Almost half think government doing a bad job running the country but just three in ten think Labour would do a better job

The latest Ipsos UK Political Pulse survey, taken 6th to 10th May 2022, takes stock of public opinion following the local elections.

The author(s)
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Ben Roff Public Affairs
Get in touch
  • Public twice as likely to think country heading in the wrong direction rather than the right direction
  • Boost in public favourability towards Lib Dems and Greens following local elections

Government performance and would Labour do better?

Overall, 27% think Boris Johnson’s Conservative government is doing well at running the country (5 points down from June last year), 48% say they are doing badly (+4 points). 22% say neither well nor badly and 3% don’t know.

However, when asked if a Labour government led by Keir Starmer would do better or worse, 31% say better (up 5 points from last June but down 2 points from February) and 33% say worse (down 3 points from June but up 5 points from February). 26% say it would make no difference and 10% don’t know.

Would Labour do better

Overall, 35% think it is likely that Keir Starmer will become Prime Minister and 48% say it is unlikely. However, the proportion saying likely has increased 7 points from January this year, with the proportion saying unlikely falling 2 points.

When asked which party has the best policies to address the issues most important to them, 23% say Labour and 20% say the Conservatives. 8% say the Lib Dems, 6% Green, 8% another party, 15% say different parties are better on different issues, 10% say none and 11% don’t know.

Favourability towards party leaders

Polling taken mainly before Keir Starmer’s recent announcement that he will quit if fined for breaking Covid rules shows little real change in the Labour leader’s personal favourability ratings. 28% are favourable towards Starmer (-2 points from April) and 43% unfavourable (+2 points). In terms of other leading UK politicians:

  • 30% are favourable towards Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner and 34% are unfavourable (first time she has been included in the series).
  • 29% are favourable towards Rishi Sunak (+3 points from April) and 43% are unfavourable (down 1 point).
  • 28% are favourable towards Boris Johnson (up 3 points) and 53% are unfavourable (down 1 point).
  • 26% are favourable towards Sajid Javid (no change) and 36% unfavourable (-1 point).
  • 24% are favourable towards Ben Wallace. 22% unfavourable (first time included).
  • 23% are favourable towards Liz Truss (+4 points) and 33% unfavourable (-9 points).
  • 21% are favourable towards Priti Patel (+6 points) and 54% unfavourable (-1 point).

Favourability towards parties

Favourability towards the Conservative and Labour parties is largely unchanged from April:

  • 27% are favourable towards the Conservatives (+3 points) and 49% unfavourable (-2 points).
  • 33% are favourable towards Labour (+2 points) and 41% unfavourable (no change).

Meanwhile, favourability towards the Liberal Democrats and Greens has increased following gains at last week’s local elections:

  • 33% are favourable towards the Green Party (up 9 points) and 27% unfavourable (-3 pts).
  • 26% are favourable towards the Lib Dems (+8 points) and 30% unfavourable (-9 points). This is the highest favourability score achieved by the Lib Dems since the 2019 General Election.

Right direction / wrong direction & impact of Brexit

Elsewhere in the poll:

  • 24% think things in Britain are heading in the right direction (+3 points) and 56% think things are heading in the wrong direction (-3 points).
  • 44% think Brexit is having a negative impact on the UK (-1 point from April) and 31% say positive (+3 points). 19% say it has made no difference and 6% don’t know.

Keiran Pedley, Director of Politics at Ipsos UK said of the findings:

These numbers reflect lessons learned from last week’s local elections. On the one hand, large numbers of the public feel unhappy with how the government is running the country but on the other they are not yet convinced Labour would do any better. Meanwhile, we see positive movement in favourability scores for the Lib Dems and Greens following their gains last week. Meanwhile, as rows over the Northern Ireland protocol gather momentum, it is notable that more Britons think Brexit has had a negative impact on the UK than a positive one, even if one in four think it has made no difference, or do not have an opinion.

Technical note

Ipsos UK interviewed a representative sample of 1,134 Britons aged 18+. Interviews were conducted online from 6-10th May, 2022 Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.
The author(s)
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Ben Roff Public Affairs

More insights about Public Sector