Poll finds Keir Starmer most popular opposition leader since Tony Blair

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer outside his home in north London; Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer outside his home in north London; Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images - Credit: Archant

New polling has found that Sir Keir Starmer is one of the most popular opposition leaders since Tony Blair before his landslide Labour victory.

The Labour leader has only been in the job two months but is already making a positive headway with voters, the data from IPSOS Mori found.

In a survey of 1,059 adults across Britain between June 5 and June 10, 51% of Britons said they were satisfied with Starmer compared with 20% who were not, giving the leader a net score of +31.

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That makes him more popular than his predecessors Jeremy Corbyn (44%), Ed Miliband (41%). He is also more liked than Tony Blair, in terms of net popularity (the number of satisfied voters minus those unsatisfied), who received a score of +30 in March 1995 and +31 in December 1994.

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It is also miles ahead of former Tory prime minister David Cameron, before he formed a coalition government. His net tally in April 2009 was +23. Cameron did, however, rank well among voters, gathering a 52% satisfaction rating at the time.

Sir Keir's popularity is also helping to close the voter intention gap. The Tories sit on a 43 per cent (down nine points since March) approval rating, while Labour are on 38 (up eight) and the Liberal Democrats are on 10 (up one).

Commenting on the findings, Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: 'Labour will of course be encouraged that Keir Starmer is achieving comparable leader satisfaction ratings to Tony Blair and David Cameron when they led the opposition, as both went on to become General Election winners.

'However this is still very early days – it's not unusual to see a honeymoon period for a new leader.'

Despite the rosy figures, Skinner warned the Labour leader still had stiff competition ahead: 'Boris Johnson is still more popular than John Major and Gordon Brown were when Blair and Cameron achieved their best scores. With concerns about the economy and the coronavirus high, how the two leaders handle these over the next few months will be crucial.'

In fact, Johnson's net rating of -1 is much better than John Major (-56) and Gordon Brown (-28) and he is still seen as the most trusted figure for top office (43%, while Starmer received 38%).

However, a record number of people, 49%, are dissatisfied with his performance, compared to 48% who approve of it.

In other developments, around 40% think the government handled the coronavirus outbreak well while 44% said it was dealt with poorly and around 60% of respondents say chancellor Rishi Sunak has managed the crisis competently compared with the prime minister (45%).

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