The Corbyn effect: Labour make gains in opinion polls after leader’s exit

Jeremy Corbyn was officially replaced by Sir Keir Starmer as leader of the opposition on April 4 and the change on the Labour frontbench has already narrowed the gap to the Tories. Mr Corbyn’s five-year tenor as leader came to a crushing end after he oversaw Labour’s humiliating December general election defeat – the heaviest since 1935.

According to data compiled by Martin Baxter of Electoral Calculus, Sir Keir has given the party a much needed bounce and cut the gap to Boris Johnson’s Conservatives by four points.

Research by the polling site, which included data of four opinion surveys, found since Sir Keir took over the reins the Conservatives are polling on average at 50 percent, with Labour on 30 percent.

The gap of 20 percentage points is narrower than the 24-point lead the Tories had in March over Mr Corbyn.

The figures also reveal Mr Corbyn’s decision to stay on as Labour leader for four months beyond the election also had a detrimental effect of the party.

Ahead of the election Labour had narrowed the gap to the Tories to just 12-points, however this number had doubled by the end of his premiership.

Mr Baxter told “There have only been a few polls taken since Keir Starmer became leader of the Labour party.

“A poll-of-polls of four recent polls puts the Conservatives on 50 percent support, with Labour on 30 percent.

“That suggests a Conservative lead over Labour of around 20 percent, which is larger than the 12 percent lead that the Conservatives had at the December 2019 general election.

“However it is better, or at least less bad, for Labour than their polling performance in March when they were 24 percent behind the Conservatives on average.

“It’s a bit early to be sure, but the recent polls are hinting that Labour is doing a bit better under Starmer. But this recovery for Labour, if that’s what it is, is small-scale so far.”

The current coronavirus health crisis has put on hold all party political campaigning and Mr Baxter has insisted there is a growing trend at the moment from the public to support governing parties.

Mr Baxter added: “The main political event at the moment is the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is causing people in the UK, and in other countries, to have more confidence in their governments as concerns have grown about public health.


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“This has indirectly led to increased support for governing parties, such as the Conservatives.

“In the present circumstances it is hard for the Labour party to make a big positive impact, but that could evolve rapidly once the public think that the medical emergency has been passed.”

The Department for Health has confirmed as of 5pm on Monday a further 828 people have died in hospitals after testing positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of COVID-19 fatalities to 17,337.

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