Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ first voting intention poll of 2021 in Great Britain finds the Conservative Party leading the Labour Party by 4%. The Conservative lead has increased by 1% since our last poll in December. The full numbers (with changes from 2 December in parentheses) are as follows:

Conservative 41% (+1)

Labour 37% (–)

Liberal Democrat 8% (-1)

Scottish National Party 5% (–)

Green 5% (-1)

Reform UK 2% (NEW)

Plaid Cymru 0% (-1)

Other 1% (-2)

When respondents who say they ‘do not know’ how they would vote in the next General Election are included, our voting intention result finds the Conservative Party leading by 3%. 14% of our sample responded they ‘don’t know’ who they would vote for, a slight decline of 2% compared to six weeks ago. The proportion of those who voted Conservative in 2019 who now do not know how they would vote has dropped marginally by 3% to 12%. Meanwhile, the proportion of 2019 Labour voters who do not know how they would vote remains at 7%. More than a fifth (21%) of those who voted for the Liberal Democrats in 2019 continue to say they are unsure who they will vote for at the next General Election.

At this stage, 63% say they are certain to vote in the event of a General Election, an increase of 4% since 2 December.

Currently, 37% think that the Conservatives are likely to win the highest number of seats at the next General Election, slated to be in 2024, while 32% currently say Labour are likely to do so. The proportion of 2019 Conservative voters who expect Labour to win the most seats at the next General Election has increased by three points to 12%.

The Government’s net competency rating has declined by 3% since early December and now stands at -14%. Overall, 41% think the current Government is incompetent (three points higher than six weeks ago) but significantly lower than a peak of 49% in our polling in early October. Meanwhile, 27% say the Government is competent­––the same percentage as in our previous two polls on 2 December and 19 November. A majority (51%) of Conservatives continue to consider the Government competent. A strong majority (64%) of 2019 Labour voters say the Government is incompetent, a substantial increase of seven points compared to six weeks ago.

For the tenth consecutive poll, the Prime Minister’s net approval rating is below zero. The Prime Minister’s approval rating has declined by three points in the last six weeks, and now stands at -4%. The proportion of the British public who disapprove of Boris Johnson’s job performance since he became Prime Minister has increased by two points to 42%, whereas 38% now approve. Ultimately, the country’s entrance into a third national lockdown, as well as the continued rise in coronavirus cases, seems to have negatively affected the Prime Minister’s approval rating.

By contrast, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s net approval rating remains the same as on 2 December (+29%). Overall, 48% approve of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s job performance, while 19% disapprove.

In addition, Keir Starmer’s net approval rating has also remained stable at +9%. Overall, 33% approve of Keir Starmer’s performance as Labour Leader, while 24% disapprove. Despite the Labour Leader delivering several speeches in recent weeks including on economic issues, and the future of the union, more than a third (36%) continue to neither approve nor disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance––an increase of three points since early December.

Boris Johnson’s straight contest lead over Keir Starmer has declined by five points to 6% this week.  Nevertheless, despite Boris Johnson’s waning personal approval rating, 40% still think Boris Johnson is the better Prime Minister for the UK at this moment (a decrease of three points in the last six weeks), while 34% now think Keir Starmer would be.

Boris Johnson’s lead (5%) over Chancellor Rishi Sunak in regard to who the British public think would be the best Prime Minister has declined by three points since 2 December. Altogether, 37% would prefer Boris Johnson, while 32% would prefer Rishi Sunak. 31% don’t know.

The proportion of the British public who view Boris Johnson as the leader best placed to bring British people together has declined by three points to 37%. A similar proportion (36%) now believe Keir Starmer is best placed to foster unity in Britain. Yet the Prime Minister continues to hold a strong lead in reference to who can build a strong economy (an 11% lead), which leader knows how to get things done (a 9% lead), and who will stand up for the interests of the United Kingdom (a 13% lead). Nevertheless, Boris Johnson’s lead in regard to who can best tackle the coronavirus pandemic has halved since early December to 6%. The Prime Minister also holds slight leads (3-4%) on who understands the problems afflicting the United Kingdom, who is a strong leader, and who can work with foreign leaders.  

On the flipside, Keir Starmer holds a clear lead on which the question of which party leader cares about people like me (5%), is willing to work with other parties when possible (5%), and represents change (4%). The Labour Leader also has a significant advantage in public perceptions of who tells the truth (6%), and who is in good physical and mental health (16%).

Notably, a significant proportion of the public continues to say ‘don’t know’ when asked to pick between Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer with regard to both who would be the best PM and who best embodies certain specific characteristics.

Overall, amid the cancellation of Christmas celebrations and the introduction of a third lockdown in England, the Conservative Party has maintained a clear lead over the Labour Party since our polling in early December. The Prime Minister continues to hold a lead over both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer in regard to who would be the best Prime Minister for the country at this moment. While many British respondents do not hold a positive or negative opinion of Keir Starmer’s performance overall, the public is now more evenly split on whether the Prime Minister or the Labour Leader embodies the characteristics required to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. However, on many other categories—including building a strong economy—the Prime Minister continues to hold a clear lead over Labour.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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