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Why is Johnson more popular than Starmer?

(330 Posts)
Glorianny Fri 20-May-22 12:02:34

It's a simple question and you could answer it purely on political lines but I think there is more to it than that. I think somehow Johnson appeals to those who like bad boys and the slight amorality which is present in so many lives now, whereas Starmer always comes across as the typical lawyer, and no one trusts a lawyer. Any other ideas?

Zonne Fri 20-May-22 12:09:02

According to every opinion poll since at least January, he isn’t.

Galaxy Fri 20-May-22 12:23:38

He isn't.
Also Johnson isnt a bad boy he is a very damaged man.

Gillycats Fri 20-May-22 12:25:00

Starmer is weak. All he does is moan about the Tories. I’m a paid up union member and I’d voted for Lisa Nandy, she should be handed the reins.It’s like currently he’s banging on about the Windfall Tax. So, fine, that’ll cover this year. But time and time again in interviews he’s asked what he would do in the following years. But he won’t answer! He’s still not solved the antisemitism problem in the party. Where are Labour’s policies? They sometimes talk about what they would do but don’t back it up with how they would do it. There’s no way I’ll be voting for this sorry shower. They are a shadow of the Labour we used to know and trust.

OakDryad Fri 20-May-22 12:35:08

It's much subtler and pervasive than that. Johnson is an extremely intelligent manipulator. Unless people understand or try to understand how narcissistic sociopaths operate, they will never understand how they have been fooled and why. He does not care about people. He has no capacity to do so. His interest in people is how far they can be used to achieve his own ambitions. After that people are nothing to him and can be discarded. The majority of people who voted for Brexit and voted to keep the Tories in power in 2019 were over 65. And yet when Covid struck, he was happy to let elderly bodies pile up. The modus operandi of the narcissist is court, devalue, discard. It happens in personal relationships and it happens in politics.

Something else is at work too. Cognitive dissonance - the mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. For example, you may believe in law and order and that the party you support stand for that. Then you find that that they are exploiting the law or outright breaking it. That makes supporters uncomfortable.

There are various ways to try to cope with the discomfort of cognitive dissonance. One is to seek scapegoats, blaming other people or outside factors. You see it here all the time - blaming other political parties or personalities when the party that is failing the public has been in power for twelve years. It's illogical but the right wing press play to this by finding scapegoats that those experiencing cognitive dissonance can latch onto.

In very simplistic terms, I see it as no different to a personal relationship. Do you dump a lying, cheating, abusive husband or do you tolerate the abuse because you once loved him and cannot gather the courage to leave? Do you blame him for lying, cheating and abusing or do you find excuses to explain his behaviour to vindicate your own decision to stay?

Glorianny Fri 20-May-22 12:35:46

34% of people think Johnson is likeable and only 30% of people think Starmer is likeable.
Admittedly more people dislike Johnson as well.
Can't you be damaged and a bad boy?
People don't trust Johnson, but still more of them like him
yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2022/02/22/public-opinion-boris-johnsons-competence-and-trust

Oldbat1 Fri 20-May-22 13:03:33

Well I despise Johnson. Once a liar always a liar and I won’t forgive or forget. Why do folk think he is so intelligent?? Just because he went to Eton is no sign of intelligence. He can’t think on his feet. He can’t bring himself to be interviewed by the media. He stumbles from incident to incident. Starmer doesn’t appear to have any skeletons in the cupboard. He presents himself as a person you can rely on. No competition in my mind.

Casdon Fri 20-May-22 13:26:10

Right/Left has been done to death on Gransnet.

A more meaningful debate would be ‘Why is Boris Johnson more appealing to Tory voters than any other Tory MP?’

Doodledog Fri 20-May-22 13:34:12

I think that Starmer can come over as a bit humourless, whereas Johnson did HIGNFY and charmed the sort of people who forgive men bad behaviour if they are charming. He's persuaded a lot of people to refer to him as 'Boris', which is, I think, the first time a PM has been popularly known by his first name (even though his actual first name is Alexander).

Johnson pretends to be a man of the people, carefully using the names of those who interview him or phone in to ask questions, when a most basic analysis of what he actually says shows that he hasn't a clue about the lives of most of the public, and doesn't care about them at all. His dog, his babies, his high profile wife all add to the illusion that he is just a 'regular bloke' doing the best job he can in difficult circumstances.

Starmer is much more meticulous and circumspect. He is always shown in suits (unlike Johnson with his beanie hats and shorts) and he doesn't play to the gallery so blatantly in PMQs. He expects people to listen to the words, rather than just singing along to a series of slogans (which is Johnson's approach, and that of the last few Tory leaders before him). It's easier to follow Johnson, as it's all on the surface. Keir digs deeper, and engagement with that takes effort.

Galaxy Fri 20-May-22 13:41:03

Yes the Boris thing was/is vaguely clever, I try to never refer to him in that way.

DiamondLily Fri 20-May-22 13:44:29

Johnson is an accomplished con-man, borne of many years of practice.

That's how con artists operate - appear likeable.

Casdon Fri 20-May-22 13:46:19

The latest most popular politician polls on YouGov says that 52% dislike Boris, 19% are neutral. Starmer is disliked by 34%, and 25% are neutral. Will leave you to do the maths yourself, but it would be fair to say that Starmer comes out better. Boris is way down the popularity chart, in 8th position.

yougov.co.uk/ratings/politics/popularity/politicians-political-figures/all

Glorianny Fri 20-May-22 13:58:45

Casdon I did say that more people dislike Johnson (I agree about not using Boris) than dislike Starmer and I gave a link to that poll. But the fact remains that although most people dislike him and distrust him more people like him than like Starmer. And the question is Why It's obvious why people dislike him. He is untrustworthy, he's devious, he's corrupt. So why isn't Starmer who apparently is none of those things better liked?

