Following a week of change in Westminster, Opinium’s latest poll reveals Labour’s lead has fallen to its lowest level since before the party conferences.
The narrowing of the lead is because of Labour losing some vote share; Labour now has 40% (-3) of the vote share, while the Conservatives have 27% (+1).
The Liberal Democrats are on 12% (+1), SNP is on 3% (no change), the Green Party has 7% (+1) and Reform UK has 9% (no change).
Both Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak’s approval ratings have stayed steady since they both took a big hit to their ratings last week. Starmer’s net approval now sits at -10 (-1), with 29% approving and 39% disapproving, and Sunak’s net approval is now -31 (+1), with 23% approving and 54% disapproving.
Starmer also has a 5 point lead on who would make the best Prime Minister, although this is down 2 points since last week, while Sunak sees no change (27% vs 22% respectively). However, with both leaders making the headlines this week, the number picking ‘none of these’ has increased by 4 points to 40% since last week.
Rishi’s reshuffle results in mixed reviews
Opinium’s poll finds that the public has mixed feelings about the cabinet reshuffle. Over half (55%) think sacking Suella Braverman as Home Secretary was the right decision, including 52% of 2019 Conservatives voters. Indeed, when asked to describe Braverman, the most commonly selected words were extreme (25%), dishonourable (25%), and irrational (23%).
David Cameron’s re-entry into politics was also not that popular. The public tend to think appointing David Cameron as Foreign Secretary was the wrong decision (31% believe it was the right decision compared to 45% who think it was the wrong decision).
Those who voted Conservative in the 2019 election are heavily divided on the former PM’s appointment, with 41% thinking it was the right decision and the same number thinking it was the wrong decision. When asked to describe Cameron, the most commonly selected words were experienced (36%), dishonourable (24%), dishonest (23%), and weak (23%).
On the other hand, two in five (39%) think keeping Jeremy Hunt as Chancellor was the right decision, while 29% thought it was the wrong decision.
Overall, the public are now less favourable towards the Conservative government led by Rishi Sunak after his appointment of David Cameron as Foreign Secretary (20% are more favourable vs 28% who are less favourable). This is just as true amongst 2019 Conservatives (26% more favourable vs 33% less favourable).
Public divided on way forward for Rwanda policy
Following the Government’s plans to introduce emergency legislation to implement the Rwanda policy, more than a third (35%) support this move, while 31% oppose it. A further 18% are unsure, and 17% neither support nor oppose.
Overall, a plurality of the public back the Rwanda policy, with 41% (+6) supporting vs 31% (-4) opposing (changes since 2-4 November 2022). However, 42% think the policy would be ineffective at deterring people crossing the English Channel in small boats if implemented vs 38% who think it would be effective.
Looking at 2019 Conservative voters, 67% support the Rwanda policy while just 15% oppose it. Over half (56%) also think it would be effective if implemented, whereas 31% think it would be ineffective. Similarly, 56% support the proposed emergency legislation (vs 15% who oppose it).
The public still prefer to stay in the European Convention on Human Rights. Just under half (45%) think the UK should remain signed up to the ECHR, while 30% do not believe the UK should continue to sign up to it.
Support for ceasefire
Two in five (40%) think MPs should have voted for the government to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, while 30% support the current calls for greater humanitarian pauses.
More than half (56%) of those who voted Labour in the last election think a ceasefire should have been called for (vs 25% who support humanitarian pauses). Similarly, 48% of current Labour voters also back a ceasefire, compared to 31% who support the calls for humanitarian pauses.
Adam Drummond, Head of Political and Social at Opinium said: “In a packed week in politics, with reshuffles, protests, announcements, judgements and votes, the one thing we find is Labour losing voters to a range of different parties over the course of the last week, especially the Greens.
“It appears that the fallout from the Gaza vote on Wednesday might have had some impact, while the government appears to have held onto their current voters despite setbacks such as the Supreme Court ruling on Rwanda.”