Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA
Jeremy Corbyn is still viewed positively by Labour
But his approval rating has declined by a net margin
41% blame the Labour leader for the historic defeat in
Nearly two-thirds of members think it’s unlikely that
Corbyn will ever be PM
LONDON — Jeremy Corbyn’s approval among Labour Party members has
declined significantly over the past 12 months, according to new
polling by Election Data.
Corbyn is still viewed positively by party members but his net
approval has dropped by 39% since February 2016. His net score
among members was +55% that month — but was just +17% in February
The research was conducted by Ian Warren and collected responses
from 1,096 current Labour members between 27th February and March
3. You can see the results of Warren’s research in full here.
Corbyn has won two Labour leadership contests — in 2015 and 2016
— both by commanding majorities.
However, his decline in popularity among the Labour membership
comes as the party continues to trail the Conservatives by
double-digit margins in the polls and following a disastrous
defeat in the Copeland by-election.
Shadow Brexit Secretary Kier Starmer said last week that Labour had “no prospect”
of winning the next general election if its performance in the
polls doesn’t improve. A senior source close to Corbyn agreed.
The members were split down the middle over how well they thought
Corbyn was performing as Labour leader.
Just over half (51%) said that the veteran socialist was
performing ‘well’, compared to just less than half (47%) who said
he was performing ‘badly.’
Labour members also judged Corbyn to be the single biggest factor
in the party’s defeat in the recent by-election in Copeland.
Labour had previously controlled the west Cumbrian seat for over
80 years but surrendered it to the Tories last month. A major reason why so many 2015 Labour voters
failed to turn out in 2017 was Corbyn’s well-documented
opposition to the nuclear industry. The Sellafield nuclear power
station provides jobs to over 10,000 local people.
Interestingly, the research revealed that although the majority
of Labour members think it’s unlikely that Corbyn will ever be
prime minister, he is still seen as the most ‘credible’ future PM
when compared to other likely leadership candidates in the party.
As the tables below illustrate, 60% of respondents said it’s
unlikely that Corbyn will ever become prime minister, but the
Islington North MP is regarded as the most credible option
currently in the parliamentary Labour Party.
Furthermore, a comfortable majority of members (47 > 35%) told
Warren that Labour winning the next election would be unlikely
even if Corbyn is replaced as leader before 2020.
When members were asked who they’d vote for in a leadership
contest if Corbyn did stand down, the most popular names were his
shadow chancellor and close ally John McDonnell, and former
cabinet minister Yvette Cooper.
McDonnell told the BBC on Sunday that he will “not stand for the
Labour leadership ever again. Full stop.”
Chuka Umunna, Keir Starmer, and Clive Lewis made up the five most
popular choices. Salford MP Rebecca Long-Bailey, who Corbyn’s
circle regards a potential successor, had the support of just 10%
The lack of popular alternatives also suggests that there is no
real appetite among Labour members for yet another leadership
The majority of members said that Corbyn had handled Labour’s
approach to Brexit badly (53%). This is a bad sign for the Labour
leader, given that Brexit was seen as the joint-most important
issue currently facing Britain (66%).
Over 5,000 members quit Labour in the space of a week following
Corbyn’s decision to impose a three-line-whip on MPs instructing
them to vote in favour of Theresa May triggering Article 50,
Politics Home reported.