BMG regularly tracks leader public satisfaction scores for May & Corbyn, and since the EU Referendum there has been a major transition in the way that the public perceives the leaders of Britain’s two main parties.
This time last year Theresa May was riding-high, with satisfaction scores well into the net-positive. By contrast, in spring 2017 Jeremy Corbyn was at the nadir of his public approval. We all know what happened next, but the speed and scale of the transition in peoples’ views was historic. May’s public approval collapsed from a positive and respectable score, to a strongly negative one in just 6-weeks, while Corbyn’s approval rose substantially, by more than 36 net points.
However, since December the Prime Minister has made a small but noteworthy recovery.
Since December, the results (above) show that May has steadily closed her popularity gap and, although she is still recording net negative scores, is now significantly above Corbyn.
Corbyn on the other hand, had remained broadly at the same level since September, but in recent months has seen a small drop in scores to -17 and -16 for March and April respectively; losing all the gains made over the last year.
Analysis of BMG data earlier this year suggested that Labour’s ‘constructive ambiguity’ on the issue of Brexit may have played a factor for a time. But in recent months Corbyn’s popularity among Remain voters has waned, while May has improved in popularity among those who voted to Leave.
Finally, while May’s popularity continues to rise, the results for BMG’s preferred Prime Minister tracking show an increasing gap between the two leaders. When asked “If you had to choose between the two, who would you prefer to see as the next Prime Minister?” just 25% of Brits say that they would prefer Corbyn, almost 10% less than July last year, the height of his popularity.
However, whilst May has recovered her position to preferred PM in recent months, readers should be aware that both leaders remain relatively unpopular. Neither leader remains the most popular option.
Methodology, fieldwork dates, and a full breakdown of these results can be found here.
For a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, or any other results from our polling series, please get in touch by email or phone.
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Dr. Michael Turner – Research Director & Head of Polling – BMG Research