Multi-horse race: how do Scottish voters view these 5 party leaders?

A new YouGov/Times poll gives an insight into how Scottish and UK party leaders are perceived north of the border.

The YouGov/Times poll, conducted 12th – 16th of January, reveals how Scots view Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson and new Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.

1. Theresa May

Unsurprisingly, like elsewhere, the prime minister’s approval ratings are poor north of the border. Just 21% said they think she is doing well in her role compared to the – wait for it – 68% of respondents who said she is doing badly. Furthermore, while 54% of Conservative voters think she is doing well, a staggering 40% think she is doing badly.


2. Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour leader may have helped his party claw back six seats in June’s election, but with the SNP competing directly with Labour for left-of-centre votes, Corbyn has not had quite the same impact in Scotland as in the rest of Great Britain. Four in ten voters said he is doing well in his role as leader of the Labour Party – down from 53% in October - compared to 43% who said the opposite (up from 33%).

Could it be that Scotland’s late-found Corbynmania was just a flash in the pan?

3. Nicola Sturgeon

In terms of net approval ratings, Sturgeon’s so far are the highest. 43% of respondents said she is doing well while another 43% of respondents said the opposite. Sturgeon may be popular, but she is also incredibly divisive. Furthermore, just 14% said they thought she was doing very well.

Can she continue to lead Scotland into the next decade?

4. Ruth Davidson

The Leader of the Opposition, who leapfrogged Kezia Dugdale’s Labour to come in second almost two years ago has a net rating of +15%, with 45% saying she is doing well compared to the 30% in disagreement. Compared directly with Sturgeon’s figures, she is more popular, but overall the SNP have the most support when it comes to Holyrood and Westminster voting intentions.

5. Richard Leonard

In fairness to Leonard, he has not been in the post for long, but six in ten respondents said they did not know how well or badly he was doing as Scottish Labour leader.

To improve these numbers, Leonard needs to get his face out there. Overall, 12% said they thought he was doing well in the role while 27% said the opposite.

If Leonard wants to become Scotland’s next first minister, he has a long, long way to go.

The full results of the survey can be viewed here. The poll did not ask about Vince Cable (Lib Dems) and Henry Bolton (UKIP) nor did it ask about Willie Rennie (Scottish Lib Dems), Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman (Scottish Greens).

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