Cameron: the best of a bad bunch

David, Ed or Nick—who would you rather sit next to on the train?
April 24, 2013

There are two years until the next election, and with this in mind YouGov has conducted polls which examine the respective standing of the leaders of the three main parties. Are they well-regarded by the electorate?

It turns out that we don’t rate any of them much, but David Cameron has the edge over Ed Miliband. YouGov asked voters to rate each of the three main leaders according to six characteristics that can decide their fate at election time. None is regarded as “more honest than most politicians”; and most of us hate the idea of sitting next to any of them on a long journey. But Cameron heads the pack on having “clear ideas, good or bad, about how to govern Britain” and—perhaps the most vital quality of all—being “likely to be tough and decisive in a crisis.”

Miliband’s main plus is that, far more than Cameron and Clegg, he is reckoned to be “on the side of people like you.” It’s not that he scores highly on this—35 per cent put him on their side, while 45 per cent don’t—but that the other two leaders get the thumbs down on this by fully three-to-one. Miliband also leads, though far more narrowly, on being seen as sincere about wanting a “one nation” Britain. This resonates slightly more than Cameron’s assertion that “we are all in it together,” and Clegg’s declared ambition to build “a fairer society and a stronger economy.” Indeed, this is the only characteristic that more than a quarter of all voters ascribe to Clegg, whose personal reputation is by far the worst of the three leaders.

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