UK Politics

Poll watch: Labour lead in post-election polls

In the six weeks since the general election, there have been 12 voting intention polls. All but one has put Labour in the lead, ahead of the Conservatives.

That marks a major shift from the election campaign when every poll had the Conservatives in front.

Labour's share has been between 40% and 46% in the post-election polls.

Poll tracker: See how the parties are performing

That top figure is historically interesting.

It matches the highest achieved by the party during Ed Miliband's time as leader, in November 2012 - the same week, in fact, as the Corby by-election which saw Labour's only gain at a Westminster by-election since 1997.

And apart from that 2012 high point, you have to go back to 2002 to find the last time Labour's poll share was as strong.

The Conservatives have been in a narrow 38 to 42% range - not especially low by historical standards, and about level with where they were a year ago when Theresa May became prime minister.

Leaders' personal ratings

As we saw during the election campaign, it's the smaller parties who have been squeezed. Labour and the Conservatives between them are consistently polling above 80%.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Since the election, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has seen his approval ratings race ahead of Theresa May's

Mrs May and Jeremy Corbyn's approval ratings also tell an interesting story.

The Theresa May story: Profile of the prime minister

The Jeremy Corbyn story: Profile of the Labour leader

When the election was called, Mrs May had a healthy positive score. In other words more people thought she was doing a good job than a bad job. Mr Corbyn, on the other hand, was in deep negative territory.

The gap closed during the campaign so that by election day the two leaders were roughly neck-and-neck.

Since 8 June, though, Mr Corbyn has raced ahead. It is now the Labour leader who enjoys a positive rating whilst Mrs May is down in the doldrums.

There is perhaps one small chink of light for her. As well as asking about approval levels for each candidate, some pollsters also ask a direct question about who would make the best prime minister.

In the immediate aftermath of the election, the two leaders were practically level on this question. But in the last three weeks or so, Mrs May has regained a small lead.

There have not been many of these polls, so it is too early to describe it as a confirmed trend. But it will be interesting to see if it develops into one.

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