The Conservative Party are still in front with a five-point lead in the headline Westminster Voting Intention, virtually unchanged from July, the fourth poll in a new monthly series by Savanta ComRes shows.
The poll has the Conservative Party on 42%, a one-point drop from the last month, while the Labour Party remain on 37%. The leaderless Liberal Democrats gain one point to sit on 7%, while support for other parties including the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Northern Irish parties combines to 14%.
This lack of movement in voting behaviour is offset by falls in favourability and approval. The government’s general net favourability of -7 is the lowest since the Savanta ComRes Political Tracker began back in May, while approval of the government’s handling of the pandemic is at an all-time low looking at a rolling 7-day average from our Coronavirus daily tracker. The PM’s personal approval ratings remain in negative territory at -1, while Dominic Raab (-2) and Matt Hancock (-5) have also seen drops. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s personal ratings remain the strongest at +25, despite seeing a drop of five points compared to July.
While the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, appeared to be making gains last month, the Labour party will be disappointed to see that July’s positive uptick has swung back down by four points, placing his personal approval at +1 again. Despite Starmer’s slight edge on the current Prime Minister in terms of personal favourability, Boris Johnson still leads our ‘best Prime Minister’ ratings; in fact, his lead over Starmer has increased by four points (43% vs 30%).
Government and personal approval ratings are generally impacted by significant news events, of which there have been many over the past month. Recent news surrounding changes to exam results in the UK have made headlines, and Savanta ComRes’ Political Tracker shows that the public are more negative than confident about the state of the education system over the next 12 months, with 39% saying that they believe it will get worse during that time.
Commenting on the findings, Chris Hopkins, Associate Director at Savanta ComRes said, “While the government’s favourability and approval are falling amid departmental fiasco after fiasco – with Education Secretary the latest to come under fire for his handling of exam grading – we’re not seeing much of a movement in our headline voting intention.”
“It seems that the current government still have a fair bit of rope with the public yet and, while we’re still the political equivalent of eons away from another election, there must be confidence that the current set of ministers – including the PM – can reverse the increasingly negative sentiment before it affects voting behaviour.”