Public more likely to say Keir Starmer would do a good job as Prime Minister than Liz Truss

As Liz Truss takes over as Prime Minister, how well do Britons expect her to do the job and how does this compare to Labour leader Keir Starmer?

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Ben Roff Public Affairs
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  • 40% say Keir Starmer would make a good Prime Minister, 33% say the same of Liz Truss.
  • Truss becoming better known but public split on if she will do a good job as Prime Minister.

New research from Ipsos, conducted after Liz Truss won the Conservative Leadership election this week (fieldwork September 5-6), shows Britons are more likely to think Keir Starmer would do a good job as Prime Minister than Liz Truss. Four in 10 (40%) Britons say the Labour leader would do a good job as Prime Minister, an increase from 33% in July, while 27% say he would do badly (down 4 points). On the other hand, a third (33%) say Truss would do a good job as Prime Minister, up from 30% in July, while 35% say she would not (also up 3 pts). 

Who would make a good Prime Minister?

Around 2 in 3 2019 Labour voters say their Leader would do a good job as Prime Minister (65%), showing an increase of 9ppt since the end of July. Meanwhile, a small majority of 2019 Conservative voters say the same for their newly elected leader, 53% expect Truss to do a good job (unchanged from late July).

Familiarity

Similar proportions of the public say they are familiar with the two party leaders, 52% know a great deal or fair amount about Keir Starmer and 50% say the same about Liz Truss. The new Prime Minister has seen her familiarity increase rapidly throughout the leadership election, 33% knew at least a fair amount about her in mid-July, increasing to 40% towards the end of that month and 50% now. 

Familiarity with politicians

Impact on parties

Opinion is split as to the impact Liz Truss will have on the Conservative Party with 3 in 10 (31%) expecting her to change it for the better, 26% likely to make it worse and 31% say she will make no difference. Among 2019 Conservative voters, almost half (45%) believe she will have a positive impact on the party while 3 in 10 expect her to make no difference. Only 14% say she will change the Conservative Party for the worse.

Meanwhile, 4 in 10 (39%) believe Keir Starmer will have a positive impact on the Labour Party, 38% expect him to make no difference and 12% say he will make the party worse. Looking back at his time as Labour leader, 36% say he has already changed the party for the better while 40% say he has made no difference and 13% say he’s made it worse. 

News stories

Around three-quarters of Britons have been paying attention to Liz Truss becoming the new Conservative Party leader, and therefore Prime Minister (73%) while 93% closely follow stories about the rising cost of living and 75% do the same for news about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Almost 6 in 10 (57%) have been paying attention to stories about possible future strikes by rail workers. 

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

These results show the challenging political situation the new Prime Minister faces. Although Liz Truss is becoming better known among the public, the jury is out on whether she will do a good job as Prime Minister. Therefore, she will need to hit the ground running in terms of addressing key public concerns, in order to close the gap with Starmer and Labour that appears to have opened up over the summer.

Technical note:

  • Ipsos interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,00 adults aged 18-75 in Great Britain. Interviews took place on the online Omnibus on 5th-6th September 2022. Data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.
     

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Ben Roff Public Affairs

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