Latest Ipsos MORI polling shows public views on Brexit, the direction of the country, the parties and their leaders as 2021 begins

The latest Ipsos MORI Political Pulse, a nationally representative online survey of 1,115 Britons aged 18+, taken over the last weekend (8th-11th January)

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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  • Latest polling shows that Britons are more likely to think Brexit has had a negative impact on the country than a positive one. 
  • They are also almost twice as likely to think the country is heading in the ‘wrong direction’ as the ‘right direction’ – though figures on this measure are improving from lows in late 2020. 
  • Meanwhile, favourability towards the parties and their leaders is largely unchanged since November, with Rishi Sunak achieving the highest favourability ratings on our list of politicians. However, favourability towards the Chancellor is softening.
  • Roughly equal numbers of Britons are favourable towards the Conservative Party (28%) and Labour (29%), with only 11% favourable towards the Lib Dems – a record low in this series.  

Impact and handling of Brexit

45% of Britons think Brexit has had a negative impact on the country. This figure has increased 5 points from June but is comparable to the 46% that said the same in January 2020.

28% think Brexit has had a positive impact on the country – up a point from June but down 5 points from January last year. 17% say it has made no difference (down 7 from June) and 10% don’t know (up one).

Impact of the UK's decision to leave the EU

  • 38% of Britons are satisfied with how Boris Johnson is handling Britain’s departure from the EU and 47% are dissatisfied. These figures are largely unchanged from June last year and October 2019. In June, 60% of Leave voters were satisfied with the Prime Minister’s approach and that figure today stands at 64% - a very similar figure.
  • 24% are satisfied with how Keir Starmer is handling Brexit (+2 points from June 2020) and 38% are dissatisfied (+6 points). Just 29% of Remain voters are satisfied with Starmer’s approach (-2 points from June) and 37% are dissatisifed (+10).  

Right direction / wrong direction

  • 46% of Britons think the country is heading in the ‘wrong direction’ (down 5 points from November) and 24% think things are heading in ‘the right direction’ (up three points).
  • The ‘net score’ on this measure of -22 has recovered to similar levels to those seen last August (-19) after dipping to -35 and -30 in October and November. 

Direction of the country

Favourability tracking for parties and their leaders

  • Favourability numbers for the main GB parties and their leaders are largely unchanged since November. Roughly equal numbers of Britons are favourable towards the Conservative Party and Labour but the 11% that are favourable towards the Lib Dems is a record low.
  • Rishi Sunak continues to be the most popular politician on our list with 39% favourable towards the Chancellor and 27% unfavourable. However, the Chancellor’s ‘net favourability’ rating is steadily falling over time, standing at +12 now compared to +15 in November and +29 when he was first measured in May 2020.

Rishi Sunak: FavourabilityFavourability of leading politiciansIpsos MORI Research Director Keiran Pedley said of the findings:

With Brexit continuing to divide opinion and widespread concern about COVID, it is unsurprising that Britons are pessimistic about the direction of the country – though they are less pessimistic than they were in late 2020. 
As we look ahead at 2021 politically, Rishi Sunak’s poll ratings are worth watching. The Chancellor remains the most favourably viewed politician on our list but his scores are gradually softening over time. It will be interesting to see if that continues, or not, as the political debate over Britain’s post COVID economic recovery gathers pace this year.

Technical note:

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,115 British adults aged 18+. Interviews were conducted online from 8th and 11th January 2021. 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)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs

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