Majority of Britons think things are headed in the ‘wrong direction’ – first time this year

Ipsos MORI's October 2020 Political Pulse shows fewer than one in five (18%) now think the country is headed in the right direction.

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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The latest Ipsos MORI Political Pulse, a nationally representative online survey of 1,109 Britons, taken over the last weekend (2nd – 5th October) shows that 53% of Britons think things in Great Britain are headed in the ‘wrong direction’ (up 8 points from August). Meanwhile, just one in five (18%) say things are headed in ‘the right direction’ (down 8 points). These are the highest and lowest figures recorded this year for ‘wrong’ and ‘right’ direction respectively.

Direction

Elsewhere in the poll, Rishi Sunak remains the most popular of the four politicians included in the poll with 39% favourable towards the Chancellor (down 3 points from August) and 22% unfavourable (no change). Sunak is the only politician in the poll with a net positive rating (+17).

Leaders

In terms of other politicians on the list, the negative step change in Boris Johnson’s figures witnessed in August remains in October. 27% are favourable towards the PM (down 2 points) and 48% unfavourable (up 2 points).

Johnson

Meanwhile, Keir Starmer’s ratings are largely unchanged, with 29% favourable towards the Labour leader (-1 point) and 30% unfavourable (+2 points). 21% are favourable towards Health Secretary Matt Hancock (down 2 points) and 44% are unfavourable (up 2 points).

Elsewhere in the poll, looking at favourability towards the main GB political parties, little change is observed, with equal proportions of Britons favourable towards Labour and the Conservative Party (26% for each) but more Britons are unfavourable towards the Conservative Party (47%) than Labour (39%). The Lib Dem figures are also very stable over time, with 14% favourable towards the party and 41% unfavourable.

Parties

In ‘net favourability’ terms, this means that all three major GB parties hold negative net favourability ratings. Labour is technically ahead of the Conservatives on this measure for the second month running but this is because of an increase in unfavourability towards the Conservatives this autumn rather than any increase in favourability towards Labour. Ipsos MORI Research Director Keiran Pedley said of the findings

Given the backdrop of rising cases of coronavirus and increased restrictions in different areas of the country, it is not surprising that Britons increasingly think things are heading in the ‘wrong direction’ with our data showing a majority feeling this way for the first time this year. Meanwhile, the public hold different views on different members of the government. The Prime Minister and Health Secretary hold negative net favourability ratings (-21 and -23 respectively). In contrast, Chancellor Rishi Sunak holds very positive ratings, with a net favourability score of +17, suggesting that the public continue to be reasonably impressed with the job the Chancellor is doing.

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,109 British adults aged 18+. Interviews were conducted online from 2nd and 5th October 2020. 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 Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs

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