The Thick of It


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Does it matter if Miliband isn't loved?

Looking beyond the headline opinion polls that currently show Labour with a healthy ten point lead over the Tories it appears that Ed Miliband is the least popular of the three main party leaders. Even less than Nick Clegg. He hasn't been in the job very long which is certainly a factor, together with him not having been the most high profile minister in the former government.

As Miliband's recognition grows I expect his rating to improve. He will benefit from not being a Tory or Nick Clegg. That isn't enough to sustain him though. He needs to be liked and must be seen as a credible prime minister if he is to take Labour to victory. He has more time though the media will try and put him on the football manager style pedestal and stir up suggestions that he isn't up to the job.

The forthcoming Scottish, Welsh and English local elections provide the first test. The AV referendum is interesting too, for two reasons. First, if Labour are popular but Miliband less so Labour could "win" the next election much like the Tories did in 2010 - without a majority. Second, under those circumstances but with AV he would have to do a deal with the similarly unpopular Nick Clegg's Lib Dems. Right now that seems like a very odd scenario but it could well come to fruition.

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