Half of Britons say Conservatives made the wrong decision by voting to keep Boris Johnson as Prime Minister

Half support the Prime Minister resigning, however this has fallen since last month

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Laura King Public Affairs
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  • 51% say Conservative MPs made the wrong decision by voting in favour of Boris Johnson remaining as Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister.
  • Majority do not expect him to lead the Conservatives into next General Election.

London, UK. New research from Ipsos done after Boris Johnson survived a confidence vote on Monday 6th June, shows half of Britons (51%) believe Conservative MPs made the wrong decision by voting to keep him in office. Just over a third believe they made the right decision (36%), increasing to 62% of 2019 Conservative supporters. 

Did Conservative MPs make the right or wrong decision?

Around half of Britons say Boris Johnson has done a bad job as Prime Minister, half say his government has done a bad job running the country and half say he should resign.

  • 49% say Boris Johnson has done a bad job as Prime Minister, down from 54% in February and 51% in April. Just under a third (31%) say he has done a good job (the same as April, with 29% saying the same in February). 
  • Similarly, 50% say the current government, led by Boris Johnson, is doing a bad job of running the country compared to 29% who say they are doing well. In May 54% said his government was doing a bad job and in April that number was 49%.
  • 50% say they would support Boris Johnson resigning, this has fallen from 58% at the end of May. However, just 29% would oppose this (+7 points from May).

Johnson’s future and what’s next?

While the Prime Minister might be able to continue in his position for now, the public think the future is uncertain. Over 4 in 10 (43%) say the result of the confidence vote was a bad result for Boris Johnson (33% said it was a good result) and few expect him to lead his party into the next election. More than half (55%) say he is unlikely to still be Prime Minister at the next General Election. Opinion is split as to whether he will still hold his position by the end of the year, 48% say it is likely while 42% disagree. In the short-term his position appears more stable with 66% saying he is likely to still be Prime Minister in 3 months’ time, only a quarter disagree (26%). 


Considering next moves for the Prime Minister, the public have low levels of faith in what he will be able to achieve. Around 6 in 10 say it is unlikely he will be able to win the next General Election (59%) or unite the Conservative party under his leadership (64%). Two-thirds (67%) say he is unlikely to improve public trust in him as Prime Minister. 


The public are equally sceptical about the Government’s ability to deliver on a range of issues. Around two-thirds say the Government are unlikely to reduce the cost of living (69%) or reduce crime (66%). Despite the increase in National Insurance to provide more funds for the NHS and social care, 63% say the Government are unlikely to improve the NHS.
Expected delivery of issues by Johnson's government

Who are the alternatives?

A key question following the confidence vote is who else might take over? Currently, Britons remain unsure. Keir Starmer is slightly ahead of 10 Conservative options when asked who would do a good or bad job as PM. A third (32%) believe the current Labour leader would do a good job compared to 35% who disagree. 

Would the following make a good or bad PM?

Among Conservative candidates, Rishi Sunak comes out on top with 29% who think he would do a good job, however 37% disagree. 24% think Sajid Javid would do a good job, 24% say Dominic Raab would do a good job and 21% say Ben Wallace would do a good job. The public are most likely to think Priti Patel (53%) and Michael Gove (44%) would do bad jobs.


Meanwhile, when we look at the numbers by those that have an opinion (ie by removing those that say they don’t know if the person would do a good or bad job or they don’t know who they are), a slightly different picture emerges.  Keir Starmer still tops the list but Defence Secretary Ben Wallace essentially ties for first place with Rishi Sunak in terms of which Conservative the more informed public think would do a good job.
Would the following make a good or bad PM? - by those who know of the people

Keiran Pedley, Director of Politics at Ipsos, said:

Boris Johnson may be encouraged that the proportion of Britons that want him to resign has fallen slightly after a rise at the end of May but that is where the positive news ends for the Prime Minister in this data. The public tend to think Conservative MPs made a mistake retaining him as leader and there is little confidence amongst the public that he will improve things in the country or still be Prime Minister at the next General Election. That being said, there is still no obvious public consensus as to who should replace him, which may provide him with the political breathing room to recover, if he can.


Technical note:

Ipsos UK interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,091 adults aged 18-75 in Great Britain. Interviews took place on the online Omnibus using the Ipsos.Digital platform between 7th and 8th June 2022. Data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions.
 

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Laura King Public Affairs

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