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At today’s virtual party conference, Keir Starmer stressed Labour had made a clean-break from the era of his predecessor. In Doncaster, Sir Keir stated “this is a party under new leadership” and appealed members who had deserted Labour to take another look at it. The road back for Sir Keir could be a long one after a survey found the appeal of the Labour Party has dropped by 11 points compared to when Mr Corbyn was leader.
A new Ipsos MORI poll has found in November 2019, under the leadership of Mr Corbyn, the likeability of the Labour was 49 percent.
Just 10 months later, and five months since Sir Keir took over the leadership, the figure has fallen to 38 percent.
But, the poll suggests the decline in the likeability of Labour as a whole could be attributed to the increase in support for the actual leader.
The survey of more than 1,000 UK adults found 51 percent of people say they like Sir Keir, compared to Mr Corbyn’s score of just 23 percent in November 2019.
The number is also higher than at the height of ‘Corbynmania’ when the left-wing leader polled at 46 percent.
Sir Keir also ranked highly against his opposite number Boris Johnson in a number of attributes, but was found wanting in others.
The poll found 44 percent thought Sir Keir is a capable leader compared to 37 percent for the Prime Minister, 43 percent thought he had a sound judgement compared to 30 percent for Mr Johnson, and 36 percent believed Sir Keir is more honest than most politicians, with Mr Johnson trailing on 27 percent.
However, Sir Keir came up short in other categories, 68 percent said Mr Johnson is patriotic compared to 43 percent, and on having a lot of personality Mr Johnson ranked at 67 percent compared to 25 percent for Sir Keir.
Gideon Skinner, head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said “Although a bit of the shine is coming off, Keir Starmer is still doing relatively well in public perceptions for a new opposition leader – and he’s liked among older voters as well as the young.
“He’s building an image of a capable leader with sound judgement rather than on his personality, but still has work to do to convert his popularity into support for his party.”
At the party conference this morning, Sir Keir said Labour had to be “brutally honest” on its own failures after suffering its worst election defeat in almost 100 years last December.
He said: “When you lose an election in a democracy, you deserve to.
“You don’t look at the electorate and ask them: ‘What were you thinking?’ You look at yourself and ask: ‘What were we doing?’
“The Labour Party has lost four general elections in a row. We’ve granted the Tories a decade of power.
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“The Tories have had as many election winners in five years as we’ve had in 75.”
In a sign of things to come, the Labour leader said the next election manifesto “will be rooted in Labour values”, but “it won’t sound like anything you’ve heard before”.
The Ipsos MORI poll surveyed 1,013 UK adults on September 11.
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