The UK General Election - 4th July 2024

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Data reveals that Shadow Cabinet needs to build familiarity and trust as it looks to seal the deal with voters 

Ben Farmer

Account Manager

  • With less than 18 months to go until the likely date of the General Election, public knowledge of key Labour politicians remains low
  • In a poll of UK voters, 80% said they are familiar with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, with Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner (52%), the second most known  
  • But less than half recognise the names of Shadow Cabinet members including Yvette Cooper (45%), Rachel Reeves (39%), Lisa Nandy (31%), Wes Streeting (25%) and Bridget Phillipson (17%)
  • Work needed to build interest and trust in Labour’s Leader amongst a key group of older voters, with only 25% of people aged over 65 saying they’d have a coffee with Sir Keir Starmer

New data highlights the need for Labour’s Shadow Cabinet to establish itself with the electorate, as individuals up-and-down the country are still relatively unfamiliar with many frontbench names.

The research, commissioned by leading communications and public affairs agency PLMR Group, found that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer enjoys strong familiarity (80%) with the public. However, there is room for improvement across the rest of the Shadow Cabinet, with no other frontbench politician included in the poll being familiar to much more than half of voters.    

The findings appear in PLMR’s new publication, Sealing the Deal: Labour, the electorate and its plans for power, which looks at where Labour stands now in political terms and its priorities for government. It reports that 52% of people polled said they were familiar with Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, making her the second most known Shadow Cabinet member. Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper (45%), also scored well.

With local communities and public services likely to be at the heart of the next election campaign, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting (25%), Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson (17%) and Shadow Communities Secretary Lisa Nandy (31%), will hope to strengthen their familiarity with voters as Labour lays out more detailed plans over the coming period.

The survey also revealed that in general the public does not have a strong preference over which party leader would be best to take for a coffee. When asked, respondents were almost equally split between Labour leader, Keir Starmer (38%) and Conservative leader and Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak (37%). But for voters aged over 65 the split was 25% for Starmer and 51% for Sunak, suggesting that Labour has plenty to do to build trust and support amongst this older demographic which typically turns out in big numbers.

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