New polling by Ipsos in the UK shows almost two-thirds (64%) of Britons now believe things in this country are heading in the wrong directions while only 1 in 5 (21%) say things are heading the right way.
The 64% saying things are heading in the wrong direction is the highest number since the last General Election.
Those who voted for the Conservatives in 2019 are more likely to say things are going the right way, but only slightly. Three in 10 (29%) say things are heading in the right direction while a majority disagree (54%). On the other hand, three-quarters (74%) of Labour voters from 2019 say the country is heading in the wrong direction.
The two Conservative leadership candidates, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, appear to be neck-and-neck in terms of public favourability as we near the leadership election finish line. Both are seen favourably by around a quarter of Britons (25% Sunak, 23% Truss), increasing to just over a third of 2019 Conservative voters (37% Sunak, 36% Truss).
46% of the general public are unfavourable towards Sunak and 45% towards Truss.
This means Sunak has an overall net favourability rating of -21 while Truss scores -22 among the general public.
Looking at other politicians:
- Labour leader Keir Starmer enjoys the best net favourability rating of -12, with 29% positive towards him and 41% unfavourable.
- The outgoing Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is viewed just as favourably as Starmer (29%) however a majority view him unfavourably (53%), making his net rating -24.
- Nadim Zahawi, Chancellor of the Exchequer, scores a relatively good net rating of -18, however this is likely due to the high proportion of people who don’t know who he is. 43% are neutral on the Chancellor or say they don’t know if they are favourable or not.
- Priti Patel scores the lowest with a rating of -32 of the politicians on our list, 1 in 5 (19%) see her favourably which 51% are unfavourable.
Looking at political parties:
- A third view the Labour Party favourably (34%) while 4 in 10 disagree (41%) giving them a rating of -7 (up from -12 last month).
- The Conservative Party have the lowest rating with -19, 29% view them positively, up from 22% in July, while half (48%) are unfavourable (down from 52%).
- Around a quarter (27%) view the Green Party favourably, 31% unfavourable, while a similar proportion are positive about the Liberal Democrats (25%), 36% are unfavourable.
Impact of Brexit
Around half of Britons say the UK’s decision to leave the European Union has had a negative impact on the country (48%, +1 pt from July) while 3 in 10 say the impact has been positive (31%, +4 pts). Around 1 in 7 say it has made no difference (16%, -2 pts).
Looking back at the performance of the Johnson government, the public are more likely to think the government have done a bad job, rather than a good job, across a range of measures. The public are most negative about the government’s performance on improving living standards for those on low incomes (57%) and improving Britain’s economy generally (55%).
When we compare scores to the last time we asked these statements in July 2021 the most notable shifts include:
- A 17 pt increase in the proportion that think the government have done a bad job in setting the right level of taxation (33% to 50%),
- A 16 pt increase in the proportion of Britons that think the government have done a bad job improving Britain’s economy (39% to 55%),
- And a 14 pt increase in the proportion that think the government have done a bad job at ‘improving my own standard of living (35% to 49%)
Keiran Pedley, Director of Politics at Ipsos, said, “These numbers show the difficult political environment the new Prime Minister will inherit next week.
“With two in three Britons thinking things are heading in the wrong direction and significant concerns about the economy and cost of living clear, the next occupant of Number 10 will need to hit the ground running to reassure the public that they can deal with the various challenges Britain faces.”
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