Belfast Telegraph

Bill White: If another election is around the corner Jeremy Corbyn needs to up his game

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. (PA)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. (PA)

By Bill White

LucidTalk Polling carried out extensive pre Northern Ireland Westminster election polling and we’re fairly pleased with the results especially our Seat Predictor which got the result fairly close – although the model overestimated the SDLP’s chances in a couple of seats, for example Foyle.

However, in the latter case you can’t ask polls to forecast down to 169 votes (Sinn Fein’s majority in Foyle). But we’ll come back to our NI polling in another article.

What about the GB polls? Well YouGov (along with Survation) were the top UK polling company as far as the GB results were concerned. YouGov practically predicted what turned out to be the final result on the front page of The Times on May 31.

Plus, you may have read our previous article about the two ‘Golden Rule’ poll questions to follow in UK elections i.e. (a) best PM, (b) Which party would be best on the economy, and the fact that that no party leader (or party) had ever won an election with negative scores on both these questions.

So what about these two ‘Golden Rule’ poll questions with this election – well they were correct again, as Jeremy Corbyn was always behind as ‘Best PM’, and Labour were behind the Conservatives on the economy – and Corbyn and Labour, although having a good election, didn’t win!

Theresa May also didn’t actually win, losing her overall majority, but she wasn’t scoring strongly on the two ‘Golden Rule’ questions – so the signs were there. In terms of those signs, here is what we said in that article about these two ‘Golden Rule’ questions on May 30: "You will see that Theresa May and the Conservatives are currently comfortably ahead with both questions. However, it’s interesting to note that there is a relatively high number of 'Don't Knows' with both questions. P

"Plus, Theresa May and the Conservatives are comfortably ahead on both the ‘golden rule’ poll questions, but with neither question do they score over 50%! That maybe should be a bit concerning for the Conservatives, perhaps showing that they are probably on their way to a win, but perhaps not with the majority that they were hoping for."

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Do you see the signs there? – and this was eight days before the election. This is not me being a smart-alec it’s just putting a sensible analysis on the poll data – that anyone can and would do.

One things for sure – if we are going to have another election in the next 6-12 months then Jeremy Corbyn and Labour need to get at least one of those golden rule questions going for them, if they are to have any hope of winning.

This would probably be ‘Best PM’ as it’s hard to see Labour scoring more than the Conservatives on the economy. So it’s interesting to see polling company YouGovs latest GB poll (post-election) on ‘Best PM’, showing Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May tied on 39% each. Keep watching these two golden rule questions as believe me, if Corbyn starts regularly scoring more than May with either of these two poll questions, she won’t last long as PM. That’s the power of polling and interestingly, the current polling says that the only Conservative who can now beat Corbyn on the ‘Best PM’ question is Boris Johnson.

Bill White, is Managing Director of Belfast based LucidTalk Polling and Market Research. You can follow LucidTalk on Twitter at @LucidTalk.

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