Thursday, August 11, 2016

Five Legacies

Let me start with the obligatory disclaimer that I take everything which comes out of an opinion poll with a pinch of salt.

But I was interested in the recent Yougov poll on what people think of the last five ex-prime ministers.   

There is no doubt whatsoever who stands out as the most respected - Margaret Thatcher, who is the only one with an overall positive net rating, the only one who more than a small proportion regarded as "great" and the only one who had positive ratings net ratings not just from her own party but from those who in 2015 voted for another party (Mrs T had positive net ratings from 2015 Lib/Dems and Kippers as well as Tories.)

Nor is there any doubt at all who is regarded as the worst Prime Minister since 1979 - Gordon Brown by a landslide. Will, pollsters may not get everything right but the views of the people sampled in this poll certainly line up with mine.

Based on net approval ratings (e.g. percentage rating the PM concerned "Great" or "Good" minus those ranking him or her "Poor" or "Terrible" the rankings of the last five Prime Ministers is

1) Margaret Thatcher (+13%)
2) David Cameron (-2%)
3) John Major (-17%)
4) Tony Blair (-28%)
5) Gordon Brown (46%)

Maggie and Blair are the most "marmite" of the recent PMs in that both have a large number who like them and others who really don't. John Major, by comparison, was most likely to be rated "average," so much so that although his net rating is eleven percentage points clear of Blair's he falls slightly behind him based only on those expressing positive opinions of a former PM.

(YouGov surveyed 1692 British adults between 8th and 9th August 2016)

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