In our debut poll, published in the The Observer on 8th April, 2018, we investigated the extent to which anti-Semitism is perceived to have permeated Labour Party ranks.
But let’s start with the polling truism that can never be mentioned enough: no matter how high-profile an issue might be in Westminster and in the media, no matter how profound the implications of it might be, sizable chunks of the British public will dutifully carry on largely unaware of it or not care about it.
That’s evident here too: on whether Labour is ‘riddled’ or merely featuring ‘pockets’ of anti-Semitic views, one in three (35%) are unable to express a view one way or the other. Continuing in this vein, four in ten (39%) ‘don’t know’ if anti-Semitism is more or less common in the Labour Party than in others.
But Jeremy Corbyn is certainly not escaping untainted from this increasingly divisive episode. Just fewer than one in five (17%) do think that the party is ‘riddled’ with people holding anti-Semitic views, including Corbyn himself. An identical number think that ‘pockets’ of anti-Semitism exists within Labour, but one of them includes its leader.
For the avoidance of doubt, that implies that a third of the public (34%) think that the leader of the Labour Party holds anti-Semitic views.
Although many people believing this to be the case are Conservative voters, it has not escaped the attention of people who voted for Corbyn in 2017. A total of 39% of 2017 Labour voters think that people within the party hold anti-Semitic views. One in seven Labour voters (14%) think Corbyn himself does so.
It is too early to tell whether recent events will have material and long-term implications for Labour’s support (Deltapoll is currently collecting vote intention data, but not yet publishing it), but it cannot be helping with leadership fundamentals.
In the first in our series of leadership satisfaction ratings, Corbyn scores -27, which is certainly not as low as we saw for him during the last political cycle, but not ideal by any means. More than half (57%) think Corbyn is doing badly in his job, but let’s remember that appalling ratings didn’t stop him from improving the Labour vote share in 2017 by 10-points.
In comparison, the impression that Theresa May is consolidating her position (perhaps as a direct result of the focus on Corbyn, or perhaps because Brexit negotiations have taken a turn for the better) is reflected in a decent personal rating of -6. She’s out-performing her leadership team, with only Philip Hammond (-10) approaching decent ratings.
Brexit Secretary David Davis languishes on -22 despite recent positive developments with EU negotiators, and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s mood won’t be helped after his skirmish with Russia when he views his Corbyn-level -26 rating.
Vince Cable fares worst though; his -29 probably reflecting continued Liberal Democrat failure to cut through despite there being a gaping hole in the centre ground of British politics.