Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ latest UK voting intention poll from yesterday finds the Conservative Party leading by 5%. Compared to our previous voting intention poll on the 11th of June, this lead is a 3% increase in the lead held by the Conservative Party, but it remains lower than the double-digit leads held by the Conservatives since the election until early May. The full numbers for our voting intention poll (with their changes from 11 June in parentheses) are as follows:
Conservative 43% (+2)
Labour 38% (-1)
Liberal Democrat 8% (-1)
Scottish National Party 4% (-1)
Green 4% (–)
Plaid Cymru 0% (–)
Other 3% (+1)
Last week’s results were particularly stark for the Conservatives, bringing them down to only a 2% lead compared to their 6% or 7% lead in the previous two iterations, and their nearly 20% leads in April. This week, their lead has returned again to around where they were earlier in June, with their lead currently at 5%. Moreover, 17% of the overall sample indicated that they do not know how they would vote, again in line the early June and late May iterations of our voting intention poll. It is possible that last week’s result was simply an outlier.
Likelihood to vote was closer to normal levels this week, with more than 60% saying they would be ‘certain to vote’ if there was a general election taking place in the near future.
Boris Johnson’s overall approval rating saw a very modest increase this past week from a net +4% approval to a net +6% approval. This week, 43% approved and 37% disapproved of Johnson’s overall job performance since becoming Prime Minister.
Conversely, this week saw a slight increase in dissatisfaction with Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, which fell from –2% net approval to –7% net approval. Currently, 37% approve and 44% disapprove of the Prime Minister’s handling of the coronavirus crisis specifically.
There was also a slight negative change in Labour Leader Keir Starmer’s approval rating, which currently stands at +18% net approval, compared to +21% net approval last week. Similar to last week, around a third of respondents (33-37%) neither approve nor disapprove of Starmer’s job performance, which is most likely a reflection of the limited time he has been in office.
Compared to last week, Boris Johnson still maintains a 12% lead over Keir Starmer in a straight contest as to whom respondents would prefer as Prime Minister.
This week, we introduced a range of new questions including Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak as an option, given the high approval rating he has enjoyed in recent weeks. Indeed, this week’s poll indicates that 55% approve and 13% disapprove of Sunak’s job performance since becoming Chancellor, which translates to a +42% net approval rating. This level of net approval is substantially higher than Starmer’s +18% and Johnson’s +6% net approvals this week.
We therefore decided to present respondents with a straight contest between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, asking them who of the two would be the better Prime Minister for the UK at this moment. The results were that 39% selected Rishi Sunak and 31% selected Keir Starmer in a straight contest over who would be a better Prime Minister for the present moment. However, almost a third of respondents (31%) selected the ‘don’t know’ option, which could be indicative of the relatively short of amount of time both Sunak and Starmer have been in their current roles as Chancellor and Labour Leader, respectively. As such, Sunak’s 8% lead over Starmer is somewhat lower than Johnson’s 12% lead over Starmer.
We also asked respondents whether they thought Boris Johnson or Rishi Sunak would be a better Prime Minister for the United Kingdom at this moment. The results were that 37% selected Boris Johnson and 30% selected Rishi Sunak in a straight contest over who would be a better Prime Minister for the present moment.
Respondents’ voting preference in the 2019 General Election appears to be connected to whether they would prefer Johnson or Sunak as Prime Minister in the current circumstances. Among respondents who voted Conservative, 62% selected Johnson, 22% selected Sunak, and 16% selected the ‘don’t know’ option. On the other hand, among respondents who voted for Labour, 41% selected Sunak, 21% selected Johnson, and 37% selected the don’t know option.
While these figures suggest that most Conservative voters would not like to see the Prime Minister replaced in his role by the Chancellor anytime soon, they also indicate that the Chancellor could make some inroads with Labour voters. Indeed, Sunak’s approval rating among 2019 Labour voters currently stands at 43%, roughly halfway between the 56% of Labour’s own leader, Keir Starmer, and the 32% of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. As the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold and Sunak and Starmer spend more time in their current roles, our polling will show whether Sunak’s relative popularity among Labour voters persists, or whether it ends alongside the eventual winding down of the furlough scheme.
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.
 We have slightly altered this question such that it is no longer specific to the coronavirus crisis