Theresa May builds 64-point advantage over Jeremy Corbyn in leaders' survey


Prime Minister Theresa May has built up a mammoth 64-point advantage over Jeremy Corbyn in a survey of voters' most favoured political leader.

In the Survation poll of around 1,000 people, Mrs May's plus-34 rating made her comfortably the most popular leader, while Mr Corbyn's negative rating of minus-31 made him the least favoured of all the politicians listed.

Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith's rating of minus-11 was significantly better than the score recorded for the man he is trying to unseat.

But crucially, Mr Corbyn received far higher support than his rival among Labour supporters, receiving 41.4% favourable ratings compared with Mr Smith's 23.7%.

Some 21.3% of voters - including 18.6% of Labour supporters - said they had not formed an opinion of Mr Smith or had not heard of him, compared with just 3.4% for Mr Corbyn.

Survation's director of political polling Chris Hopkins said: "It's significant to see such a large difference in favourability ratings between the Prime Minister and leader of the opposition. Jeremy Corbyn's ratings will need to improve over the coming months."

The company calculates its rating by subtracting the numbers of voters who have an unfavourable view of a politician from those who regard them favourably - often resulting in a negative figure.

With 53.2% of those questioned saying they think favourably of the Prime Minister and just 26.4% unfavourably, Mrs May enjoyed an unusually positive overall rating as her "honeymoon period" after taking office in July continued through the summer.

Even among voters who backed Labour in the general election, the Conservative leader had more favourable ratings (36.4%) than unfavourable (32.2%), not far behind the 41.4% favourable and 32.8% unfavourable levels recorded by Mr Corbyn.

Overall, Mr Corbyn was viewed favourably by 22.3% of voters and unfavourably by 53%. More than one third (33.8%) of those questioned said they had a "strongly unfavourable" view of the Labour leader, rising to 57.3% among Tory voters, 51.4% among Ukip supporters and 35.5% among Liberal Democrats.

Some 12.3% of Labour voters said they thought "strongly unfavourably" towards the party's leader. 

The Scottish National Party's Nicola Sturgeon polled as the second most popular leader with a rating of minus-11, ahead of the Liberal Democrats' Tim Farron on minus-12.

But north of the border, Ms Sturgeon's plus-31 rating rivalled the levels achieved nationwide by Mrs May, with 58.9% of Scots giving the SNP leader a favourable rating and 27.7% unfavourable.

Chancellor Philip Hammond enjoyed a favourability rating of plus-four and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson plus-three.

:: Survation polled 1,001 adults across the UK on August 19 and 20.