Rishi Sunak has been Chancellor of the Exchequer for over one year, during which time he has presented two budgets containing extensive measures to mitigate the economic crisis induced by the coronavirus pandemic. Since March 2020, Rishi Sunak has consistently seen higher net approval ratings than both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer, with the latest poll by Redfield & Wilton Strategies placing his current net approval rating at +31%.
49% of the British public approves of Rishi Sunak’s overall job performance since he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, while under a fifth (18%) disapprove. A quarter (27%) of respondents neither approve nor disapprove of Rishi Sunak’s performance as Chancellor.
Among respondents who voted Conservative in the 2019 Election, 72% approve of Rishi Sunak’s job performance as Chancellor of the Exchequer. A plurality of Labour voters neither approve nor disapprove (36%), whereas 31% approve and 27% disapprove.
Approval of Rishi Sunak’s performance is highest among those aged 65 and over (63%) and 55 to 64 (52%) and is notably lower among those aged 18 to 24 (28%). Among these 18-to-24-year-olds, a plurality (36%) neither approve nor disapprove.
Given his considerable popularity, many have speculated that Rishi Sunak may one day be a potential candidate for Prime Minister. To that point, around half (48%) of Britons agree that Rishi Sunak looks like someone who will one day be Prime Minister. A fifth of respondents disagree (20%) or neither agree nor disagree (23%).
A majority of 2019 Conservative voters (61%) and Liberal Democrat voters (62%) agree that Rishi Sunak looks like someone who will one day be Prime Minister, along with a plurality of Labour voters (39%). That being said, a close 36% of Labour voters disagree.
A majority (50% to 55%) of respondents from the three eldest age groups and a plurality (38% to 47%) from the three youngest age groups agree that Rishi Sunak looks like someone who will be Prime Minister.
A smaller proportion—but still a plurality (38%)—of respondents say they could see themselves voting for the Conservative Party under Rishi Sunak, including 65% of Conservative voters, 32% of Liberal Democrat voters, and 22% of Labour voters.
Although Rishi Sunak’s net approval rating is considerably higher than Boris Johnson’s, only 27% of respondents believe Rishi Sunak would at this moment be a better Prime Minister for the UK than Boris Johnson. A plurality (43%) thinks Boris Johnson is currently the better option for Prime Minister between him and Sunak—though a substantial 30% say they don’t know.
A plurality of all age groups believe at this moment, Boris Johnson is a better Prime Minister than Rishi Sunak would be, as do 69% of 2019 Conservative voters. Those who believe Rishi Sunak would be a better Prime Minister than Boris Johnson include 20% of Conservative voters, 34% of Labour voters, and 44% of Liberal Democrat voters.
While it seems much of the British public has high hopes for Rishi Sunak’s future on Downing Street, his time has not yet come in their eyes, with the consensus among Conservative voters being that Boris Johnson is presently the better option. Still, in his current role, Rishi Sunak enjoys widespread approval, and the majority of both Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters who say that he looks like someone who will one day be Prime Minister could indicate a potential for Rishi Sunak to gain diverse support in any future election he may run in.
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.