Just a third of Britons believe Sir Keir Starmer has done well at convincing people Labour can be trusted with the economy, a poll by YouGov has revealed.
It comes as Labour leader Sir Keir comes to the end of his third year leading the opposition, which he marked by telling the Times newspaper he would be “completely ruthless” in pursuit of power.
But YouGov pollsters have found despite the party having a “commanding” lead in the polls, Starmer’s personal ratings remain “underwhelming”, according to voters.
When asked whether they believe Starmer has done well at convincing people Labour can be trusted with the economy, 34 per cent of Brits said yes, the poll taken at the end of March found.
It’s an increase of 17 percentage points from September 2021, after Starmer, who took over from hardline left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn, had been in power for 18 months.
Labour has been battling to win the trust of the City and financial sector, with efforts by Starmer and shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves branded the ‘prawn cocktail offensive 2.0’.
However, 44 per cent of the public polled said Starmer had done a bad job in building trust in the party’s economic competence, with 20 per cent saying he had done very badly.
Shifting the dial?
Andrew Harrop, from the Fabian Society, said the polling indicated Starmer had shifted the dial on Labour’s public image, following a period of toxicity under Corbyn’s premiership.
“They may not love the Labour Party… [but] people aren’t scared of voting Labour or feeling a sense of hostility to the Labour Party,” he told City A.M.
Business leaders are also increasingly seeing Labour’s economic offer as bringing “long-termism and certainty”, Harrop said.
“The business community sees Starmer and Reeves as pragmatic, grown up leaders.”
Meanwhile, Tom Collinge, of think tank Progressive Britain, said Starmer’s ratings were “moving in the right direction”.
He said: “It might seem a distant memory, but it is hard to overstate how far he has had to move the party in the public consciousness after the disaster of 2019, and the Corbynism that preceded it.
“Of course we need go faster, but undoing damage that took years for the party to inflict on itself is, inevitably, taking time.”
A Labour source said: “With Keir’s leadership the Labour Party has faced the public, faced business and begun to earn back their trust. Labour is now a pro-business, pro-worker party.”