With just over two weeks until the next Conservative leader is revealed, Opinium’s latest poll reveals the public is not particularly enamoured with the two potential candidates, as 44% would choose neither when asked who would make the best Prime Minister.
Just over a fifth (22%) would choose Rishi Sunak, while 19% would choose Liz Truss.
Truss’s figures have dropped since Opinium last asked this on the 3rd of October, where Truss led by 27% compared to Sunak on 20%. This is being driven by a drop in support among 2019 Conservative voters. 43% of current Conservative voters would choose Truss compared to 52% a fortnight ago.
On the other hand, Sunak has seen a slight increase in support among current Conservative voters with 31% choosing him this week compared to 28% a fortnight a go.
If the public had to choose between Truss and Keir Starmer as the best Prime Minister, 31% would pick Starmer while 23% would choose Truss. This is a reverse of a fortnight ago where 29% chose Truss compared to 28% who chose Starmer.
When choosing between Starmer and Sunak, 29% said Starmer would be the better PM compared to 23% who chose Sunak. This remains fairly unchanged from a fortnight ago, where 28% chose Starmer compared to 24% who chose Sunak.
On overall voting intention, Labour has taken an 8-point lead with 39% of the vote share (+2 since 3rd August), while the Conservatives drop down to 31% (-3). This is the highest lead Labour has gained in Opinium’s polls since the introduction of the current methodology in February.
Imminent energy price rises
With Ofgem set to announce the latest energy price cap next week, Opinium’s polls shows that a quarter (25%) already can’t afford their current bills or can only afford them by cutting back on essential spending or falling behind on other essential bills. Over two in five (43%) say they can fit their current energy bills into their budget, but it’s tight, while 26% can easily afford their energy bills.
Two-fifths (40%) would not be able to afford their bills at all or have to cut back on essential spend or fall behind on other essential bills if the energy price cap rises to £3,500 in October, and 33% say they would be able to afford it but it would be tight. Only 21% said they could easily afford such a rise in energy prices.
Almost two-thirds (62%) support Labour’s proposed policy of freezing the energy price cap at £1,971 with government covering the rest of the cost – with over half (56%) of 2019 Conservative voters also supporting such a policy. Further to this, 67% think the government should be providing just as much or almost as much support for those who are struggling as they did during the pandemic.
Cost of living struggles
A fifth (24%) describe their current financial situation as struggling – increasing from 21% a month ago. Two in five (40%) say they are coping (-7). Over the next year, the majority (52%) expect their personal finances to worsen.
Adam Drummond, head of political and social research at Opinium, said, “After four weeks of putting their case to the country, the Conservatives will be incredibly concerned that their two leadership candidates seem to be falling flat with thee voters.
“Now not only do 44% of voters believe neither Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss would be the best prime minister, but the cost of living crisis continues unabated with Labour starting to make an impact.
“Whoever the next prime minister turns out to be, they will have to work hard to regain the momentum from the opposition on dealing with the financial hit facing households this winter.”