Good Thursday Afternoon,

It’s time to take a look at the polls! This week’s issue of Magnified is a short one, in which we cover: 

  • Our latest voting intention and approval ratings
  • UK’s support for Ukraine relative to other countries
  • Partisan views of the RMT rail union strike
  • Awareness of the UK Government’s climate change policies

If you would like to find out more about how Redfield & Wilton Strategies can help your organisation succeed through polling and strategic advice, click here.

Westminster Insights

Westminster Voting Intention
(1 June):

Labour 39% (-4)
Conservative 33% (-3)
Liberal Democrat 12% (+2)
Green 6% (+1)
Scottish National Party 4% (+1)
Reform UK 4% (+2)
Other 1% (-1)

Changes +/- 29 May

All Net Approval Ratings
(1 June):

Keir Starmer: -6% (-2)
Rishi Sunak: -12% (-1)
Boris Johnson: -24% (-1)

Changes +/- 29 May

Our voting intention polling has returned to a 6% lead for Labour. Altogether, our results appear virtually the same as on 22 May, before the release of Sue Gray’s report.

Last Thursday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced several measures intended to help Britons amidst the cost-of-living crisis, including a purportedly ‘one-off’ windfall tax on the profits of energy companies and a number of new handouts to those struggling totalling £15 billion.

Following this announcement, Sunak’s approval rating has risen slightly from -17% and -16% last week to -11% and -12% this week. In addition, the percentage of respondents who say no, the Government is not taking the right measures to address the cost-of-living crisis has declined modestly from 70% last Wednesday to 63% this Wednesday.

Still, the percentage of respondents who say the government is not taking the right measures is three times the percentage that say the government is taking the right measures (21%).

In part, this lack of substantial improvement may merely be because the public is waiting to see these additional measures implemented.

But, as we have written before, there is another explanation for this lack of substantial improvement. While the Government may be taking publicly supported measures to help those struggling amidst the rising cost of living, the Government is still not taking measures that will address the root causes of this crisis. 

This inaction stems from two beliefs apparently entrenched in the highest levels of this Government: 

  1. that the Government and its Central Bank are unable to do anything that will lower inflation; in other words, they are ‘helpless’
  2. that high inflation, having been caused by ‘temporary’ shocks such as the war in Ukraine and supply chain issues elsewhere in the world, will be temporary and short term

Yet, while the British public may be amenable to the explanation that external factors have contributed to the cost-of-living crisis, the public does still hold the Government to blame to a considerable extent (47% even say the crisis was preventable rather than inevitable) and, more importantly, is firmly sceptical of the claim that neither the Government nor the Bank of England can do anything to address inflation itself. 

Furthermore, the pessimistic public is at odds with this Government on the question of whether inflation is short term (51% disagree, 19% agree).

As a result, even as the Government fails to see how or why it should act on inflation, the public is clearly expecting action.

For this reason, Boris Johnson’s and Rishi Sunak’s approval ratings remain firmly negative. 

Data Tables

Chart of the Week

As the war in Ukraine stretches onwards, divisions are emerging among Ukraine’s supporters in Europe about how to proceed. Germany and France have notably become increasingly wary of a longer-term war of attrition that will perpetuate the economic ripples of the conflict felt around the world. Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron have thus increasingly pushed for peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.

The United Kingdom, by contrast, remains a steadfast supporter of the Ukrainian cause, wholly committed to the objective that Russia must fail and must be seen to fail in Ukraine. As a result of this deep commitment, the belief that the United Kingdom has done more than its European counterparts to help Ukraine has risen. 

43% of the public now believe the UK has done more to help Ukraine than other European countries, fifteen percentage points higher than thoughts so at the end of March (28%). Furthermore, 47%, up from 39% at the end of March, agree that the UK has been an international leader in the international effort to oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Whereas 37% of the public at the end of March identified from a list of countries Poland as the country that had done the most to help Ukraine, followed by the United Kingdom at 16%, these figures are now reversed. 40% believe the UK has done the most to help Ukraine, followed by 20% who identify Poland. In addition, while 7% in March believed the US had done the most, 13% now say so regarding the US.

Hire Us: If you are a business, campaign, or research organisation looking to expand your understanding of public opinion, Redfield & Wilton Strategies has the tools to help. Get in touch to find out more.

Perspective: The R&WS Take on the News

Rail strike: RMT union votes for national action
BBC | 24 May 2022

OUR TAKE: Rail workers that are part of the RMT Union have voted to go on strike unless their wage demands are met. The public’s views broadly follow a partisan pattern. Among those who voted Conservative in 2019, 49% are in opposition to the strike compared to 26% who support it. By contrast, 48% of those who voted Labour in 2019 support the strike while just 14% oppose it. Altogether, a small plurality of the British public (35%) say they support the strike while 29% say they are opposed to it.

‘Cash, coal, cars and trees’: what progress has been made since Cop26?
The Guardian | 14 May 2022

OUR TAKE: The crisis of climate change has notably taken a backseat in British news. Just 17% of respondents to our polling say they have heard a significant amount about climate change in the news in the past month. By comparison, 66% say they have heard a significant amount about the cost-of-living crisis. More notably, whereas 53% of members of the British public in October, during Cop26, said they were ‘moderately’ (39%) or ‘very’ (14%) aware of the measures the UK Government is taking to address climate change, 35% the same this week (7% ‘very’ aware; 28% ‘moderately’ aware).

R&WS in the Media

Each week we bring you the top stories from the media that have featured our research.

Two-Thirds Of Tory Voters Believe Financial Situation Will Worsen Over Next Year
Politics Home | 2 June 2022

Poll: voters pick VAT cut over windfall tax
The Spectator | 29 May 2022

Rishi Sunak: bowing to pressure may sink him further
Financial Times | 29 May 2022

Are you a journalist needing a stat for your latest piece? We can be your resource—our polling covers hundreds of issues in multiple countries each week. If you are working on an article on a topical issue, chances are we have already asked the public about it. Get in touch and we’ll share our polling data with you!

Our Research on Social Media

Top 5 Tweets This Week

  1. Between the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, which party do Britons associate with the following characteristics: Advocates for lower taxes? (28 May): (see full tweet)
  2. Do Britons believe the Gov’t is currently taking the right measures to address the cost-of-living crisis? (29 May): (see full tweet)
  3. Do Britons most associate the current Labour Party with raising taxes, lowering taxes, or neither? (28 May): (see full tweet)
  4. Lowest approval rating for Johnson since invasion of Ukraine. (25 May): (see full tweet)
  5. Keir Starmer Approval Rating (25 May): (see full tweet)

Have a question or want to know more about our research? Get in touch! Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

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