By MO BHANA
Prime Minister Theresa May’s approval ratings have taken a battering after it emerged that Labour leader; Jeremy Corbyn has scored his best ever rating and overtaken her.
Forty-four per cent of adults say they are satisfied with the Labour leader, winning over people aged 18 to 34 in large numbers.
Three-quarters of Labour supporters are satisfied with him, compared to nearly two-thirds of Conservatives for Mrs May.
Far more younger people aged 18 to 34, than pensioners were unimpressed with Mrs May.
Ipsos MORI has been asking this satisfaction question since 1977 and the only other Prime Minister to have a negative rating in the month after an election was Tony Blair, -13 in 2005 amid a backlash against the Iraq War.
Mrs May’s figures have plummeted since a poll carried out a week before the June 8 election when she was already mired in controversy over social care and school funding, for not taking part in TV debates with Mr Corbyn and for her original U-turn to call the election.
More than a quarter of Tory backers are dissatisfied with Mrs May, while now just 19 per cent of Labour supporters have such a view of Mr Corbyn despite his leadership being under fire just months ago.
Strikingly, though, despite the grim findings for Mrs May, Mr Corbyn should not get carried away because, despite the dismal satisfaction figures for Mrs May, she is still seen as the most capable PM by 46 per cent to Mr Corbyn’s 38 per cent.
This will reinforce fears among some Labour MPs that despite the support that Mr Corbyn has won in recent months, he may never get into No10 and the party will remain in opposition for at least another ten years.
Approval of the Government has also gone into free fall. Sixty-four per cent are dissatisfied, with 28 per cent satisfied, giving a net rating of -36, compared to -15 last month.
In Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to Remain in the EU, dissatisfaction with the Government is particularly high, according to a small poll sample.
Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “The turnaround in Mrs May’s ratings is unprecedented in our previous data on Prime Ministers – from a historic high at the start of the campaign to a historic low just one month after an election, while also seeing her position among her own party supporters weakening and Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign surge continuing.”
The overall findings will inevitably fuel already feverish talk of Mrs May being ousted, with Cabinet rivals including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis already being seen to be jockeying for position to succeed her.
Grassroots members of the Conservative Party have called for Theresa May to quit by Christmas as dissenter’s eye David Davis as a possible replacement for the Prime Minister.
A survey seen by The Observer found the majority of Tory members could not choose a successor to Ms May, supporting the belief of many commentators that a relative unknown could step out of the party’s shadows to become leader.
The majority of those surveyed do not want Ms May to stand down, with just 22 per cent calling on her to quit and 71 per cent saying she should stay on as leader, fearful of the possibility of a general election.
The Sunday Telegraph says that “leading voices” among Tory activists fear the Prime Minister will be unable to recover her authority following the general election, weakening the UK’s position in Brexit negotiations.
A cabinet minister’s local party chairman called for Ms May to step down as leader by Christmas, the paper reported, while others hoped she would spend her summer break planning a transition that would not require another damaging leadership race.
Mr Davis has emerged as the favoured candidate to replace the weakened Prime Minister among grassroots Conservatives, according to a separate survey of 1,000 party members, although backing for the Brexit Secretary was hardly unanimous, with just over a fifth of those asked preferring him, ahead of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
The survey carried out by the Party Members’ Project, comes as Parliament stands down for the summer but with bitter party infighting and behind-the-scenes plotting expected to continue over the recess.
It found 21 per cent of members backed Mr Davis, 17 per cent preferred Mr Johnson, while the third choice was backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has something of a cult following, but was backed by just 6 per cent of those surveyed.
A quarter of respondents said they did not know or could not say who the next leader would be.
More than 30 other names mentioned as possible successors, suggesting a fresh face could eventually emerge rather than one of the high-profile members of the Cabinet.