minutes from Westminster – as is her first home.

    Labour will never be able to move on, until so many of these terrible expenses-fiddling ghastly old waxworks are consigned to history.

    We do need trust and competence – sadly there are still far too many untrustworthy and incompetent old fiddlers still in the PLP. Apart from Andy Burnham, the next tranche of leaders are a throwback to the Blairite ways

  2. Torybushhug

    I have seen comments on this forum that claim Labour did not overspend and so did not leave us more vulnerable when the sun stopped shining. I wanted to make the point that manufacturing as a proportion of the economy halved under Labour, a far quicker demise than under the Tories. Many causes of this such as bloating the public sector which investors saw as rich and easy pickings.

    To extend this point, people on the left in general are not too interested in enterprise. You get a sense of this by the questions from the Labour benches at PMQs. Most questions are around handouts and spending, not enterprise.

    Labour cannot be trusted with enterprise. They made the employment landscape far too onerous and that’s another reason the private sector started using ZHCs and why employment rose so fast in the profligate public sector where employment tribunals and people throwing sickies was rife.

  3. Selohesra

    At least we wont have to put up with that awful hypocrite Hodge grandstanding on the PAC anymore

  4. stevep

    It demonstrates just how much the Tories control the brainwashing of the public and how little Labour has done to combat it. Labour needs to re-establish it`s own identity as the champion of the working people, which after all, is most of us. Forget the Tory narrative and put it`s own vision of Britain across by bypassing the mainstream media and using the internet to re-politicise and empower a whole new generation of activists and supporters who share our values. The mainstream media is dying and it doesn`t know it yet. We can act quickly and flexibly to get our shared views across to a generation which has embraced the world wide web as it`s main source of news, gossip and comment. The next generation will rely on it completely. We need to seize the moment.

  5. Matthew Blott

    Frank Field might be a social conservative but he’s long been a champion of the poor and has more integrity than Andy Burnham. Your crass remarks say more about you than him.

  6. AlanGiles

    Your so holier than thou Matt. I doubt that Andy Burnham is a pal of Duncan-Smith, or had tete-a-tetes with Mrs Thatcher. Field is, and did. Perhap sthe truth is “crass” if you happen not to agree with it?

  7. Matthew Blott

    What does that have to do with a person’s integrity?

  8. AlanGiles

    Well a (nominally) “Labour” MP supporting the coalition led by the Conservatives taking a post in that coalition doesn’t exactly strike me as being the epitome of “integrity”.

    Your problem Matt, like Field’s, is that you are sympathetic to such a right wing position you might do better to join the Orange Book section of the Lib-Dems or the Conservatives and have done with it.

    What will you do if Liz Kendall doesn’t become leader? – stay for one more heave or just be discontent?.

    I knew back in January 2012 that Miliband couldn’t win,because of a crass interview he gave on The World At One, talking about “industry” which suggested he had skim read “The LadyBird Book Of Making Stuff”. I said what was on my mind and got called a “Tory troll” – those same people were gunning for Ed Miliband 24 hours after the election!.

    Kendal is the comfort zone for disaffected Blairites: just like those Tories who were calling for the return of Mrs Thatcher in 2001, they forget that the last Blairite win was ten years ago, the world has moved on and it isn’t feasible to win in 2020 with the speil of 1997.

  9. Why

    These left right arguments are really boring, they turn off the electorate as well. With Scotland a new uphill battle tell me what will win in Sussex, Hampshire and Lothian as well as the North of England. Labour was always a cooperative enterprise between working and middle class people, what positives will bring them together for the common good.
    Everyone now knows that politics is corrupt down to its expenses, so suggest a way/policy to make it more transparent and accountable but still leave MPs able to do the job.
    We need to get away from this draw a hitler moustache on Cameron thing, Tories are people just like us, they are not inherently evil, to dehumanise anyone leads to extremes that dehumanise you in return, or else you underestimate as we did in this election.
    My belief is we need more funding and need to seek out new sources, crowd funding might be one way. I have said elsewhere how impressed I was with the influence exerted by the Tory paid social media campaign, whilst our tweet storms went in the main to each other and reached no one new. We need to reduce the amount of talking to ourselves. In fact take a risk befriend a Tory and discover what our opponents are thinking!

  10. Tony

    The fact that Labour looked like being wiped out in Scotland made it easier for me to vote Labour. This is because a Labour government that was dependent on the SNP would, for me, have been a better government. It would have decreased the danger of Trident being replaced for a start.
    I have no idea how many others felt the same. I would imagine some did. When I saw Nicola Sturgeon attacking Trident replacement, I thought it was great. A pity that Ed Miliband did not say it.

  11. Mikee Heth

    My take on a way forward for Labour: Key messages and
    needed popular policies:

    1) Defend Labour’s record on financial crisis, prevention
    of financial depression was down to labour action on banks. Labour not
    profligate but did rely on financial sector too much.

    2) Make clear Tory cuts have created stagnation (low pay
    economy) and ultimately worsens public finances (less tax receipts, more
    benefits paid, less income to spend in economy). You cannot cut your way out of
    a deficit.

    3) Policy of national revival/new deal to deal with Tory
    stagnation. Jobs, housing and income growth for working and middle class.
    Public investment is needed to tackle structural budget deficit and will give
    confidence to business to invest.

    4) Labour promise to protect public services but control
    day to day spend. Taxes on the wealthiest have to rise to pay for this. This is
    reasonable and popular.

    5) Support for business, rebalance the economy through a
    well capitalised public investment bank but controls on business and teeth for
    regulators where clearly needed eg finance and energy sector.

    6) Message of support for immigration, people come here
    to contribute and work alongside us. Immigrants help public finance and are
    needed for an ageing population. Investment in services and housing vital in
    areas with high immigration.

    7) Action on inequality is popular eg action on zero hrs
    contracts and rent controls. Reducing/removing student loans is clearly popular
    as is keeping the NHS public.

    Bold Popular Policies to Improve Economy, Public and
    Personal Finances:

    – Minimum wage equal to living wage for a decent life.
    This means more spend for business and reduces benefit payments. Associated
    policy of tax/ business rate reduction for small business.

    – Investment in massive social housing build to house
    working people and address immigration concerns. Reduces housing benefit.

    – Huge investment in green energy/conservation to tackle
    energy bills and climate change.

    – Big investment in HMRC staff to tackle tax evasion and

    These will mean more jobs for working and middle class,
    incomes up, deficit down and a way out of stagnation for all.

    Above all a really positive message of hope and
    alternative is needed. A new deal, a national revival, investment in our

  12. Patrick Nelson

    I don’t know about whether he or Burnham has the higher level of integrity, but I don’t think people should Frank Field a closet Tory either. He very open about the one or two things he has in common with some of the Tories, just as he is about his environmentalist concerns. Someone could just as easily call him closet Green, but as he is quite open about both things neither accusation would make any sense.

  13. Robert

    You have to love it after the mess polls made of the election, what do they do go for another poll.

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