Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Will Being Labour Be Enough?

Whilst latest polls make encouraging news for Labour - last week gave them their biggest lead over the Tories since 2007 - things aren't quite as rosy for leader, Ed Miliband.

The consensus, especially amongst Labour lefties (such as myself), is that he's doing a pretty good job, putting David Cameron on the back foot on a number of issues.

Those calling for a break from the New Labour/Blairite era have certainly been rewarded.

But, whilst this warms the hearts of left wingers, the public haven't responded in kind. His personal ratings trail well behind those of his party's.

On the question on how he's performing, only 22% think he's doing well, compared to 66% who think he's doing badly.

David Cameron's are hardly wonderful: 34% against 60%, but still a significant 18 points better than Miliband's.

In terms of who'd make the best Prime Minister, Cameron outscores Miliband by 11 points: 30% versus 19%.

Another figure that should concern is that regarding economic competence.

A Guardian/ICM poll published just before last month's budget showed 42% of the public trusted Cameron and George Osborne to manage the economy, whereas only 25% said the same for Miliband and Ed Balls.

I'm sure those figures are likely to have changed a bit after the government's awful handling of the budget, still making headlines one month after it was delivered.

Not for the first time, it'll be the state of the economy where the next election is ultimately going to be won and lost. The public need to know that they can place their faith in Labour's big two.

Interestingly, on its piece about the French presidential election, The Economist reveals that the favourite, Socialist Francois Hollande, fares worse than Nicolas Sarkozy on a number of traits associated with leadership:

"[Sarkozy] scores better for having “the authority of a head of state” (54%, next to 23% for Mr Hollande), for being “capable of taking difficult decisions” (49 to 23%) and for being “capable of taking the right decisions faced with the current economic and financial crisis” (41 to 27%)."

And yet Hollande is expected to win convincingly in the second round of voting in two weeks time.

Maybe Ed shouldn't worry too much about his approval ratings, then.

This comment piece was first published by Speaker's Chair on Tuesday 24 April 2012

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