Ipsos poll shows public views towards Boris Johnson recovering but half still unfavourable

Latest Ipsos Political Pulse poll shows public favourability towards Boris Johnson recovering following Russia's invasion of Ukraine - though more than half remain unfavourable to the Prime Minister.

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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  • Johnson seen as more likely to be ‘good in a crisis’ than Starmer – little to choose between the two on who would make a ‘strong’ or ‘capable leader’.
  • However, Starmer seen as more ‘honest’, ‘detail orientated’ and ‘in touch’ than the Prime Minister.

The latest Ipsos UK Political Pulse survey, taken March 4th to March 7th, shows public favourability towards Boris Johnson recovering to pre partygate levels following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, although almost twice as many Britons remain unfavourable – rather than favourable – towards the PM.

Favourability towards Johnson and Starmer

  • 27% of Britons are favourable towards Boris Johnson (+7 points from February) and 52% are unfavourable (-6 points).
  • Figures today are comparable to those witnessed in November where 24% were favourable and 51% unfavourable. However, they are still weaker than May 2021 where 40% were favourable and 40% unfavourable.
  • 27% are favourable towards Labour leader Keir Starmer (-5 points) and 39% are unfavourable (+1 pt).
  • Elsewhere, Rishi Sunak continues to have the strongest levels of favourability of the politicians included in the poll. 36% are favourable towards the Chancellor (+1 pts from Feb) and 33% are unfavourable (+1pt).
  • Priti Patel has the comparatively weakest scores, with 51% unfavourable (-2 pts from Feb) and just one in five favourable (20%, no change).

Favoribility towards leading politicians - Ipsos - March 2022

Leadership traits

  • This month’s Ipsos Political Pulse asked respondents whether a series of leadership or character traits applied to Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer.
  • Johnson’s recovery in favourability scores is reflected in some improvement in his scores for various personality traits too. Compared to February, Johnson achieves increases of four points or more on being ‘good in a crisis’ (+4pts), a ‘strong leader’ (+4pts), a ‘capable leader’ (+5pts), putting  country first (+6pts), paying attention to detail (+4pts) and being a ‘Prime Minister I am proud of’(+4 pts).
  • When comparing Johnson to Starmer,
    • Johnson leads Starmer on having a lot of personality (+31pts) and being good in a crisis (+10pts).
    • Starmer leads Johnson on being honest (+23pts), paying attention to detail (+19pts) and being in touch with ordinary people (+9pts).
    • Otherwise, there is little to choose between the two on key leadership attributes such as being a strong leader (Starmer +1pt) or a capable leader (Starmer +3pts).

Image of party leaders: Boris Johnson vs. Keir Starmer - Ipsos Political Pulse - March 2022

Elsewhere in the poll

  • Roughly equal numbers of Britons are favourable towards the Labour Party (29%) and Conservative Party (27%), although more are unfavourable towards the Conservatives (44%) compared to Labour (39%).
    • The Conservative figures have trended up slightly from February with 27% favourable (+2pts) and 44% unfavourable (-6pts).
    • Labour’s figures have fallen back since February, with 29% favourable (-8 points) and 39% unfavourable (no change). However, numbers are similar to January where 30% were favourable and 42% unfavourable.
  • 24% are favourable towards the Green and 31% are unfavourable.
  • 18% are favourable towards the Lib Dems and 36% are unfavourable.
  • Thinking about the country in general, 29% think things are headed in the right direction (+3 pts from Jan) and 44% say wrong direction (-4pts).
  • Meanwhile, 44% think Brexit has had a negative impact on the country (-3pts from Jan) and 30% say positive (+4pts). One in five say it has made no difference (19%, -2pts) with the rest indicating they don’t know (6%).

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

Having seen his personal poll ratings fall sharply amidst police investigations into Downing Street parties, the Prime Minister will be pleased to see his favourability ratings rebound somewhat this month. However, Johnson’s numbers on a host of leadership attributes remain worse than they were a year ago and Labour are still ahead in the polls. So Johnson still has work to do, if he is to restore his standing with the public to where it once was. 

Technical note

Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,130 Britons aged 18+. Interviews were conducted online from 4-7 March 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
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs

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