There’s been a lot of hubbub this morning, as there has been all week, about the popularity of the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. But while the media and the Conservative Party revel in the victory of their latest piñata being knocked about in the polls, they’re missing one very simple and disturbing fact: George Osborne, the heir to Mr Cameron, is actually less popular than Mr Corbyn.
While I’ve argued before that I don’t believe Mr Corbyn is going to stick it out until the next general election (in fact, I’d be surprised if he was still in his position this time next year) – it doesn’t bode well for the Conservative Party that the latest round of polling for ComRes shows Mr Osborne has a net favourability rating of minus 17 per cent.
This isn’t far off from Mr Corbyn’s net favourability rating of minus 18 per cent, and what’s worse is that more voters have heard of Mr Osborne. It’s only very slightly a case of “better the devil you know” – and as we all know, Mr Cameron’s continuation as Prime Minister hinges on the European referendum result. Should he lose, he’ll have to go. Should he win, he might choose to go on a high.
Which means you’ll have two party leaders – according to consensus of choice in the Conservative higher echelons at the moment – who are as unpopular as each other.
Like I said, I wouldn’t be surprised it Mr Corbyn disappeared by this time next year, but if he does stay on – as you can tell he’s desperately trying to do by adjusting his policies to suit his Labour colleagues – then he may well find himself up against an equally publicly loathed figure at the despatch box.
The poll also revealed that UKIP’s support is holding steady, though some activists have privately noted that the party should be surging on the back of the migrant crisis, like equivalent parties across Europe.