Boris Johnson’s net favourability score lowest since the 2019 election, meanwhile Conservative voters unhappy with party’s immigration policies

In November's Political Pulse, Johnson's favourability falls and we look at how the public view the parties on policy

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
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Ipsos’s latest Political Pulse, taken last weekend (November 19-23) shows public favourability towards Boris Johnson at the lowest level since the Ipsos Political Pulse began in 2019. 24% of the public are favourable towards the Prime Minister (-2 points from October) and 51% are unfavourable (+2 points). Whilst movement from October is small, these numbers reflect a trend over the summer and autumn months, with Johnson’s net favourability score of -27 the lowest we have recorded in this polling series – which began just before the 2019 General Election.

Boris Johnson: favourability

When considering other leading politicians in our poll:

  • 36% of Britons are favourable towards Rishi Sunak (+5 from October), 32% are unfavourable (+1). Sunak’s net rating of +4 continues to be the best rating of the politicians on our list.
  • 26% are favourable towards Sajid Javid (+7) and 37% are unfavourable (+3). 
  • 18% are favourable towards Priti Patel (+1) and 52% are unfavourable (+1).
  • 16% are favourable towards Liz Truss (+2) and 32% are unfavourable (+3) but the majority of Britons are neutral on the Foreign Secretary or say they don’t know.

Policy perceptions: do parties have the right policies?

Elsewhere in the poll we asked the public to rate the policies of the Conservatives and Labour across 14 areas where a score of 10 would indicate that the party had ‘all the right policies’ and a score of 0 meant they had ‘all the wrong policies’. When we look at the proportion of Britons giving each party a score of 6 or above – meaning they have the right policies – we can see Labour leads the Conservatives by 5 points or more on the NHS (+5), public transport (+6), housing (+5) and fighting poverty (+10). The Conservative lead Labour by 5 points or more on managing the economy (+7) and defence / national security (+6).

Do the Conservatives have the right policies?

When we look at 2019 Conservative voters and their impressions of the Conservative Party, we can see that there is only one issue in the 14 polled where Conservative supporters are more likely to think the party has the wrong policies rather than the right ones – managing immigration. 51% of 2019 Conservative voters think the party has the wrong policies (giving a score of 0 to 4 on the issue) and 31% think the party has the right policies (giving a score of 6 out of 10 or above). In contrast, there was not a single issue of the 14 where 2019 Labour voters were more likely to think Labour had the wrong policies rather than right ones.

Other key poll findings:

  • 27% of Britons think the country is heading in the right direction (+3 points from October). 46% say things are heading in the wrong direction (-3 points).
  • 28% think Brexit is having a positive impact on the country (+3 points from October) and 47% say it is having a negative impact (-3). 20% say it has made no difference (+2 points) and 5% don’t know (-2 points).
  • Updated favourability figures for the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and Greens can be found in the accompanying slide pack.

Keiran Pedley from Ipsos said of the findings:

Boris Johnson is enduring a difficult winter as his favourability scores continue to fall. When we look at the policy areas polled, it is striking how unhappy 2019 Conservatives are with the party on how they are managing immigration. Our research suggests this could be an area of vulnerability for the party. However, the threat to the Conservatives is unlikely to come from Labour. Across the 14 issues polled, Conservative voters give Labour the worst scores of all on that very subject.

Technical note
Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,116 Britons aged 18+. Interviews were conducted online from 19 -23 November 2021. 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

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