Sir Keir Starmer’s first conference speech resonated well with the British public, a snap poll has revealed.
More than three-fifths (62 per cent) thought he came across as competent, compared to 23 per cent who thought he came across as incompetent.
That compares to46 per cent who thought Boris Johnson came across as competent at his first conference speech (vs. 41 per cent incompetent) and53 per cent who thought the same of Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 (vs. 30 per cent who thought he was incompetent).
Respondents to the poll were shown a video of the highlights of the speech and then asked them a series of questions about how Starmer came across.
Fieldwork was conducted immediately after the speech and Opinium spoke to 1330 people in total. The data is weighted to be representative of the adult population.
Overall, Starmer’s speech was well-received, with Opinium calculating an overall score out of ten based on their polling responses – with Starmer scoring 5.9.
This is higher than Johnson first conference speech in 2019 (4.4) and Corbyn’s first in 2015 (5.1).
|Starmer 2021||Johnson 2019||Corbyn 2015|
|Agree with what he had to say||63%||51%||56%|
|Disagree with what he had to say||29%||41%||34%|
|He came across as strong||57%||52%||53%|
|He came across as weak||26%||30%||27%|
|He came across like he cares about ordinary people||68%||37%||60%|
|He came across like he doesn’t care about ordinary people||19%||45%||22%|
|He came across like he’s in touch with people’s concerns||60%||39%||51%|
|He came across like he’s out of touch with people’s concerns||29%||46%||33%|
|He came across as interesting||41%||38%||33%|
|He came across as boring||28%||27%||28%|
|SCORE (out of ten)||5.9||4.4||5.1|
Is heckling acceptable?
In relation to the heckling that Starmer experienced, half (52 per cent) thought it was unacceptable with just 37 per cent thinking it was acceptable.
Almost half (47per cent) are generally more on Starmer’s side from what they have seen or heard, while 18per cent are more on the side of the hecklers.
Among Labour voters, 62per cent are more on the side of Starmer, and 16per cent more on the side of the hecklers.
Opinium will also be conducting similar research after Boris Johnson’s conference speech next week.
Chris Curtis, Senior Research Manager at Opinium, said: “Despite the heckling, Starmer will be happy with how his speech has gone down with the public.
“It’s normal for polling like this to tend to produce positive results because respondents see the leaders putting their arguments across unopposed.
“However, when we look at the comparisons to previous years, we can see how Starmer’s performance has gone down better than either Corbyn or Johnson’s first conference speeches.
“But we will have to wait a few days to see whether this initial positive response is enough to make voters more likely to choose the Labour Party in the polls.”