The latest Ipsos Political Monitor, taken 22-29 March, 2023 shows improving personal poll ratings for Rishi Sunak but Labour retaining a large lead in voter preferences, with negative public perceptions of the Conservatives record in government still evident.
Sunak’s leader satisfaction ratings improve / Keir Starmer’s worsen.
- 32% are satisfied with the job Sunak is doing as PM (+5) and 54% are dissatisfied (-5).
- 31% are satisfied with the job Keir Starmer is doing as Labour leader (-3) and 51% are dissatisfied (+5).
- Conservatives are more satisfied with Sunak than last month: 75% satisfied (+10) and 15% dissatisfied (-11).
- Labour voters are less satisfied with Starmer: 48% satisfied (-8) and 45% dissatisfied (+16).
Rishi Sunak also improves his position relative to Keir Starmer on who the public think would make the most capable Prime Minister.
- 37% think Sunak would make the most capable PM vs 36% for Starmer. In January, Starmer led 39% to 33%.
- Sunak is as liked as Starmer too. 43% Like Rishi Sunak (-4 from Nov), 49% do not (+8). 37% like Keir Starmer (-2) and 52% do not (+3).
However, the public retain a negative view of the government’s performance overall.
- 77% are dissatisfied with how the government is running the country (unchanged from last month).
- 62% disagree that competent is an accurate description of the govt (unchanged from Jan). 21% agree it is (+1).
And the public hold a broadly negative view of the Conservative Party too.
- Just 25% (-1 from Nov) like the Conservative Party, 67% do not (+5).
- 47% like the Labour Party (-2), 42% do not (+3).
- 69% say the Conservatives will promise anything to win votes (Labour: 58%), 61% say the Conservatives are divided (Labour: 42%), 54% say the Conservatives are out of date (Labour: 35%). 30% consider the Conservatives extreme (Labour: 14%) and just 11% say the Conservatives keep their promises (Labour:21%).
- Meanwhile, Labour leads the Conservatives on being concerned about people in real need (53% vs 16%), understanding the problems facing Britain (45% vs 27%) and being fit to govern (38% vs 24%). Although the Conservatives have improved +8pts on where they were in October.
The public are pessimistic about the economy and more inclined to think they’d be better off under Labour than the Conservatives (although half say it would make no difference who is in charge)
- 58% say the economy will worsen in the next year (-3 from Feb). 22% say it will improve (-1).
- 28% say they and their family would be better off under Labour (-3 from Jan), 16% say Conservative (no change) but 51% (+5) say it would make no difference.
So overall, the public think it is time for a change
- 65% think it is time for change at the next election (-1). 28% say it is not (+3).
- 69% think the Conservatives have done a poor job in govt (-1 from Jan) and 24% say they’ve done a good job (+3).
And Labour retains a strong lead in voting intention (changes from February):
Labour 49% (-2), Conservative 26% (+1), Lib Dems 11% (+2), Greens 6% (+1), Other 8% (-1).
Other findings in the poll show:
- 52% disagree there would be chaos if Labour was elected (no change from Jan). 25% agree there would be (-1).
- 39% think Starmer is ready to be Prime Minister (+3 from Jan), 40% disagree (+3).
- 44% think Labour is ready to form the next govt (-3 from Dec 22) and 37% disagree (+6).
Keiran Pedley, Director of Politics at Ipsos, said, “There are positives and negatives to take from these findings for Rishi Sunak but the overall political headwinds he faces are very challenging.
“On the one hand, he will be encouraged to see his personal poll ratings improve, both individually and compared to Keir Starmer. On the other hand, we see no meaningful movement in headline voting intention figures, with Labour still more than 20 points ahead.
“The public remain pessimistic about the economy, overwhelmingly think the government is doing a bad job running the country and crucially two in three think it is time for change at the next General Election. All of which makes a Conservative victory at that election look improbable – for now”