Sunak and Starmer Monthly Polling Report Card (January 2024)

February 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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As the days lengthen and spring approaches, there are as yet few signs of any green shoots of recovery in the polls for the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. 

Across our regular trackers, the picture for the Government is grim.

In January, Labour’s national lead grew to 23%, up five points from December. Polling at just 22%, the Conservatives vote share is now the lowest the party has recorded in our polling since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister

Just 47% of 2019 Conservative voters in Great Britain now say they would vote for the party if a General Election were held tomorrow, with right-wing support leaching away to the surging Reform UK (who now attract the support of 19% of 2019 Conservative voters), while more moderate supporters have moved to support Labour on the party’s left (15%). 

It is much the same story in the Red Wall, where Labour’s overall lead is unchanged from December at 20%, but the Conservatives support among their 2019 voters has collapsed to the point where only 50% of the party’s voters at the last election would vote for them today. 

Labour also holds massive, double digit advantages over the Conservatives in both Wales (28%, a new record lead in our Welsh polling) and Scotland (18%), while maintaining a narrow, one point advantage in the traditionally Conservative ‘Blue Wall’ (31% vs 30%).

It now seems a long time ago that Sunak’s popularity ratings were higher than those of his party. His personal approval ratings are firmly in negative territory in all five of our regular trackers. Minor recoveries in his standing nationally, in Scotland, and in the Blue Wall cannot mask the overall dire state of his approval generally, with this month’s rating of -38% in Wales the lowest he has held since we began our Welsh tracker in April 2023.

On the question of who would be the better Prime Minister, Keir Starmer continues to lead Rishi Sunak in four of our five regular tracker polls

Starmer’s nationwide lead over Sunak has widened to 14 points (44% vs 30%) having been as narrow as seven points at the end of December. His lead in the Red Wall has also widened by five points to now stand at 12% (42% vs 30%). Starmer has also taken away Sunak’s lead in the Blue Wall, where the two men are now tied at 36% each.

For Starmer himself, Labour’s overall polling position remains strong, and his personal approval ratings remain in positive territory in all five of our trackers.

Across Great Britain as a whole, Starmer’s net approval has increased to +9%, up five points from December. In the Red Wall, meanwhile, his rating increases four points from December to re-enter positive territory and an overall rating of +1%. 

However, Starmer’s ratings have fallen to +1% in both the Blue Wall and in Wales.

As has been the case for months, however, it is Rishi Sunak who ends a month in worse shape than his Labour opponent. 

Despite clearing the legislative hurdle of the Rwanda vote in the Commons and seeming to have brokered a deal with the DUP to restore the devolved administration in Northern Ireland, fears of an electoral wipeout continue to cause disquiet among Conservative MPs, with Simon Clarke MP breaking ranks to call for Sunak to step down before the next election.

That call was not heeded by Sunak, and Clarke was roundly condemned by many of his colleagues for airing his disquiet in public.

But such public declarations do little to reverse the public’s impression that the Prime Minister has little grip on his party. His continued failure to reverse the party’s poll woes will only make his authority over his colleagues even more tenuous.

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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