Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer have both seen their popularity with voters fall, according to the latest polls – but the Labour Leader’s fell more.
The Prime Minister’s popularity has reportedly dropped to a new all-time low after he rowed back on the Government’s net zero climate change pledges. New polls of more than 2,000 adults, conducted after his speech where he threw five “unnecessary and heavy-handed” net zero pledges on the scrapheap show the PM’s approval slumped to -45.
Between 21 and 22 September, 68% of Britons polled had an unfavourable view of Sunak – rising from 67% in late August. Only 23% of people polled said they had a positive view of the prime minister. This is down from 26% over the summer when his net favourability rating was -41.
Sunak’s popularity plunged most among Lib Dem voters, according to the YouGov survey. Only 12% now say they have a favourable view of PM, down from 25% re in late August.
However, the PM’s popularity has not slumped as much as that of Labour Leader Starmer – who saw his fall after he met with French President Emmanuel Macron and Tory MPs warned there was a plot to make UK an ‘associate member’ of EU.
Starmer also sparked outrage amongst Brexiteers when admitted he does not want Britain to diverge from the bloc’s rules. And now only 30% of voters now have a favourable view of Starmer, a fall from 35% at the end of August.
But true-blue Tories and Brexiteers should not feel too buoyed by Starmer’s slump. Three-quarters of voters apparently think the UK needs a change of government, according to a recent poll by the think tank More in Common.
Not only did 75% of people tell More in Common that they thought it was time for a change of government, that figure also included 47% of those who voted Conservative in 2019 and 79% of voters in the “Red Wall” that helped deliver Boris Johnson’s victory four years ago.
More than two-thirds of people said the last 13 years of Conservative government had been bad for Britain, while a majority blamed the government for both the cost-of-living crisis and long NHS waiting lists – voters’ two top priorities. Luke Tryl, UK director for More in Common, said the figures were “really, really stark”.
He said: “We know that when there’s a ‘time for change’ mood in the electorate, it’s very hard to push against that.”
However, he added, voters were “not necessarily convinced that Labour would do a better job of running the country”, with 32% saying the opposition would do better and 27% saying Labour would do worse.
Mr Tryl pointed to recent focus groups in which voters had said they were “sick to death” of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer criticising the Government and not setting out what he would do instead.
Focus groups also expressed doubt about Mr Sunak, with participants saying he had not achieved much as Prime Minister and describing him as “very unrelatable” because of his wealth.
Despite Conservative hopes that Sunak would bring Tory polling numbers up into line with his own popularity, the Prime Minister has seen his standing decline, with the proportion of people saying he is an asset to his party falling from 39% to 29% in the four months since May.
Adding to the Government’s struggles, Tryl suggested that parts of the electorate had “switched off” from politics and would not be receptive to Conservative messages unless they began to feel materially better off.
He added that the Raac crisis’s lack of impact on the polls could be a “worrying sign” for the Tories, suggesting news that things in Britain “aren’t working” had been “priced in”. More in Common’s figures come from a poll of around 2,000 adults carried out between September 1 and 4.