Sunak and Starmer Monthly Polling Report Card (March 2024)

April 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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At the end of February, the immediate challenge for the Government was to produce a Spring Budget that could turn the narrative tide and offer the public compelling reasons to re-elect the Conservatives for another term in office.

As it was, the budget was a dud.

After another torrid month of polling, the Conservative Party has fallen further behind Labour in our headline national tracker, while also falling to new or joint-record lows in Westminster Voting Intention polling in four of our five regular trackers.

Labour’s national poll lead now stands at 24%. Polling at just 22%, the Conservatives vote share is now just one point above the lowest the party has recorded in our polling since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, a mark they reached in the middle of March.

Only 42% of 2019 Conservative voters in Great Britain now say they would vote for the party if a General Election were held tomorrow, with 21% of Conservative voters at the last election now saying they would vote for Reform UK, while 20% say they would vote for Labour. 

It is much the same story in the Red Wall, where Labour maintains its 24% lead from last month, and the Conservatives’ vote share has dropped to its lowest figure since Sunak became Prime Minister (24%). Reform UK, fresh from enticing Red Wall MP Lee Anderson to defect, is now polling at a record high of 16% in these seats.

Nor are things any better in the Blue Wall seats of southern England, where Labour led by 9% at the start of the month—a record lead for them in this area—before closing the month with a lead of 8%. The Conservatives are now polling at a record low (26%) in the Blue Wall, two points below their worst vote share under Liz Truss, placing many longtime senior MPs at risk of defeat come the next election.

In Wales—where Labour now leads the Conservative by 33%—the Conservatives (16%) are now polling just one point ahead of Reform UK (15%), and currently retain the support of only 37% of their 2019 voters in Wales.

And in Scotland, where the Conservatives polled ahead of Labour in both 2017 and 2019, the party is now a distant third (16%), relegated to the role of spectator while Labour and the SNP (currently tied at 34% each) battle it out for supremacy.

Grim and all as those numbers are for his party, Rishi Sunak may be even more stung by the state of his personal approval ratings, which now sit at new or joint-record lows in three of our five trackers.

Nationally, Sunak’s current approval rating of -21% is a five point improvement from his record low set last month, but hardly suggests a Prime Minister who is managing to turn around the public’s low opinion of him. 

In the Blue Wall, Sunak hit a new low on 3 March of -19% before recovering slightly to end the month on -17%. Meanwhile, Sunak’s ratings remain unchanged and thus at joint-record lows in both Scotland (-34%) and the Red Wall (-25%).

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 record lead in the Blue Wall (39% vs 31%).  

Starmer’s nationwide lead over Sunak has lengthened slightly to 14 points (43% vs 29%), while he now leads by 13% in the Red Wall (41% vs 28%). And while his advantages in both Scotland (20%) and Wales (18%) have narrowed slightly, they still remain yawning.

For Keir Starmer and Labour, March has been a month in which their position in the polls has continued to strengthen, even while internal issues fester over the party’s stance on the war in Gaza. 

The latest reminders of the low-level mutiny Starmer faces over his position towards the conflict came with the announcement by twenty Labour Councillors that they were leaving the party, in addition to news that the party has lost more than 20,000 members since January.

Nevertheless, Starmer’s national net approval has risen by eight points over the course of March to now stand at +10%, his best ‘end of month’ rating since last October. His ratings in both the Blue Wall (+2%) and Wales (-2%) remain unchanged, while he has slipped to his lowest rating in Scotland (-1%) since June 2023.

Ultimately, however, the Labour leader’s current difficulties are far less significant politically in comparison to the seeming implosion of the Conservatives under Rishi Sunak.

As we have argued repeatedly over the last year and more, Governments lose elections, oppositions don’t win them. On that basis, the only mysteries about the next election appear to be the timing and the depth of the Conservatives’ defeat.

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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