New poll shows Keir Starmer is viewed as clean break from Jeremy Corbyn
PUBLISHED: 16:26 14 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:24 14 July 2020
New polling has shown the Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership is viewed by many as a fresh start for the Labour Party, whose image over the last six years has been closely tied to his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.
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A poll on Sir Keir’s first 100 days as Labour leader shows that one third (33%) of the public rate him on par with former prime minister Tony Blair while only 8% compare him with Corbyn.
At the same time, 26% view him differently to Blair while 61% say his leadership does not in any way resemble his predecessor’s, which led the party to its worst election defeat in decades in December 2019.
Sir Keir’s is seen as different from Gordon Brown and Ed Milliband but could be compared with former Tory prime ministers David Cameron and Theresa May.
Some 40% of voters have not made up their mind.
YouGov’s research manager Chris Curtis said: “The British people are still getting to know Keir Starmer, but there have been a few things that have stood out to them so far.
“Despite having to run to the left in the leadership election, the public think he is now moving the party to the right and is a very different leader to Jeremy Corbyn.”
In fact, a third (35%) of the general public thinking Sir Keir has already moved the Labour Party more towards the political right, with only 3% saying he has shifted it towards the left.
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The first four months of the Labour leader’s tenure has been overshadowed by the coronavirus and fixing the party’s public image.
He has even overtaken Boris Johnson as the preferred prime minister and is even seen by more than a quarter of Tory voters (39%) as competent, compared to 20% who say he is incompetent.
One shadow ministers told Sky News that, compared with the position in December, “where we are today with Keir is beyond most of our wildest dreams” despite inheriting “huge problems”.
The source said Scottish parliament elections next spring, where Labour is expected to lose more ground, will be Sir Keir’s first real test.
“The Scottish Labour Party appears to have no plan at all, then there’s the unions where we now have three different general secretary elections coming up and a Labour brand which is heavily tarnished in the electorate’s eyes, plus a party machine in very poor condition,” the source said.
But for now, party figures remained pleased with the results. Blair’s former adviser John McTernan called the findings “brilliant news”.
He said: “I think there are similarities [with Blair]... but the real thing I think voters see in Starmer is a man who could be prime minister. They never thought that for a second about Jeremy Corbyn, they never thought that for a second about Ed Miliband.
“What they’re seeing is… there’s a character there, there’s authority there, there’s credibility and now they’re starting to listen to him.”
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