Just 17% of the North East thinks Ed Miliband is the right man to lead the Labour party, a damning Journal poll today reveals.
As the leader gears up for his key speech today a survey for this paper revealed many across the region and the UK are yet to make up their mind when it comes to Mr Miliband.
A survey by North East research specialists Other Lines of Enquiry North, using their in-house panel, Panelbase, showed 47% of people in the North East did not think Mr Miliband was the right man to lead the Labour Party at the next election.
With just 16.7% of the public backing him as Leader Mr Miliband has in the North East almost the exact same backing as Nick Clegg received from the region in our conference poll last week.
Last night Durham MP Kevan Jones said it was clear the days when any party could take electoral support for granted was gone, even with Labour’s historic links to the region.
“There is always a difficulty for a leader of the opposition in making an impact two years out from a General Election”, Mr Jones said. “You look at Thatcher in 1979, she had terrible ratings.
“But we know we can’t take votes for granted, both in the North East and elsewhere. The idea that we can just rely on that vote in a heartland doesn’t stack up anymore, we have to show them we are the party for them.”
Gateshead MP Ian Mearns also said the case still had to be made to voters.
He told The Journal: “Myself and other Northern MPs have been saying to Ed and the shadow cabinet for some time now that we cannot just go into the next General Election saying vote for us because we are not as nasty as the other parties.
“We need policies which will make life better for others, and I hope now we have started to see that, that there is a clear difference in what we offer.”
The number of people saying they will vote Labour in 2015 is down slightly from the last election to 30%.