Good Thursday Afternoon,

It’s time to take a look at the polls! In this week’s issue of Magnified, we take an in-depth look at the abysmal latest polling for Liz Truss & Kwasi Kwarteng.

This week, our research also covered:

  • The Government’s U-Turn Towards Incompetence
  • Support for Proportional Representation
  • Labour Moving on From Brexit

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
(5 October):

Labour 52% (–)
Conservative 24% (–)
Liberal Democrat 10% (–)
Green 5% (–)
SNP 4% (-1)
Reform UK 3% (–)
Other 1% (–)

Changes +/- 2 October

All Net Approval Ratings
(5 October):

Keir Starmer: +7% (+1)
Liz Truss: -44% (-11)
Kwasi Kwarteng: -44% (-14)

Changes +/- 2 October

After months in which the Conservatives’ voting intention results had never dropped below 30%, even during the worst of Boris Johnson’s scandals, we wrote in Magnified two weeks ago that it appeared that the Conservatives’ support had reached its floor. 

Noting that the Government’s net competency rating was approaching what it was before the party-gate scandal, we even had the temerity to write that in changing their Prime Minister, the Conservatives had sort of hit the reset button—though they still had a long way to go.

How suddenly things can change in politics.

Little did we know, the floor of 30% support that the Conservatives stood upon had become so structurally unsound that any too sudden, too strong, too injudicious of a movement could precipitate its collapse. 

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng had to walk a very fine line, a precarious path, in order to rebuild trust for the Conservative Party after Johnson. Instead, they made a run for it with a poorly executed mini budget, and the floor gave way.

In our two virtually identical voting intention results this week, the Labour Party leads by an astonishing 28%, up from 17%. Only half of those who voted Conservative in 2019 (52% in yesterday’s poll, 47% on Sunday) say they would vote Conservative again in a General Election. Somewhere around a fifth to a quarter (20% on Sunday, 23% yesterday), meanwhile, say they would switch their vote to Labour.

If these two poll results were replicated in a General Election, the Labour Party would easily win by a landslide. All the historically Labour seats that the Conservatives won in 2019 would revert back to Labour (our polling finds Labour leading by 38% in these constituencies), and then some more, many more.

Above all, the public standing of Truss and Kwarteng has collapsed entirely. Both of their approval ratings now stand at -44%, far worse than any approval rating that we had recorded for their predecessors Johnson and Sunak. Among those who voted Conservative in 2019, Liz Truss’ approval rating stands at -24%. Kwasi Kwarteng’s is even worse, at -39%. Dire figures.

For context, Boris Johnson never had a negative approval rating among those who voted Conservative in 2019. At most, a third of 2019 Conservative voters (35%)—a nonetheless very high figure—disapproved of his performance. At this moment, half of those who voted Conservative in 2019 (49%) disapprove of Liz Truss’ performance.

In head-to-head polling, Keir Starmer now leads Liz Truss by 20% (44% to 24%), a lead far greater than any lead he had held over Boris Johnson. Truss’ lead over Starmer among those who voted Conservative in 2019 is just 14% (42% to 28%), less than half the size of Johnson’s lowest lead over Starmer (31%).

While Truss & Kwarteng have certainly shot themselves in the feet and now poll worse than Johnson & Sunak ever did, it is important to note that their problems are not entirely attributable to their mini budget. Before Truss became Prime Minister in September, more than 60% of Britons said their financial position had worsened in the previous months. 

At the beginning of this year, 1 British pound was worth 1.35 US dollars. When Liz Truss became Prime Minister on 6 September, it was worth 1.16 US dollars.

Altogether, of the 76% of Britons who say they think the UK economy is now in a bad state, 66% find Boris Johnson & Rishi Sunak’s economic policies ‘significantly’ or ‘fairly’ to blame for this bad state, compared to 64% who say the same regarding Truss & Kwarteng’s economic policies—virtually identical figures.

When all voters (even the 8% who think the economy is in a good state) are asked who they deem most responsible for the current state of the UK economy, voters lean slightly more to Johnson & Sunak than to Truss & Kwarteng (40% to 34%).

Supporters of former Chancellor and Conservative Party leadership contender Rishi Sunak, who himself stayed away from this week’s conference in Birmingham, may think the Party Membership merely made the wrong choice in leader. They place the blame for this collapse in the Conservative Party’s support on Truss and Kwarteng. But the results to the latter two questions suggest that the Conservative Party’s problems are deeper and have been for a long time coming.

Data Tables

Chart of the Week

Two weeks ago, the percentage of Britons saying the UK Government was incompetent had dropped to 42%, approaching what it was before the ‘party-gate’ scandal began in early December last year. In the space of two weeks, this figure is fast approaching its worst ever under Boris Johnson. Quite a U-turn, that one.

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

Labour delegates back motion calling on party to back PR
The Guardian | 26 September 2022

OUR TAKE: The Labour Party conference backed a motion in support of changing the UK’s electoral system from first-past-the-post to one of proportional representation. Even in the electorally salient ‘Red Wall’ seats that the Conservatives won in the 2019 election (i.e., where voters have significant influence), support for PR is strong. 43% would support a switch to proportional representation, while just 12% would oppose.

Keir Starmer vows to deliver promises of Brexit in bid to win back angry Leave voters who abandoned Labour
iNews | 27 September 2022

OUR TAKE: Keir Starmer, former Shadow Secretary State for Exiting the European Union, who once strongly supported a second referendum, acknowledged Leave voters’ cry “for economic change” and their desire for “democratic control over their lives.” Even as a majority of the public would vote to re-join the EU if there were a referendum today, this decision to let Brexit lie is a wise one. When asked whether Labour should campaign to join the EU, 43% of the public say no, compared to 37% who say yes.

R&WS in the Media

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

Tory voters ‘prefer higher interest rates’
The Telegraph | 1 October 2022

Liz Truss ‘loses control’ of party discipline after tax U-turn
The Yorkshire Post | 5 October 2022

Labour Holds on to Strongest Poll Lead for More Than Two Decades
Bloomberg | 5 October 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. Liz Truss’ approval rating as PM is now lower than Boris Johnson’s lowest ever approval rating (-31%). (see full tweet)
  2. Truss vs Starmer (2 October): Starmer leads Truss on ALL attributes: (see full tweet)
  3. Which party do Britons trust the most to manage the economy? (25 September) (see full tweet)
  4. Starmer leads Truss by 25% in the Red Wall. (see full tweet)
  5. Tied lowest % to say ‘competent.’ Government Competency Rating (2 October): (see full tweet)

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