May vs. Corbyn: Ipsos, September 2016

May vs. Corbyn: Ipsos, September 2016


We’re back!  Sorry it’s taken us a while to get back on track, but we’ve had some technical issues over the last week or so; apologies to those who asked us where we’d gone!

Let’s have another look at Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. 

Unlike most of our leader showdowns, though, we’re not going to comb through the PM’s and Labour leader’s net favourability ratings by voting group.  Because Ipsos have released a poll recently, and it contains a data set we always find interesting.  The guys at Ipsos gave a list of descriptive words and phrases – some nice, some not so – and asked respondents to say how much they identified each descriptor with each politician.  The descriptors were:

1.       Patriotic

2.       Capable leader

3.       Understands the problems facing Britain

4.       Has a clear vision for Britain

5.       Good in a crisis

6.       More honest than most politicians

7.       Out of touch with ordinary people

8.       Has got a lot of personality

9.       Has got more style than substance

10.   Has got sound judgement

Here are our key takeaways:

1.       Theresa May wins in most of the descriptions.  Apart from honesty, where Corbyn has an 8-point lead and ‘style over substance’, where Corbyn has a 1-point lead (as in, more substance than style), the Prime Minister outranks the Leader of the Opposition in all other description categories.  Her highest-scoring leads were in the ‘capable leader’ and ‘good in a crisis’ categories, where she notched up very high leads of 44-points (68% to Corbyn’s 24%) and 34-points (52% vs 18%), respectively.

2.       Jeremy Corbyn is seen as more honest than Theresa May.  52% of all the respondents said the Labour leader is more honest than most politicians, with the Prime Minister trailing on 44%.  This, though, is perhaps not quite as large a lead as Corbyn might have hoped.  Given the emphasis he has put on his being a ‘straight-talking, honest’ anti-politician, an 8-point lead isn’t huge.  The arithmetic mean of May’s leads in these description categories, for example, is 21.25.  It should be worrying that the Labour leader’s largest lead is 38% of Theresa May’s average lead.

3.       Even among those who will vote for Labour, Theresa May is seen as a more capable leader.  The PM is seen as 17-points more patriotic (75% vs. 58%) and 12-points more capable (58% to Corbyn’s 46%).  The PM is also seen as being better in a crisis (42% vs. 36%). 

4.       Corbyn is seen as more out of touch than May.  Although the Prime Minister’s lead here is tiny – only 1 point, in fact – its significance is that it flies in the face of how the Labour leader is commonly described by those who support him.  Indeed, C2DE (working class, broadly speaking) voters give the Prime Minister a larger lead in this category: 46% think she is out of touch while 50% think Jeremy Corbyn is out of touch.

5.       Both politicians are seen as being more ‘substance over style’.  While Jeremy Corbyn wins in this category by 1-point, the more interesting conclusion is how substantive both politicians are seen.  In the ‘more style than substance’ category, both politicians notch up very low ratings: 24% for Corbyn and 25% for May.

Those are our top 5 conclusions from this leader match-up, but please do take a look at the raw data if you have time.  It’s a huge poll, and we might return to it to prise out some other interesting nuggets.  You can find it here.

Voter Migrations Since the Election

Voter Migrations Since the Election

May beats Corbyn among 2015 Labour voters

May beats Corbyn among 2015 Labour voters