Labour pains: Jeremy Corbyn and a tale of two pie charts

Gulf between Labour supporters and the public must be tackled


It is a truth universally acknowledged (except by Donald Trump) that you can only win elections if a majority of people vote for you rather than the other candidate.

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’.

Corbyn ipsos mori Labour

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.

Corbyn ipsos mori public

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 @AdamBarnett13 

See: Theresa May’s Brexit ‘U-turn’ on MPs vote is a hostage situation, not democracy

URGENT APPEAL: We need to raise £10,000 in the next few weeks to keep Left Foot Forward going. Help us hold the right to account and back the crowdfunder for a better media here.