Sunak and Starmer Monthly Polling Report Card (February 2024)

March 1, 2024
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | Conservative Party | GB Politics | Keir Starmer | Labour Party | Rishi Sunak | UK Elections | Voting Intention

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With the next UK General Election drawing ever closer, the Conservative Party continues to languish a distant second to Labour across all our regular trackers. 

True, the Conservatives have narrowed Labour’s national poll lead by three points in comparison to the end of last month. But that still leaves Labour, just months away from a General Election, with a national poll lead of 20%. Polling at just 23%, the Conservatives vote share is now just two points above the lowest the party has recorded in our polling since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister (achieved this month).

Only 47% of 2019 Conservative voters in Great Britain now say they would vote for the party if a General Election were held tomorrow, with 18% of Conservative voters at the last election now saying they would vote for Reform UK, while 16% say they would vote for Labour. 

It is much the same story in the Red Wall, where Labour now holds a 24% lead. The Conservatives vote share in the Red Wall has dropped to its lowest figure since Sunak became Prime Minister (25%). The Conservatives current share of the vote in the Red Wall is not only 22% lower than in the 2019 General Election—when the party made its breakthrough in these historic Labour heartlands—but is also lower than it achieved in any of the 2017 (41%), 2015 (29%), or 2010 (29%) General Elections.

Labour also holds massive, double digit advantages over the Conservatives in both Wales (23%) and Scotland (16%), while extending its lead to seven points in the traditionally Conservative ‘Blue Wall’ (37% vs 30%), the party’s largest lead in these seats since early July 2023.

As if the situation for the party as a whole was not bleak enough, Rishi Sunak’s personal approval ratings are plumbing new depths, setting new record or joint-record lows in three of our five trackers this month.

Nationally, Sunak’s current approval rating of -26%, with 26% approving and 52% disapproving of his job performance, is the lowest approval rating he has ever recorded in our polling as either Prime Minister or Chancellor of the Exchequer

In Scotland, his rating of -34% is the lowest he has ever recorded in our polling there, while his Red Wall rating (-25%) is the joint-lowest he has recorded. His -9% rating in the Blue Wall, meanwhile, is only one point above his record low in those seats.

On the question of who would be the better Prime Minister, Keir Starmer now leads Rishi Sunak in all five of our regular tracker polls, having opened up a six-point lead in the Blue Wall (39% vs 33%) where last month the two men were tied.  

Although Starmer’s nationwide lead over Sunak has narrowed slightly to 13 points (42% vs 29%), he now leads by record margins in both Scotland (27%) and Wales (23%).

Notwithstanding the positive overall polling picture for Labour, underscored by the party’s victories in the by-elections in Wellingborough and Kingswood, February has been a difficult month for Keir Starmer. 

The Labour leader has faced criticism over his decisions to water down Labour’s £28bn commitment to a ‘Green Transformation Fund,’ to support and then abandon Labour’s candidate in the Rochdale by-election over comments he had made about Israel, and to meet with Speaker Lindsay Hoyle before a chaotic Commons votes on backing a ceasefire in Gaza.

In the wake of these events, Starmer’s national net approval has fallen seven points to +2%, his lowest rating nationally since 14 May 2023. His Red Wall rating is also down four points to -3%, his joint-lowest approval rating in these seats since 4 September 2022.

Starmer’s ratings have also fallen in both Scotland and Wales.

Despite the Labour leader’s anaemic personal ratings, it is Prime Minister Sunak who ends yet another month in worse shape than his Labour opponent. With time fast running out, next week’s budget now presents itself as perhaps the last, remaining opportunity for Sunak and his Government to set out some new ideas before the next election.

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. Follow us on Twitter

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