David Cameron has brushed aside the reshuffle – he remains nearly twice as popular as Ed Miliband when voters are asked who they would prefer to be Prime Minister.
Data released today by YouGov shows that Cameron’s popularity has ticked down 1 per cent, but he still has a 17-point lead over his Labour opponent.
Cameron has enjoyed relatively strong ratings throughout his premiership, and has consistently held a sizeable lead over Miliband.
But recent ratings have been his best for more than two years. Cameron’s personal ratings have consistently trended upwards since the “cash for access” scandal saw his numbers fall seven per cent over a week in March 2012.
Miliband’s have been far more inconsistent, and haven’t improved much on the nadir he fell to in early 2012, when just 16 per cent of voters viewed him as the best Prime Minister.
A series of small gaffes and a under-developed conference speech on responsible capitalism saw his ratings fall 10 per cent in less than 18 months. By October he had recovered, and reached an all-time of 27 per cent in October 2012 after his well-received “One Nation” conference speech.
But his numbers began to slide again in 2013, and, despite ticking up during Labour conference in September, they remain low.
Cameron, on the other hand, has started to see the fruits of his government’s economic plan. Spurred by a year of 3 per cent growth, and unemployment falling to a six-year low, his personal ratings have recovered – much like his Chancellor’s.
The duo will hope living standards start to rise over the next year. At the moment Labour can still point to how wages remain stubbornly below inflation – people are not feeling this supposed economic recovery.
But today’s data shows that any Labour victory will have to be won on the strength of its arguments – and in spite of its leader.