New polling from Ipsos in the UK, taken 13 and on 14 November, explored the public response to David Cameron’s appointment as Foreign Secretary and Suella Braverman’s removal as Home Secretary.
The research examined what the public thought of Cameron’s record in government and the impact his new appointment might have on the Conservatives fortunes in government and at the next General Election.
Public reaction to Braverman sacking and Cameron / Cleverly appointments
Seven in ten (70%) think the removal of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was the right decision. Fewer than one in five say it was wrong. Six in ten (60%) 2019 Conservative voters think it was the right decision.
The public are more split on the appointment of David Cameron as Foreign Secretary but lean negative. Almost half (46%) think it was the wrong decision, with more than a third saying it was the right decision (35%) and the rest not having a view one way or the other or saying they don’t know.
2019 Conservatives were more likely to say the decision was right (48%) than wrong (39%). 2019 Liberal Democrats are divided between 40% right and 39% wrong.
The jury is out on the appointment of James Cleverly as Home Secretary with almost half saying it was neither right nor wrong (32%) or saying they don’t know (16%).
David Cameron’s record in government
Six in ten (62%) think David Cameron’s government did a bad job managing the UK’s relationship with the EU and 53% think it did a bad job improving public services and managing immigration. Meanwhile only around one in four think his government did a good job managing the economy (27%), running the country competently (27%) and managing foreign affairs (25%).
Rishi Sunak’s current Conservative government is looked upon even less favourably by the public overall. 76% say it is doing bad job on immigration (Cameron govt: 53%), 69% say it is doing a bad job improving public services (Cameron govt: 53%) and 63% say it is doing a bad job running the country competently or managing the economy (Cameron govt: 46% and 43%)
2019 Conservative voters are more positive on the record of Cameron’s government overall, 50% think Cameron’s government did a good job running the country competently (25% bad job), 49% say it did a good job managing the economy (24% bad job) and 41% say it did a good job managing foreign affairs (26% bad job).
However, 2019 Conservatives are much less positive on the record of Cameron’s government on UK-EU relations. 52% say his government did a bad job here and 26% say good job. 57% say it did a bad job managing immigration and 12% say good job.
Impact of Cameron appointment
The public are split on whether Cameron’s appointment as Foreign Secretary will improve Britain’s standing in the world. 29% say it will have a positive impact, 27% say negative and 39% say it won’t make any difference.
The public are slightly more likely to think the appointment will have a positive impact on the level of competence in the current government (32%) as say it will make a negative impact (27%). 43% of 2019 Conservative voters and 39% of 2019 Liberal Democrats think it will have a positive impact.
However, fewer than one in five (18%) think this appointment will have a positive impact on the Conservatives chances at the next General Election, including just on in four 2019 Conservative voters (25%).
Are Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer strong or weak leaders?
55% of Britons think Rishi Sunak is a weak leader, 22% say he is a strong leader, whilst37% think Keir Starmer is a weak leader, 30% say he is a strong leader.
Ipsos Director of Politics Keiran Pedley said, “The appointment of David Cameron as Foreign Secretary appears to divide opinion – although those voting Conservative in 2019 are more positive.
“The public hold generally unfavourable views of his time in office, especially regarding UK-EU relations, public services and how his government managed immigration. In this context, it is perhaps not surprising that whilst some target voters feel he will improve the competency of the current government (including 4 in 10 2019 LibDem voters), few think his appointment will have a significant positive impact on the Conservatives’ prospects at the next General Election.”