Good Thursday Afternoon,

It’s time to take a look at the polls! This week, we examine the lack of a poll bounce for the Conservatives from last week’s Autumn Statement.

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Westminster Insights

Westminster Voting Intention (26 November):

Labour 45% (+2)
Conservative 25% (+1)
Liberal Democrat 11% (-3)
Reform UK 10% (+3)
Green 6% (+1)
Scottish National Party 3% (-1)
Other 1% (–)

Changes +/- 19 November

Combined Net Approval Ratings (26 November):

Keir Starmer: +8% (-3)
Rishi Sunak: -17% (+3)

Changes +/- 19 November

A little over a year ago, Jeremy Hunt delivered his first Autumn Statement, the first major policy act of Rishi Sunak’s new government. 

In our first poll conducted after that statement, Labour’s lead over the Conservatives stood at a gaping 21%.

Last week, Hunt delivered his second Autumn Statement, one of the last major set-piece events left before the next election.

In our first poll conducted after this statement, Labour’s lead over the Conservatives in our Westminster Voting Intention poll now stands at… 20%, almost exactly as it was following the Autumn Statement one year ago.

In fact, across our polling, the Conservative Party’s standing on economic questions is as dire, if not more so, than it was twelve months ago.

One year ago, Labour held an eight point lead (37% vs 29%) as the party British voters would trust the most to manage the economy. Labour’s advantage on the same question today is seven-points (34% vs 27%). The Conservatives last held a lead over Labour on the economy in July 2022.

On the cost-of-living, the single most pressing issue for many families up and down the country, an overwhelming majority (57%) continue to believe the Government is not taking the right measures to address the crisis. Twelve months ago, an almost identical 58% believed the same.

Last year, there was hope among the Conservative Party that Rishi Sunak, then viewed a bit more favourably than his party overall (but still negatively), could raise the standing of his own party to where he was.

For instance, in the week following last year’s Autumn Statement, 42% named Rishi Sunak as the person who best embodied the characteristic ‘can build a strong economy,’ against 33% who chose Starmer—in contrast to Labour’s aforementioned lead over the Conservatives on being most trusted to manage the economy.

Rather than the Conservative Party’s standing improving, however, the public’s perception of Sunak’s economic management capabilities has soured. Today, Keir Starmer leads Rishi Sunak by five points as the person British voters think ‘can build a strong economy’ (38% vs 33%).

Altogether, when voters were asked last week (before the Autumn Statement) to describe the Conservative Party’s management of the economy since coming into Government in 2010, the words that most readily came to voter’s minds included ‘poor,’ ‘terrible,’ ‘rubbish,’ ‘awful’ and other less repeatable terms.

Though delivered by his Chancellor, the two Budget Statements serve as fitting bookends to Rishi Sunak’s time as Prime Minister: the first definitively setting out a departure from Liz Truss (though much of her ‘Mini Budget’ had already been junked by then), and the second closing out Rishi Sunak’s failure to stamp his own vision on his party and win over the public.

This Autumn, the Prime Minister has attempted to revitalise his party by: 

  • Making changes to the ‘Net Zero’ agenda
  • Presenting himself as a change candidate at his party’s conference
  • Unveiling new measures to ban smoking in the future
  • Scrapping the northern leg of HS2
  • Re-shuffling his cabinet and bringing back David Cameron
  • Announcing five new “long-term decisions” (none of which are specific) to build “a brighter future for our children”
  • Reducing national insurance contributions starting next year

None of these announcements or initiatives have delivered even a modest poll boost for the Government.

In the end, with the economy consistently ranking as the top issue voters say will determine how they vote at the next election, no Conservative poll recovery can be mounted until voter’s perceptions of the party’s economic management start to improve. 

The particular failure of the Autumn Statement to shift the polls therefore closes out an entire year of failing to meaningfully move the needle.

Latest Scotland Tracker

Scottish Westminster Voting Intention (26–27 November)

Labour 36% (+4)
Scottish National Party 34% (+2)
Conservative 17% (-6)
Liberal Democrat 6% (-2)
Reform UK 3% (+1)
Green 2% (–)
Other 0% (-1)

Changes +/- 29-30 October

After several months of mounting evidence of a Labour recovery in Scotland, Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ latest monthly Scottish Westminster Voting Intention poll, released on Wednesday, finds Labour now leads the Scottish National Party in Scotland by 2%.

This poll is the first time Labour has led in our Scottish Westminster Voting Intention poll and marks only the third time Labour has led the SNP in any Westminster Voting Intention poll publicly released by any company since June 2014.

If repeated at an election, this result would mark an extraordinary turnaround from 2019, when the SNP came first in Scotland, taking 45% of the vote and 48 seats, with the Conservatives in second, winning 25% of the vote and six seats. At that election, Labour came a distant third, claiming 19% of the vote and winning only a single Scottish seat.

But in the years since, both the SNP and the Conservatives have haemorrhaged support to Labour. About one-fifth of those who voted for either the SNP (22%) or the Conservatives (21%) in 2019 now say they would vote for Labour if a General Election were held tomorrow.

With Labour attracting supporters from both sides of Scotland’s unionist/nationalist divide, the party is now in a strong position to make substantial gains in seats in Scotland. That prospect, in turn, drastically increases the chances of a Labour majority come the next election and reduces pressure on the party to flip seats in England and Wales.

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.

R&WS in the Media

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

New poll puts Labour ahead of SNP for first time
The Herald | 29 November 2023

Rishi Sunak’s great reset stalls as new poll shows Labour extending its lead to 20 points despite tax-cutting Autumn Statement
Daily Mail| 27 November 2023

People want to pay more tax in Wales to fund the NHS
Wales Online | 25 November 2023

JFK Assassination Conspiracy Viewed Completely Differently by Gen Z
Newsweek | 22 November 2023

EXCLUSIVE: Just a quarter think David Cameron will do good job as Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle flops
The Mirror | 17 November 2023

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Numbers of the Week

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