|This man - yes, this man - was more popular than any politician today|
To put this in perspective - it's not unreasonable to expect more. It is quite possible to unite and inspire at least half an electorate in common cause – the SNP are currently doing so in Scotland, where they have 49% of the vote. In the last German election, the CDU/CSU won 45.% of the first votes, and 41.5% of second votes - and this from an impressive voter turnout of 71.5%. Even among Brits, it is possible to inspire a majority to like you. Shortly after getting into power, Tony Blair's Labour government had 62% support. Even John Major - a man created in a lab by scientists trying to identify the physical limits of drabness - won 42.3% of the vote!
Not only do only a third of us support our next leader, but even they are doing it reluctantly. AYouGov poll finds that only 58% of labour voters and 49% of Tory voters say they would be "proud" to tell others who they're voting for. UKIP supporters are even more shy - 39% of them would be "proud" - suggesting that the drift to non-mainstream parties is not done in spirit of positive optimism - it's just another symptom of the same disillusionment.
Moreover, Cameron's net approval rating is zero. Miliband's is -18. It is not a bit woeful that out of 70 million people, we haven't managed to put forward one person who more of us see as a good leader than a bad one.
Thirdly, the number of us who actually think well of political parties are consistently lower than the numbers of us who will vote for them - proving that many are voting in a spirit of reluctant despondency. Just 24% of us think Labour "keeps its promises", and 23% think the Tories do (Ipsos-Mori). 63% of us say, for both those parties, that they "will promise anything to win votes". 43% think they are divided. A minority (44%) think the Tories have a good team of leaders, while the figure was woefully low for Labour (28%) - showing that the attack on Miliband has resonated.
On individual issues, too, there's a dearth of optimism. The NHS is currently seen as the most important issue by voters, but only 36% think Labour have the best policies on the NHS, and 23% think the Tories do.
The most important symptom of all this negativity and disillusionment is the meteoric rise of alternative parties - who now have 24% of the public's support, compared to an average of 10.3% in 2010.
It won't be easy to dispel this suffocating negativity. If anyone's going to, it's important not just to challenge the status quo, but to do so in a non-Cameronian way. It should be done with positivity and a passionate emphasis on what we are about. It cannot just be about berating what exists.
One of the only positive things on which Ispos-Mori can find a majority agreeing (albeit a very slim majority) is this: "52% of us think Labour understand the problems facing Britain". Ed has that, at least, and the backing of the Milifandom. He's got Blue Labour as a source of political philosophy, and a campaign which has focused more on fairness than anti-Tory diatribes. He is perhaps the leader with the best chance of steering us away from the era of attacking all the enemies until you're the only one left standing.