New research by Ipsos, taken 20 to 21 July, asked the public how closely they were following the Conservative leadership contest, how much they knew about the final two candidates, whether each would be a good or bad Prime Minister.
Also who would be most likely to win a General Election and whether they would do a better job in government than Boris Johnson’s Conservative government.
Similar questions were asked about Labour leader Keir Starmer too.
Would Sunak or Truss be more likely to win a General Election?
- When asked who would be most likely to help the Conservative Party win the next General Election if they were elected leader 36% of the British public said Rishi Sunak and 19% said Liz Truss. However, 19% said both were equally likely to win and one in four said don’t know (26%).
- Among those voting Conservative in 2019, 41% think Sunak more likely to win and 29% say Truss. 13% say both equally and 17% don’t know.
Would Sunak, Truss and Starmer make a good or bad PM?
- Overall, the public are more likely to know ‘a great deal’ or ‘a fair amount’ about Rishi Sunak (57%) and Keir Starmer (50%) than Liz Truss (35%). 70% of 2019 Conservatives voters know at least a fair amount about Rishi Sunak compared to 41% for Liz Truss.
- 38% think Rishi Sunak would do a good job as PM (+1 pts since mid June), 29% say bad job (-1 pt).
- Liz Truss has improved her scores. 31% think she would do a good job as PM (+7 points), 27% say bad (+1pt).
- 35% think Keir Starmer would do a good job (+2pts) and 34% say bad (+3pts).
- 53% of those voting Conservative at the 2019 General Election think Sunak would be a good PM and 24% say bad. Fewer think Truss would do a good job (46%) but fewer say bad job too (17%).
Would they do a better job in government than Johnson?
- The public are no more likely to think a Conservative government led by Rishi Sunak would do a better job than Boris Johnson’s government (27%) than a Conservative government led by Liz Truss (24%). Around one in five think each would do a worse job (19% for both), with most saying it would make no difference (Sunak 43%, Truss 42%) or they don’t know (Sunak 11%, Truss 15%).
- There has been little movement on whether the public think a Sunak led Conservative government would do a better job than a Johnson led Conservative government since early July. 27% say it would do better (-2pts) and 19% worse (+1).
- Meanwhile, the public are split on whether a Labour government led by Starmer would do a better job than a Conservative government led by Boris Johnson. 35% said it would do a better job, 33% say worse, 21% say it would not make a difference and 11% don’t know. The public are no more or less likely to say a Starmer led government would do a better job now (35%) than in February (34%) but there has been a 7 point increase in the proportion saying it would do a worse job (26% in February to 33% now).
How closely are the public following the contest?
- 66% of Britons are following the Conservative Party leadership race closely (including 82% of those voting Conservative at the 2019 General Election).
- This is about the same proportion as are following the Russian invasion of Ukraine closely (67%). But this is less than the 84% following the rising cost of living closely or the weather. 58% are following stories about possible future public sector strikes closely, 31% the women’s Euros and 24% are following the TV show Love Island closely.
Keiran Pedley, Director of Politics at Ipsos, said, “On face value these numbers lend some credence to the idea that Rishi Sunak might fare better in a General Election than Liz Truss in the sense that the public are more likely to think he would win an election.
“However, with almost half of the public and three in ten 2019 Conservative voters unable to pick between them this point should not be overplayed. In reality, we cannot know who would fare better in a General Election because the next Prime Minister’s record in office will almost certainly play a far bigger role at the next General Election than public perceptions now.”