Rishi Sunak remains popular with the British public according to the September Ipsos MORI Political Monitor. The poll, conducted before the latest announcement of the Job Support Scheme on Thursday, reveals that two-thirds (64%) say they are satisfied with the way he is doing his job as Chancellor, up from 45% in March – one in five (21%) are dissatisfied. This is the best score in the Ipsos MORI long-term trends for any Chancellor since Denis Healey in April 1978 (67% were satisfied with him and 28% were dissatisfied). While Conservatives are very much satisfied in the way the Chancellor is doing his job (83% satisfied), a majority of Labour supporters are as well, with 59% satisfied.
When it comes to ratings on detailed leader image attributes, the Chancellor’s strongest scores are on understanding the problems facing Britain (55%) and being good in a crisis (54%), though he receives lower scores for having a lot of personality (33%). Mr Sunak comes out ahead on many attributes when compared with Boris Johnson – in particular more people think he is good in a crisis (54% vs 32% for the PM), has sound judgement (49% vs 30%), is more honest than most politicians (41% vs. 27%), and is less likely to be seen as out of touch (31% vs 58%). Mr Johnson however is seen by more people as being patriotic (by 68% vs. 48%) and having a lot of personality (67% vs. 33%). Rishi Sunak also beats Keir Starmer in several attributes such as being good in a crisis (by 54% vs. 31%) and having sound judgement (49% vs. 43%).
When it comes to Conservative supporters, more of them rate the Prime Minister as being a capable leader (69% for Mr Johnson vs 52%), having a lot of personality (76% vs 48%), and being patriotic (84% vs 63%). Rishi Sunak has slightly better scores for being good in a crisis (by 66% vs 57%), having sound judgement (66% vs 54%), being less out of touch (20% vs 32%), being more honest than most politicians (58% vs 45%), and being less style than substance (17% vs 39%).
Meanwhile, the poll also asks about satisfaction with Sir Ed Davey as Liberal Democrat leader for the first time since his election in August. Seventeen per cent are satisfied with the way he is doing his job, 25% dissatisfied and 57% still don’t know. This compares with his predecessor Jo Swinson’s first scores of 28% satisfied, 28% dissatisfied, and 44% don’t know in July 2019.
Commenting on the findings, Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:
Public satisfaction with the Prime Minister and the Government overall might be drifting down, but for Rishi Sunak his scores are moving in the opposite direction with a near 20-point boost since March. His ratings on leadership attributes are also positive, although it should be noted that only last month the public had still to make up their minds whether he had what it takes to be a good PM, despite his popularity. We have to go a very long way back in Ipsos MORI’s long-term archives to find a Chancellor with scores this strong, which suggests that at least prior to the latest announcement his policies to deal with the coronavirus have been popular, while continuing public pessimism over the economy has so far not been directed at him.
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.