- Only 3 in 10 trust their own MP to tell the truth all or most of the time, falling to less than 1 in 5 regarding MPs in general or government ministers. But little sign this has worsened since August.
- More than 6 in 10 say they have little or no confidence that the government is running the country properly, competently and seriously, or with integrity – similar to Boris Johnson’s government in July, but better than at end of Truss’ government in October
- Public predictions that Sunak will unite the Conservative party and win the next election have become more pessimistic since November
New polling by Ipsos shows that politicians still have a long to go to convince the public that they can be trusted to tell the truth. Only 3 in 10 (28%) trust their local MP to tell the truth all or most of the time, falling to only 17% who say they trust MPs in general or government ministers to do so. However, despite continuing stories about MPs’ conduct levels of trust do not seem to have changed a great deal since last August, and in fact are slightly better than where they were in October 2019 (although they are not as positive as they were in June 2020 in the early stages of the Covid pandemic).
Looking at specific politicians, Keir Starmer is most likely to be trusted to tell the truth with 37% expecting him to do so at least most of the time, 27% not very often or never. This compares with Rishi Sunak who is trusted most of the time by 29%, and not very often by 38%. However, both see improvements since last August in those trusting them to tell the truth most of the time, up 7 and 6 ppts respectively. Trust in Boris Johnson, on the other hand, remains low with 6 in 10 believing him to tell the truth not very often or never, little changed since August.
The British public also appear to lack confidence in the way the UK Government is running the country – although this has recovered slightly since the last days of Liz Truss’ government in October. Only a third (32%, up from 21% in October) say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence that the government is running the country properly, competently and seriously while 6 in 10 (62%, down from 74%) do not. Similarly, 3 in 10 (30%, up from 20% in October) say they are confident the country is being run with integrity, 64% (down from 75%) are not confident. However, these figures are only little better than in July.
Looking at Rishi Sunak’s prospects more generally, the public are more pessimistic than they were last November. The proportion who think it unlikely he will win the next General Election has risen from 55% in November to 62% now (including 56% of 2019 Conservative voters), while those who doubt he will unite the Conservative party under his leadership have risen from 41% to 57%. Again, expectations that he will win the next election are higher than they were for Liz Truss in October, but not that different to Boris Johnson in June.
Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos, said:
After a brief recovery, the public are returning to their earlier view that the Conservatives are unlikely to win the next election under Rishi Sunak – much as they felt towards the end of Boris Johnson’s reign, although there is a bit more optimism for the party’s chances than under Liz Truss. Most also doubt that the government is living up to his aim of running the country properly, competently and seriously – again an improvement from under Liz Truss, but not much better than under Boris Johnson.
The Prime Minister’s personal ratings on trust have actually improved slightly since the time of the August leadership campaign, and on this measure he is well ahead of his predecessor Boris Johnson. But his ratings are still negative overall, and Keir Starmer is more trusted. Meanwhile despite all the recent stories trust in MPs generally has not changed much since the summer - although it is important to remember trust in politicians was never very high to begin with.
- Ipsos interviewed a representative quota sample of 2,142 adults aged 18-75 in Great Britain. Interviews took place on the online Omnibus 3rd-5th February 2023. Data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.