Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ latest GB voting intention poll from Wednesday finds the Conservative Party leading by 8%. Compared to our previous voting intention poll on the 15th of July, this result represents a slight 1% increase in the lead held by the Conservative Party, a difference which again falls within the margin of error. At the same time, this result is an increase from the Conservative Party’s 4% lead at the very beginning of this month. The full numbers for our voting intention poll (with their changes from 15 July in parentheses) are as follows:
Conservative 44% (–)
Labour 36% (-1)
Liberal Democrat 8% (–)
Scottish National Party 4% (–)
Green 5% (+1)
Plaid Cymru 1% (+1)
Other 3% (+1)
Likelihood to vote remained constant from last week, with 59% still saying they would be certain to vote in the event of a general election in the near future. This figure is slightly down from 63% two weeks ago, but it has not varied significantly in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw a 5% decline in his approval rating, thus reversing the 5% increase he had enjoyed in our previous weekly poll. This week, Johnson’s approval rating stands at a net +5%, with 43% saying they approve of his job performance since becoming Prime Minister and 38% saying they disapprove. However, the Prime Minister’s approval rating has oscillated rather significantly in the past month: four weeks ago, his approval rating was net +11%, then it fell to net +7% three weeks, then fell again to +5% two weeks ago, then rose to net +10% last week, and now it is back at net +5%. This variation could be a reflection of the public’s response to the rapidly changing coronavirus crisis measures, including measures such as announcing that face masks will now be compulsory in shops from 24th July onwards.
Meanwhile, the approval rating for Labour Leader Keir Starmer fell by 4% for the second week in a row, and it now stands at net +14% approval. Currently, Starmer enjoys 37% approval and 23% disapproval from the public. Nonetheless, as in nearly every Keir Starmer approval rating question so far, 34% continue to say they neither approve nor disapprove of the Labour Leader’s job performance, highlighting once again the extent to which the public remains unfamiliar with the new Labour Leader.
This week’s decline in the approval ratings of both Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer resulted in Johnson’s lead over Starmer in a straight contest over who would be the better Prime Minister falling slightly from 15% to 12%. However, this 12% lead is similar to the 11% lead that Johnson enjoyed over Starmer two weeks ago, suggesting a degree of stability in the public’s preference for Johnson over Starmer. Interestingly, whereas 33% of respondents this week and last week selected Starmer, the percentage who selected Johnson fell from 48% last week to 45% this week, with this 3% decline in Johnson’s lead translating into a 3% increase in the proportion who selected the ‘don’t know’ option, rather than translating into more respondents selecting Starmer.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s approval rating fell slightly from net +39% approval to net +38% approval. However, this 1% decrease in his approval rating is well within the margin of error of this poll, and therefore is not significant. This week, 53% said they approve of the Chancellor’s job performance, and 15% said they disapprove. Peaking in April, the Chancellor’s approval rating remains quite high as he announces various high-spending schemes intended to revive the economy.
After two weeks in a row of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak each polling at 38% in a straight contest between them, Johnson has now recovered a slight 3% lead over Sunak. This week, 38% of respondents selected Boris Johnson and 35% selected Rishi Sunak in a straight contest over who would be the better Prime Minister for the United Kingdom at the present moment. However, Johnson’s new 3% lead is barely outside of the margin of error of this poll. It therefore appears that the Chancellor is poised to eventually become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom—of course, only if he can continue to command such high approval ratings.
With its top two leaders garnering positive approval ratings, the Tories are in a strong position for the future. Indeed, Sunak’s lead over Starmer increased slightly by 1% this week, positioning the Chancellor with an 11% lead over the Labour Leader in a straight contest. Although this 1% increase is also within this poll’s margin of error, the stability of Sunak’s double-digit lead over the Chancellor combined with Sunak’s near-equal polling against the Prime Minister support the emerging narrative that the Chancellor is poised to become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom—of course, only if he can continue to command such high approval ratings.