Sunak and Starmer Monthly Polling Report Card (October 2023)

November 2, 2023
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | Conservative Party | GB Politics | Keir Starmer | Labour Party | Rishi Sunak | UK Elections | Voting Intention

Share this research:

Our Most Recent Research

After a month that saw both major parties hold their annual party conferences, the Labour Party currently enjoys a 20% cushion over the Conservatives nationally (an improvement of five points on where things stood at the end of September) and is now neck-and-neck with the SNP in Scotland. In the ‘Red Wall’ seats in the north and midlands of England, Labour has extended its advantage by two points to 16%, while its lead in Wales is a thumping 20%

Some brighter news for Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives is offered in the ‘Blue Wall,’ where the party has regained the lead over Labour to now hold a 4% advantage in these seats (36% vs 32%), the largest lead for the Conservatives in these traditional heartland seats since we began our Blue Wall tracker last October.

However, at the last election, the Conservatives won these seats with 50% of the vote, a full 29-points ahead of Labour (21%), who were beaten into third place by the Liberal Democrats (27%). A General Election result that delivered only a four-point win for the Conservatives in these seats would still be a dramatic fall from 2019, and would be enough to cost many Blue Wall Conservative MPs their seats.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s approval rating holds steady nationally to remain at -14%, while his standing in both the Blue Wall (+4%, +2%) and in Scotland (19%, +8) has improved since last month. In the Red Wall, the Prime Minister’s rating has fallen by four points since September to -15%.

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 is now fourteen points (44% vs 30%), up five points from the end of September, while his lead in the Red Wall is also up by three points to now stand at 9% (42% vs 33%). Outside of England, he leads Sunak by double digits in both Scotland (40% vs 30%) and Wales (44% vs 30%).

Rishi Sunak has, however, extended his lead over Starmer in the Blue Wall by one point from last month (40% vs 36%).

For Keir Starmer, October was a good month poll-wise, but a challenging month for his leadership, as he faced (and continues to face) considerable opposition to his refusal to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas from within his party, including from shadow cabinet members, the Labour leader in Scotland, and the mayors of London and Manchester

So far, the intra-party dispute does not appear to have damaged Starmer’s standing with the public. His personal approval rating is in positive territory in all five of our regular trackers (having turned around his negative rating in Wales from last month) while he maintains his healthy advantage over Rishi Sunak nationally in their personal head-to-head.

Nationally, his net approval now stands at +10%, up one point from last month, while his ratings in all four other trackers has also improved from last month, leaving him now holding double-digit net positive ratings not only nationally, but in the Red Wall (+12%, +5) and Scotland (+11%, +4) too.

After the failure of both his net zero and party conference speeches to shift the polls, Rishi Sunak must hope that Jeremy Hunt’s forthcoming Autumn Statement can deliver a much needed poll boost to the embattled Government. Otherwise, as the year approaches its end, Keir Starmer and Labour remain in pole position.

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

Share this research:

Our Most Recent Research