Ipsos MORI Political Monitor – More see Keir Starmer as capable and having sound judgement than Boris Johnson

Ipsos MORI's September Political Monitor shows Keir Starmer outperforming Boris Johnson on a number of leadership attributes, whilst the Government's satisfaction ratings have fallen.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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The new Ipsos MORI Political Monitor reveals that Keir Starmer beats Boris Johnson on a number of Prime Ministerial attributes in the eyes of the public. When asked which characteristics each of the Labour and Conservative leaders hold, Britons are more likely to say Keir Starmer understands the problems facing Britain (50% vs. 43% for Mr Johnson), is a capable leader (44% vs. 37%), has sound judgement (43% vs. 30%), is a good representative for Britain on the world stage (42% vs. 30%), and is more honest than most politicians (36% vs. 27%).

Boris Johnson beats Keir Starmer when it comes to being patriotic (68% vs. 43% for Sir Keir) and having a lot of personality (67% vs. 25%), However the public are also more likely to apply negative attributes to the Prime Minister such as being out of touch with ordinary people (58% vs. 27%) and being more style than substance (46% vs. 21%). Both Sir Keir and Mr Johnson are equal when it comes to giving confidence in Britain’s future (just three in ten for each).

Johnson v Starmer

Other findings from the survey include:

Keir Starmer is seen as more likeable than previous Labour leaders

  • Half (51%) say they like Keir Starmer, compared with Jeremy Corbyn’s worst score of 23 per cent in November 2019 and his best score of 46% cent in September 2017. This is the best score for a Labour leader since the series started in 2007.
  • There has, however, been a decline in likeability for the Labour party from 49% in Nov 2019 to 38% this month (this might be partly attributed to an increase in ‘don’t knows’, but also an increase in those who say they like the Labour leader but not the party). 
  • When compared with Boris Johnson, just under half (45%) say they like the Prime Minister but 42% say they like the Conservative Party. Both of these are little changed from last November.

Likeability

The Prime Minister's and Government's satisfaction ratings have fallen

  • Two in five say they are satisfied with the way the Prime Minister is doing his job (40%, down 7 points) while more than half say they are dissatisfied (54%, up six points) – leaving him with a net satisfaction score of -14. Four in five Conservative supporters remain satisfied with the PM (79%, down 8 points).
  • Ratings for the Government have also fallen with a third saying they are satisfied with the Government (35%, down 9 points) while 57% are dissatisfied (up 9 points).
  • Keir Starmer’s ratings have also fallen, though remain positive on balance. 43% are satisfied with his performance as Labour leader (down 5 points) and 27% dissatisfied (up 1 point) giving him a net satisfaction score of +16. Seven in ten (69%) Labour supporters are satisfied with the way he is doing his job.
  • The Conservative lead in voting intentions has also been cut with Ipsos MORI’s headline figures having the Conservatives on 40% (-5), Labour 37% (NC), Liberal Democrats 8% (+2).
  • Britons remain pessimistic around the health of the economy with two-thirds saying it will get worse over the next 12 months (66%, down 2 points) and 21% saying it will improve (up 1 point) giving an Economic Optimism Index score of -45.

Commenting on the findings, Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:

Although a bit of the shine is coming off, Keir Starmer is still doing relatively well in public perceptions for a new opposition leader – and he’s liked among older voters as well as the young. He’s building an image of a capable leader with sound judgement rather than on his personality, but still has work to do to convert his popularity into support for his party.

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,013 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 11th September – 18th September 2020. Data are weighted to the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error. On the basis of the historical record of the polls at recent general elections, there is a 9 in 10 chance that the true value of a party’s support lies within 4 points of the estimates provided by this poll, and a 2 in 3 chance that they lie within 2 points.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs

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