Pollwatch – State of the Leaders: Clegg +34%, Cameron +38% (June 2010)

by Stephen Tall on July 4, 2010

Yesterday, Pollwatch looked at the state of the parties in June; today it’s the turn of the coalition government leaders.

As with all polls, what follows comes with caveats. Only two polling companies – YouGov and Mori – this past month asked questions specifically to find out the public’s views of the Lib Dem and Tory party leaders. (Harriet Harman’s performance as Labour leader is not being measured). And each asks variants on the basic question – do you think Clegg/Cameron are doing a good job – to come up with their figures, so comparison ain’t easy. But, still, we don’t indulge in polls that often, so here goes …

Here, in chronological order, are the results of the five polls published in June asking for the public to rate the two governing party leaders:

    Cameron: 63% approve, 16% disapprove: net +47%
    Clegg: 61%, 20%, +41%
    (3-4 June, YouGov: Do you think (name) is doing well or badly as (position)?)

    Cameron: 60% approve, 19% disapprove: net +41%
    Clegg: 59%, 21%, +38%
    (10-11 June, YouGov: Do you think (name) is doing well or badly as (position)?)

    Cameron: 57% satisfied, 26% dissatisfied: net +31%
    Clegg: 53%, 27%, +26%
    (18-20 June, Mori: Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way X is doing his job as Y?)

    Cameron: 64% approve, 20% disapprove: net +44%
    Clegg: 62%, 22%, +40%
    (17-18 June, YouGov: Do you think (name) is doing well or badly as (position)?)

    Cameron: 61% approve, 27% disapprove, net +34%
    Clegg: 57%, 30%, +27%
    (24-25 June, YouGov: Do you think (name) is doing well or badly as (position)?)

Which gives us an average net popularity – and, yes, I know how unscientific such averages are – compared with May’s as follows:

    Nick Clegg +34% (-2%), David Cameron +38% (+5%)

Nick Clegg cedes his lead as most popular party leader – a lead he has held for many months – to David Cameron. Nick’s average net rating of +34% is highly respectable, and well ahead of his position before the election was called. Some 80-90% of the public have formed a view of him, and by a roughly 2:1 margin this appears to be favourable … so far.

It is Mr Cameron’s ratings, though, which have surged since the election, with some 60% of the public approving of his performance to date, and only around one-fifth disapproving. For a Tory Prime Minister, these are quite remarkable figures – I think we’d have to go back almost two decades, to the start of John Major’s premiership, to find any equivalent ratings. So far, it seems, the public are liking what they see of Mr Cameron, perhaps to both his and their surprise.

It would be interesting to see what the public is making of Harriet Harman as Labour leader – is her strident, oppositional posturing winning her friends in the wider country? But as she’s not a contender for the permanent post, clearly no pollsters feel its worth asking the question. We shall have to make do instead (I hope) with polls comparing the relative popularities of their five candidates for leader.