29/09/2015 04:59 BST | Updated 29/09/2015 05:59 BST

Jeremy Corbyn 'Looks Like He Doesn't Own An IPad' Focus Group Finds, But Diane Abbott Says Ignore The Polls

Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
PLEASE NOTE: RETRANSMITTED DUE TO LIFTING OF EMBARGO Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn prepares for his first leader's speech in his hotel room in Brighton during the annual Labour Party conference at the Brighton Centre, Sussex.

Jeremy Corbyn looks like someone who doesn't own an iPad, one focus group respondent has suggested.

Deborah Mattinson, from research firm Britain Thinks, has revealed findings of a survey with undecided voters, which found the public knew little about the Labour leader.

But she referenced how his Prime Minister’s Questions performance signalled to them he was scruffy and old-fashioned - with one spoken to saying he appeared as if he did not possess the market-leading Apple software.

"That is not a good thing," she told an audience at a Labour conference fringe event organised by the Guardian newspaper. But she warned a dramatic image change risked undermining his authenticity - a key aspect to his appeal.

Coincidentally, Corbyn yesterday used an iPad to take a picture of his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell giving his keynote speech at the Labour Party conference in Brighton

She explains the full findings in an article for the newspaper.

While the BritainThinks/Guardian undecided voter panel found he was “principled”, “passionate” and most strikingly “authentic”, other points to emerge were less flattering.

"Asked what they would most like to change about the condition of Britain, our swing voters talk about the economy and immigration.

"Voters don’t know where he stands on immigration. They are also unsure where he stands on the economy and what little they have heard suggests his diagnosis of the problem may not precisely chime with their own."

At the event, shadow international development secretary Diane Abbott, a long-standing Corbyn supporter, said once attacks "coming from the Tory media, and even in some cases so-called Labour supporting papers" passed then "Jeremy will cut through" with voters.

"Even with the white working-class voters who are attracted to Ukip," she told the audience.

She dismissed polls, saying: "I do not believe you find out what people think and you give it to them. I came up in politics campaigning on race and social justice. If in the 1980s we polled people on LGBT rights, polled people on women's rights, polled people on race, we would not have made the advances we have made in the last 20 years."

"Sometimes you can't just look at what eight people drinking warm white wine in Harlow said," the London MP said, referring to the small sample typically used by pollsters.


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