Casdon Fri 20-May-22 14:06:05

33% popularity for Starmer, he’s top of the popularity poll, 28% for Boris, in 8th position. They are completely different people, I think some still relate to Boris for his ‘image’ as the beer swilling man next door. Starmer is serious and intense in comparison. It’s like comparing Katie Price with Joan Bakewell (actually that’s one of my better analogies!).

Baggs Fri 20-May-22 14:06:13

Just because he went to Eton is no sign of intelligence

This reminds me of what my dad used to say: that Eton and schools like it are comprehensive schools as far as entrance is concerned. No intelligence test, just can you pay the fees?

He used to say this while fighting to get our local state schools, which were still grammar and secondary mod back then, to change into comps.

Do you need to be intelligent to be manipulative?

OakDryad Fri 20-May-22 14:11:29

YouGov sample only 1500-2000 for each poll. Plus they say:

When we conduct political and public policy surveys, the great majority of the people we survey are those we have proactively recruited via other carefully-selected websites.

Who? What? Where?

I don't believe it is accurately representative.

BlueBelle Fri 20-May-22 14:15:16

I don’t think Starmer is weak but I think he comes across as very correct and dull without a lot of spark I think he’s just a genuine hard working correct person but has no charisma no oomph almost like a traditional clergyman against a playboy and being a middle class SIR does not help at all
Basically Starmer and Corbin are at total opposite ends of the spectrum Supporters probably want someone in the middle with fire in his or her hungry belly

Oakdryad has given an excellent take on it

BlueBelle Fri 20-May-22 14:17:18

I think there’s one ot two (?) on GN who still adore him

Baggs Fri 20-May-22 14:22:38

Someone who can't say what a woman is doesn't strike me as "correct" – just stupid and toeing a stupid line.

Doodledog Fri 20-May-22 14:23:15

People seem to prefer soundbites and slogans, so maybe the LP should go down that road. I never thought that Starmerwould be PM - I think that his role was to make the LP electable after Corbyn, who was also bad at dealing with the media, but in a different way. Whichever way you vote, it has to be acknowledged that any Labour leader has to be significantly cleverer, more charismatic and absolutely above reproach than their counterpart, as the media are so much more favourable towards Tories.

Nevertheless, until 'Beergate' there has been no suggestion of Keir stepping out of line - no corruption or untrustworthy behaviour. To me, a beer and a curry with colleagues when working is as nothing compared to all the cronyism and channeling of public money to personal projects and contracts for friends, or the 'bring a bottle' parties involving wives and decorators, or ones where a child's swing is damaged by revellers. The fact that the beer and curry was filmed through a window by the son of a high profile Tory supporter speaks volumes, too. Still, it's not a great look after Starmer made so much of Johnson's blatant disregard for the rules he instigated, and there is, I think, an element of schadenfreude for many, akin to seeing a prefect caught doing something he'd punished others for doing.

I don't necessarily think that Keir should 'level down' and try to be more populist. He either needs to capitalise on the differences more successfully, or make way for a more charismatic leader before the next election. There is also the gender politics question, which IMO pretty much all of the shadow cabinet has mishandled dreadfully. We need a new leader, I think - one who's good in front of a camera and who has a clean sheet where national policies are concerned. Are you reading, Andy Burnham?

Glorianny Fri 20-May-22 14:23:47

OakDryad

YouGov sample only 1500-2000 for each poll. Plus they say:

When we conduct political and public policy surveys, the great majority of the people we survey are those we have proactively recruited via other carefully-selected websites.

Who? What? Where?

I don't believe it is accurately representative.

Actually I just clicked on the link I gave to check the date of my figures (14th April 34% like Johnson, 30% like Starmer) and when I clicked on the group of graphs on the page I was offered the chance to set up a YouGov account. The only question is do I want to? Can I be bovvered?

OakDryad Fri 20-May-22 14:27:52

YouGov say: We monitor closely the minority who register with YouGov by visiting our site. I think part of the reason the samples are so small is because it makes it easier to detect groups trying to slew results.

Glorianny Fri 20-May-22 14:29:02

Casdon

33% popularity for Starmer, he’s top of the popularity poll, 28% for Boris, in 8th position. They are completely different people, I think some still relate to Boris for his ‘image’ as the beer swilling man next door. Starmer is serious and intense in comparison. It’s like comparing Katie Price with Joan Bakewell (actually that’s one of my better analogies!).

But they are the two most important figures in the country so surely some discussion is warranted. Katie Price is not going to be asked to host Newsnight (and actually I doubt if Joan Bakewell would be now) they are certainly not going to be up for the same job.

DiamondLily Fri 20-May-22 14:31:41

Starmer should concentrate on the cost of living, and how little the government are doing to help people.

Poll after poll shows that people now trust them more with the economy, as the Tories are now seen as the party of high taxation, and Labour are trusted more with helping the poorest.

The Tories are now desperate to impose a windfall tax, on energy companies, after heckling Labour for suggesting it, but trying to find a way of doing it without being accused of stealing Labour's idea after all.🙄

grannyactivist Fri 20-May-22 14:34:22

I agree with OakDryad regarding cognitive dissonance and I can imagine this political period providing future psychology students with plenty of material for theses.

I am registered with YouGov, but am very rarely asked to comment on the PM. I suspect that is because it’s a tool if the Conservative party and their algorithms recognise that I’m not a supporter of the PM or his government’s policies.