Boris Johnson’s public favourability score falls to lowest since before the 2019 election

Over half (56%) of the public have an unfavourable opinion of Boris Johnson

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Dylan Spielman Public Affairs
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  • Boris Johnson’s net favourability score with the public the lowest in our Ipsos MORI Political Pulse series
  • Half of Britons think Boris Johnson is a bad Prime Minister 
  • Rishi Sunak’s net favourability score with the public also falls to negative for the first time

Ipsos MORI’s latest Political Pulse, taken over the last weekend (January 7 - 10) shows public favourability towards Boris Johnson at its lowest level since the series began in November 2019. 20% of the public are favourable towards the Prime Minister (-4 points from November 2021) and 56% are unfavourable (+5 points). For comparison, just before the 2019 election 26% of the public were favourable towards Jeremy Corbyn and 56% unfavourable.

These numbers reflect a trend of falling ratings since last summer, with Mr Johnson’s net favourability score of -36 the lowest we have recorded in this polling series – which began just before the 2019 General Election. Only 38% of 2019 Conservative voters are now favourable towards Boris Johnson, down 9 points since November last year.

JohnsonWhen considering other leading politicians in our poll:

  • 29% of Britons are favourable towards Rishi Sunak (-7 from November), 35% are unfavourable (+3). This is the first time in our Ipsos MORI Political Pulse series that the Chancellor’s net rating has fallen to negative (-6), but he continues to have the best rating of the politicians on our list.

Sunak

  • 24% are favourable towards Sajid Javid (-2 since November) and 37% are unfavourable (no change).
  • 15% are favourable towards Priti Patel (-3) and 51% are unfavourable (-1).
  • 17% are favourable towards Liz Truss (+1) and 33% are unfavourable (+1) half of Britons are neutral on the Foreign Secretary or say they don’t know.
  • 22% are favourable towards Keir Starmer (-1) and 40% unfavourable (-4).
  • The impact on attitudes to the Conservative party is more marginal, with 23% favourable (-2 since last November) and 50% unfavourable (+3), but this also continues a worsening trend since the early summer.
  • Meanwhile, 26% feel favourable towards Labour, and 42% unfavourable (both down 2 since November).

We also asked the public whether Boris Johnson is a good or bad Prime Minister, whether Keir Starmer would make a good or bad Prime Minister and how likely it is that the Labour leader will become Prime Minister.

  • 21% of Britons think Boris Johnson is currently a good Prime Minister, 51% a bad Prime Minister, 24% neither good nor bad and 3% say they don’t know.
  • 25% of Britons think Keir Starmer would make a good Prime Minister, 35% a bad Prime Minister, 30% neither good nor bad and 11% say they don’t know.
  • 28% of Britons think Keir Starmer is likely to ever become Prime Minister, 50% unlikely and 22% say they don’t know. Among 2019 Labour voters nearly half (47%) think it is likely he will become Prime Minister and 38% unlikely.

Good PMElsewhere in the poll:

  • 26% of Britons think the country is heading in the right direction (-1 points from November). 48% say things are heading in the wrong direction (+2 points).
  • 26% think Brexit is having a positive impact on the country (-2 points from November) and 47% say it is having a negative impact (no change). 21% say it has made no difference (+1 points).

Gideon Skinner from Ipsos MORI said of the findings:

Even before the latest revelations, Boris Johnson’s ratings were on a downward trend, and just at this weekend reached the worst point we’ve measured for him in this series, not dissimilar to Jeremy Corbyn’s just before the 2019 election. The Prime Minister’s ratings have also fallen among his own supporters, although there is little sign that other leading Conservatives are improving their public perception at his expense, with for example public favourability towards the Chancellor also on a downward trend. This is all against a backdrop of continuing concern about the overall direction of the country. Meanwhile, Keir Starmer’s ratings are little changed this month (although he does get better ratings from his own voters than the Prime Minister) – however, still only a minority of the public think it is likely that the Labour leader will get to No.10 himself.

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,140 Britons aged 18+. Interviews were conducted online from 7 – 10 January 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)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Dylan Spielman Public Affairs

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