Jeremy Corbyn is polling worse in London than party leaders Theresa May, Tim Farron, Caroline Lucas - and even Paul Nuttall, new figures show.
The Labour leader has a net negative approval rating of -44%, while his party’s Mayor in the capital, Sadiq Khan, is surging ahead in popularity on +35%.
Many of Corbyn’s allies and shadow cabinet are concentrated in London. MPs representing constituencies next to his include Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, and Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell is also an MP in West London.
Critics of Corbyn often accuse him of not understanding the concerns of voters outside the city, with Labour MP Ian Austin saying earlier this month: “Labour will never win again if its leaders don’t get out of North London.”
Ex-shadow minister Lisa Nandy also warned in February: “For Labour, with five times as many members in Islington as Wigan, is it any wonder that the issues that matter to millions of us are almost entirely absent from the national political debate?”
Today’s figures a YouGov survey will therefore make troubling reading for Corbyn as he has been an London MP for just under 34 years.
He gets negative ratings from every key group of Londoners, including Labour supporters, young people and unskilled workers.
But Khan has soaring popularity - with a net positive approval of 35% - making him the most popular senior politician in the UK. He has been touted as a potential leadership contender to replace Corbyn in the future.
Here’s how the leaders of the other main parties faired amongst Londoners:
- Caroline Lucas (Greens) +13
- Theresa May (Conservatives) +9%
- Tim Farron (Lib Dems) -8%
- Paul Nuttall (Ukip) -34%
Philip Cowley, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University London and Director of the Mile End Institute which commissioned the poll, revealed Khan’s popularity was driven, in part, by the fact he was a clean break from his successor, Boris Johnson.
He said: “When people are asked why they approve of Khan, the responses rarely include specific policies.
“Supportive responses instead focus on his lack of any errors to date, the fact that he isn’t Boris, the belief that it is too early to tell – along with a broader sense that he is saying and at least trying to do the right things for Londoners.
“Overall, Londoners like him.”
A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn said they didn’t didn’t comment on individual polls.
But a Liberal Democrat source told HuffPost UK: “This is just one poll but it is part of a wider trend we are seeing.
“Whatever is going on in Jeremy Corbyn’s divided and extreme Labour Party, it is clear the Liberal Democrat fightback is on, providing the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit government.”