Gordon Brown is finally more popular than his old rival Tony Blair

Written by David Singleton on 7 November 2018 in Diary

The former Labour prime ministers are 13 places apart in YouGov’s list of the most popular politicians in the UK.

Students of New Labour will be well aware that Tony Blair beat Gordon Brown to the Labour leadership in 1994 because he was seen to have more popular appeal than his then pal. But will Brown have the last laugh in the popularity stakes?

The bitter feud between the pair that rumbled on throughout the New Labour years was most dramatically exposed back on 18 January 1998. That was when Andrew Rawnsley wrote in his Observer column that a close Blair ally had told him that the then prime minister believed Gordon Brown had "psychological flaws".

In 2005, Blair and Brown famously enjoyed an ice cream together on the campaign trail as part of their rebuttal of claims they did not get on. A year later Brown’s supporters, led by a certain Tom Watson, finally forced Blair out after three election victories.

The last clear sign that the rivalry still lingers probably occurred back in 2103, when Blair said that he “would have given Cameron a run for his money” if he had led Labour into the 2010 election.

So Brown will surely be delighted to see YouGov’s list of the most popular politicians in the UK.

According to their shiny new web tool, Brown is the 21st most popular politician in the UK –  just above David Cameron in 23rd and well ahead of Blair down in 38th.

Boris Johnson and Theresa May are jointly the most popular politicians in the UK, with Jeremy Corbyn in third place. Fourth place iis taken by Ed Balls – despite the Labour heavyweight having not been a politician since 2015. Almost as if voters are more interested in Strictly Come Dancing than the machinations of the shadow chancellor….

Other blasts from the past in prominent positions are David Blunkett in seventh and John Major in eighth.

The table comes with a health warning – it ranks the politicians just on positive approval ratings, not the net of positive versus negative. This means that it is largely based on recognition.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of intriguing nuggets hidden away in the tables. The “fan detail” shows that May has most appeal among baby boomers, while Johnson does best among Generation X and Corbyn is strongest with Millennials.

People who liked Corbyn also liked The Killing and Tupac Shakur. As the Tories struggle to appeal to younger voters, it is not a huge shock to see that fans of May are also into the Daily Express and Chris de Burgh.




Share this page


Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.