Charisn’tma: Did May’s inadequacies make Corbyn more popular?

Theresa May: Less charisma than John Major?

Simon Wren-Lewis on Mainly Macro raises a good point about the role of charisma in modern elections. Did Jeremy Corbyn win votes because Theresa May lacked that quality so loved by tabloid hacks?

It’s an interesting question, especially considering there are examples of people winning elections in spite of a perceived lack of personal warmth. John Major, anybody? Edward Heath?

And the Oxford lecturer admits the argument is muddied by the fact that Labour’s manifesto focused on what many people wanted, while the Tories’ did not.

But he states: “What happened was that voters, particularly younger voters, discovered another side to Theresa May. May looks good in controlled situations: soundbites and speeches to the faithful. When she lost control after the launch of the Conservative manifesto, she looked evasive and robotic. The independent media, who tend to pounce on weaknesses, focused on this rather than the ‘old news’ about Corbyn’s past. [1] What is more, the qualities that May seemed to lack were exactly those that a much more confident Corbyn displayed: genuine passion rather than robotic spin. It was May’s inadequacies that allowed many voters to see Corbyn in a different light.

“If this story is right, it suggests charisma and personality are still important in elections… I continue to think this is unfortunate, because people greatly overestimate how much they can accurately judge people from limited contact with them… People had decided based on limited and filtered information that Corbyn was hopeless, and now (particularly following the Grenfell fire) they can see his qualities, but I’m not sure they are much nearer knowing whether he will be a good or bad prime minister.”

Or maybe they are.

One difference between Jeremy Corbyn and the other ‘charismatic’ politicians named in the article (Kennedy, Thatcher, Blair, Clinton) is that Corbyn was unpopular when he started out.

Perhaps we are seeing that Corbyn has the personality – and the commitment – to do the job right?

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4 thoughts on “Charisn’tma: Did May’s inadequacies make Corbyn more popular?

  1. Jeffrey davies

    Nah its because a lot of people’s have woken up to fact we being screwed by the tories

  2. NMac

    Personally, I believe May inadequacies have contributed to Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity, as have the blatant Tory corruption, but I firmly believe that it is also the Labour Party’s policies which are also very popular.

  3. Fibro confused

    Jeremy charismatic hmm don’t agree. May didn’t squander a majority through lack of charisma it was through a lack of………….well everything. Jeremy worked hard and still is people got to see the real man not the msm version and the manifesto plus his honesty(he’s couldn’t tell a lie to save his life) and personal warmth which finally was allowed to filter through to the voting public is what will win Labour the next GE

  4. Zippi

    I disagree and think it unfair to suggest that Mr. Corbyn’s success was due to Mrs. May’s inadequacies. Mr. Corbyn’s successes were due to his hard work. People who didn’t like him are not suddenly going to change their minds because of what Mrs. May does but rather what Mr. Corbyn himself does! To say otherwise is to undermine his efforts; there were other candidates and other parties on the ballot paper. Mr. Corbyn won that support fairly and squarely. What Mrs. May achieved, or failed to rests entirely upon her shoulders.

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