Gulf between Labour supporters and the public must be tackled
Yesterday’s Ipsos Mori poll should therefore worry anyone who hopes to see a Labour government replace the Tories whenever Theresa May calls an election.
While the Prime Minister, 100 days in post, still has around 50 per cent of the public ‘satisfied’ with the job she is doing, along with 80 per cent of Conservative supporters, the picture is very different for Jeremy Corbyn.
The Labour Party leader, re-elected with an increased mandate, has 54 per cent of Labour supporters ‘satisfied’ with his job as party leader. This compares with 32 per cent who are ‘dissatisfied’ and 14 per cent who ‘don’t know’.
But among the general public, the same number, a hefty 55 per cent, say they are ‘dissatisfied’ with Corbyn, with only 31 per cent happy with his job as Labour leader.
This finding is consistent with all the polling since Corbyn was first elected last year, and reflects, as in this latest poll, the near-perfect symmetry of opposite views about Corbyn in and outside the Labour Party.
At party conference, Corbyn stressed unity and the need to take on the Tories, calling on Labour to take its vision to the country, and be on notice for a snap general election.
Now that the leadership challenge is over, Labour will have to address the massive gulf between party supporters and the wider electorate, who have to be won over if Labour hopes to regain power in Westminster.
But the first step to recovery – and yes, being 18 points behind in the polls, after a big election defeat last year, Labour certainly needs one – is admitting you have a problem.
This means accepting that, where polls have been wrong in the past, they tend to overestimate Labour’s vote share, and that however popular Corbyn might be among Labour supporters, that feeling is not shared by the rest of the country.
Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.