Journalists seen to be doing a better job of holding the Government to account on coronavirus than MPs and the Opposition

Journalists asking questions at the government daily briefings are seen to be the best at holding the government to account with television and radio journalists following closely.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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In a new online survey by Ipsos MORI, the British public say journalists are doing a better job at holding the government to account over how it has responded to the coronavirus than the Labour Party and its leader. Most likely to be seen to do a good job are journalists at the Government’s Coronavirus daily briefings (43%), followed by TV and radio journalists (40%). 

Journalists seen to be doing a better job of holding the Government to account on coronavirus than MPs and the Opposition

Only 1 in 5 believe the Labour Party has done a good job at holding the government to account so far (18%), this increases to a quarter (24%) who think Keir Starmer has done a good job. Unsurprisingly, those who voted for the Labour Party in the 2019 General Election are most likely to think they have done a good job, however this is still a minority at only a third (33%). Only 9% of Conservative voters think the Opposition has done a good job so far. Young people are significantly more likely to see the Labour Party as an effective check of power; 28% think they are doing a good job, double that of other age groups (14%). 

However, the numbers for Starmer and the Labour Party may reflect that Keir Starmer is still something of an unknown entity with the general public so far. Although just 24% say he is doing a good job holding the government to account, just 20% say he is doing a bad job. The majority do not have an opinion either way, 34% say Starmer is neither doing a good job nor a bad job and 23% say they don’t know.

Piers Morgan, co-presenter of ITV’s Good Morning Britain is seen as being an effective check on the Government power by 29% who think he is doing a good job while 24% disagree. However 28% say they don’t know and 20% are neutral.

Ben Page, CEO of Ipsos MORI, said:

Despite recent controversy about journalists challenging government spokespeople, by 43% to 28% the public say they are doing a good job in holding the government to account.  They do rather better than the official Opposition - highlighting the challenge Keir Starmer has in connecting with the public during the crisis.

Technical note

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,066 British adults aged 18-75 online between April 24th and 27th 2020.  Data are weighted to the profile of the population

The author(s)

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

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