YouGov research has demonstrated a dramatic reversal in fortunes for the Labour party in Scotland, with Jeremy Corbyn now the most popular politician. The research compared people approval ratings for big political names including; Theresa May, Nicola Sturgeon, Jeremy Corbyn, & Ruth Davidson.
In 2016 the public polled Jeremy Corbyn at a dire -42 points, compared to Theresa May who was positively perceived at +13 points. Just a year ago Corbyn’s position as leader of the Labour party was challenged, and constantly belittled, even by the Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. At a time, the SNP were flying high, it was seen to be difficult that the Labour party could truly out-flank them on left-wing social and economic issues. Sturgeon’s popularity was only surpassed narrowly by the charismatic Ruth Davidson, who offers a neoliberal vision for Scotland – but more importantly Unionism with the UK.
Fast forward to today (2017), a renewed Labour party, led to a moral snap election victory during the summer has reignited Scotland’s appetite for true red Socialism once more. Even though Jeremy Corbyn is not a Scottish politician, who are usually seen more favourably, his message has resonated across the entire nation, bringing Labour back to the real chance to regain much of Scotland. Now polling at a net rating of +20, Corbyn is the most popular politician in Scotland, these results are also heavily reflected in the Labour Scottish leadership race, where truly left-wing candidate Richard Leonard & Corbyn looks likely to take on the role.
Changes to popularity of leading politicians is a strong indication of where future polling numbers will travel. Just five months ago the pundits said Labour would remain wiped out entirely in Scotland. Today they’re the main force challenging the SNP. Ruth Davidson remains a strong force in Scottish politics, however her dazzle has started to fade, knocking her behind Corbyn in popularity. With a strong left-wing Scottish Labour leader, Ruth will steadily decline further and likely lose some of their recently gained seats north of the border.
Have political fortunes ever changed so dramatically?