Following Wednesday’s Spring Statement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s net approval rating has dropped to an all-time low of -4 points (-15 from two weeks ago), according to Opinium’s latest poll. Just over a third (35%) disapprove of the job he is doing, while 31% approve.
Prior to this week, his lowest net approval rating was +7 (13th October 2021), with nearly two fifths (39%) approving and 32% disapproving.
This fall in favour may have been spurred by the fact that nearly 7 in 10 (68%) think the Government should be doing more to tackle the rising cost in living, with just under a fifth (18%) thinking they are doing all they reasonably can.
Labour in the lead
Under Opinium’s new polling methodology, Labour’s narrow lead has risen to 38% (+1) while the Conservatives have also gained some ground and have 36% of the vote share (+1).
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson’s approval has risen to 28% (+1) while his disapproval has shrunk to 52% (-2), giving a net approval rating of -24 (+3). Kier Starmer remains on 28% approval (N/C), while his disapproval rating rises by 2 points to 32%, giving him a net approval rating of -4 (-2)
Half (48%) disapprove of the way the Government is currently handling the economy, compared to a fifth (22%) that approve. Nearly two thirds (61%) think the current state of the UK economy is bad, compared to only 13% who think it is good.
Looking ahead over the next 12 months, nearly three fifths (57%) think the state of the UK economy will get worse, with nearly a fifth (19%) thinking they will get better. Close to half (49%) expect their personal finances to worsen, with just 14% thinking they will get better.
A specific challenge the chancellor responded to was opposition to the planned National Insurance (NI) rate rise, with just over a third (35%) wanting it to be cancelled, and 27% thinking it should be delayed. Only 24% believe it should go ahead as planned.
Over two fifths (46%) prefer the chancellor’s new policy of increasing the amount people earn from £9,600 to £12,570 before they start paying NI at the higher rate, whereas 26% would prefer to keep the threshold where it is and simply cancel the planned rise in NI rate of 1.25%.
Impact of Brexit
Three in five (58%) think Brexit has had a bad impact on prices in shops and the ability of UK companies to import goods from the EU. When asked what is to blame for the current increases in cost of living, nearly a third (32%) think the coronavirus pandemic is mainly to blame, followed by the war in Ukraine (24%) and Brexit (21%).
James Crouch, Head of Policy & Public Affairs at Opinium said, “The government’s decision to keep their powder dry for the Budget has been far from popular in the short term.
“Precious few think the measures announced in the Spring Statement will help the economy, or benefit them directly, while seven in ten think the government has failed to do enough to tackle the cost of living crisis.
“Once incredibly popular, Rishi Sunak’s approval ratings are now in negative territory, demonstrating the impact of the economic situation on the government’s fortunes. Although it has yet to feed into an increased Labour lead, the Conservatives should be very worried by the poor response voters gave to the Spring Statement.”