With mere days until the big Christmas election, party leaders are as active as ever; on the door, on the phones, on the airwaves and for some, on Twitter. For a man consistently polled as the most unpopular Leader of the Opposition in a hundred years, spending your time on a platform which exclusively accommodates young people, most of whom are already voting for you and take up only a tenth of the electorate, seems like a pretty bizarre idea this late in the campaign.
To break it down, only 27% of the country approve of Corbyn’s leadership, in comparison to the 66% who do not approve, leaving him with an overall net approval rating of -39%. These damning numbers seem particularly dreadful in comparison to the Prime Minister’s recent approval ratings in the same poll. Boris has a net approval rating of +2%, with 49% of the country behind him. These staggering statistics have been previously replicated in countless polls, every one of them having Boris Johnson down as the best man for the job.
Personal approval ratings to one side, the voting intention of the country is looking pretty similar, with the Conservatives ahead by 19-points in one poll. For those who don’t follow politics, this is an astonishingly big lead with Johnson leading his party into landslide territory. In sum, it is inevitable that the Conservatives will win big unless one of two things happens. Either the Prime Minister makes a gaffe worthy of Theresa May in the last election who thought revoking the fox-hunting ban would get ordinary people on her side. Or a man who is described by 87% of the Jewish population as anti-Semitic somehow pulls it out of the bag with his Twitter game.
Much to the dismay of his political opponents, Corbyn’s tweets seem to constantly go viral. His least popular tweets average around 2,000-4,000 likes, similar to that of Johnson – but his popular ones send shockwaves throughout the app. In the past, the privately educated leader of the Labour Party has rightly highlighted issues such as our billionaire-owned newspapers, climate change, poverty, and the NHS, with some reaching upwards of 100,000 likes. But is the message getting out to the right people? The answer to that question is complex as many Twitter users do not put their location or age on their account – so it is difficult to see if they are eligible to vote in the election. According to demographics, Corbyn attracts the same users as our socialist cousins from across the pond; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, despite the two having expressed their concerns over Corbyn’s alleged anti-Semitic past and failure to control anti-Semitism in his party.
Another interesting thing one can pick up from the 70-year-old’s account is the language he uses. Conservative commentators like Tom Harwood and Piers Morgan call it “virtue-signalling”, whereas his colleagues call it “emotive language”. The words “billionaire”, “#SaveOurNHS”, and “real change” pop up the most on his profile. But if you scroll back to the months before the campaign was launched, the word “billionaire” was rarely used – the killer-word used to be “millionaire” – until it was revealed that Corbyn was one, with an estimated net worth of £3m, double that of Johnson.
At the end of the day, the only poll that matters is on the 12th of December. We’ve seen great upsets before – John Major winning in 1992, and Theresa May losing her majority just two years ago. Can Corbyn pull it off? My gut instinct says he can’t and that the bumbling bulldog Boris will bounce back into the big black door of British politics to deliver a Brexit that will either unite the country – or divide it more than ever.