In Defence of Liberty

Driven by data; ridden with liberty.

Approval and Disapproval


There are more questions in the survey, beyond Jeremy Corbyn’s approval. (Data: YouGov. Visualisation: Tableau)

In our understanding of political beliefs, data is the key.

Ian Warren, polling analyst and election forecaster, made an unusual step in requesting that the polling company YouGov perform a poll of 7,412 British adults between 18th and 23rd November 2015, then asked for that raw data to be handed over. This led to Mr Warren’s article in The Guardian, entitled ‘Labour is losing touch with public opinion, research suggests’ [1].


Mr Warren begins:

Jeremy Corbyn is seen as an unpopular leader across almost all demographic groups and leads a party whose voters are increasingly out of step with majority opinion in the country.

Of the 6,304 English adults, only 23% approved of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, against 53% who expressed disapproval. This was similar for men and women: 24% and 22% approval, respectively. 56% of male respondents disapproved of Mr Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, compared to 49% of women. Disapproval rises and approval declines strongly with age, with 36% of respondents aged between 18 and 24 disapproving, climbing to 68% for those over the age of 60.


The reverse trend is observed with the age at which people leave school. All types of home ownership or renting strongly disapprove of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.


Age appears a key factor. (Data: YouGov. Visualisation: Tableau)

The support for Mr Corbyn did not vary widely between regions. Those respondents who were white were far more negative of Mr Corbyn than non-white adults in the survey: the net approval score among white people was -32, and just -2 among non-white respondents.


Mr Corbyn is unpopular among all social grades. (Data: YouGov. Visualisation: Tableau)

The survey also suggests that Mr Corbyn is not popular among all social grades. As Abi Wilkinson puts it in her Total Politics article [2]:

Contrary to what is frequently claimed, though, the problem isn’t that Corbyn only appeals to the middle-classes.The problem is that he’s equally unpopular with everyone.

On the basis of this polling, Jeremy Corbyn appears unpopular across every social segment. Of the demographics segments in the YouGov survey, only those still in educaction registered a positive net approval rating, with 39% approving and 33% disapproving.

There are over four years to go until the next general election, but these are substantial barriers to overcome for Mr Corbyn, and for the Labour Party.


[1] Warren, I., 2015. Labour is losing touch with public opinion, research suggests. The Guardian. Available from: [Accessed: 5th February 2016]

[2] Wilkinson, A., 2016. Corbyn’s critics should drop the middle class myth. Total Politics. Available from: [Accessed: 5th February 2016]



This entry was posted on February 16, 2016 by in National Politics and tagged , , , , .
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