As the Conservatives deal with the aftermath of this week’s by-elections, Opinium’s latest poll shows that Boris Johnson’s party remains on 34% of vote share, as Labour sees a slight rise to 37% (+1 since 8 June). The Liberal Democrats fall to 11% (-2), with the Green Party remaining on 6%.
With Johnson under increasing scrutiny, over half of the public (54%) think he should resign, with 34% wanting him to stay as leader. His net approval rating has fallen to -28 (-1), with 27% approving and 55% disapproving of the job he is doing. Comparatively, Keir Starmer has also seen a drop in his approval rating, with 29% approving and 37% disapproving.
When asked which of the following would make best prime minister, 28% think Boris Johnson, with slightly fewer opting for Keir Starmer (27%). The most popular option however is ‘none of these’ with 33% saying this.
Yet when forced to choose, 46% say they would prefer a Labour government led by Keir Starmer compared to 35% who would prefer the Tories led by Boris Johnson.
As much of the UK public transport system came to a standstill this week, two in five (43%) said they opposed railway workers going on strike at various points this week over proposed pay and job cuts, with 38% supporting their decision. However, in principle, half (52%) think that railway workers should be allowed to go on strike, with 36% believing they should not.
Just over a third (35%) think the trade unions are primarily responsible for the current strikes taking place, followed by the government (25%), train companies (17%) and railway workers (7%).
Three-quarters (74%) think rail workers’ wages should go up this year, with 43% thinking they should go up in line with the increase in the cost of living. Just 13% think their wages should stay the same.
With other public sector strikes on the horizon, Opinium asked the public which professions they would support taking strike action. Overall, strikes by nurses and doctors were approved of, while there was disapproval for teachers and particularly for criminal barristers:
|Nurses and doctors||+5%||45%||40%|
Adam Drummond, head of political and social research at Opinium, said, “So far the public’s response is a mixture of annoyance that the rail strikes are happening but sympathy for the reasons rail workers are going on strike. Most people are seeing increases in their cost of living, are pessimistic about the direction of the economy and 46% of those in work say that they would go on strike for better pay and conditions in their own job if they could.
“Compared to two weeks ago, fewer people are saying their current financial situation is comfortable (30%, down 5 points), while the proportions saying that they are only coping or even struggling are both up (coping: 47%, up 3 points, struggling: 21%, up 2 points). 52% expect their personal finances to get worse over the next 12 months and 68% think the UK economy will get worse.
The strike therefore hasn’t had the effect on the state of the parties that the Conservatives were probably hoping for with relatively few saying there would be more strikes under a Labour government. However, with a possible summer of strikes on the horizon, annoyance could start to outweigh sympathy very quickly.”