Given recent events, it may come as little surprise that a majority of UK adults think it likely that Boris Johnson will not be Prime Minister by the end of 2022. Six in ten (62%) predict this compared with a quarter (25%) who think it unlikely. Even 58% of 2019 Conservative voters think he will have left (31% believe it unlikely). In comparison, opinions are split when it comes to Keir Starmer’s position as Leader of the Labour Party. Thirty-eight per cent think he will not hold the position by the end of the year while 36% disagree. 2019 Labour supporters are also split – 39% think he will have left, but exactly the same proportion say it is unlikely.
However, while half (52%) expect there to be a General Election next year, this is well down on the 72% in 2018 who (correctly) predicted there would be a General Election in 2019. Labour voters are most likely to forecast an election next year (59%), but half (48%) of Conservatives think it unlikely.
Over the pond, hopes are higher for Joe Biden in his position as President of the United States Half (51%) think it is unlikely that he will lose his job before the year is done while 3 in 10 say he’ll be out of the Oval office by 2023.
In Europe, half of Britons expect another European country to hold a vote on leaving the EU, 52% say this is likely (down from 58% in 2018’s predictions for 2019) while 3 in 10 (31%) disagree. Another half (49%) think it’s probable that Russia will invade Ukraine in 2022, only 1 in 5 (22%) think it unlikely.
Britons are still not confident that we will have got over the pandemic in 2022. Almost two-thirds (65%) think another national lockdown is likely next year while a similar proportion expect to see a new variant which is completely resistant to vaccines (62%). Only a quarter (24%) think we’ll see all Covid restrictions lifted permanently while 7 in 10 (69%) disagree.
Economy and business
Nor do people think the coronavirus’ impact on the economy is over. Opinion is split as to whether employees are likely to go back to work in offices full time. Four in 10 (40%) believe office workers will be back in their place of work full time while half (49%) do not.
Overall, only a third (36%) of the UK public expect to see their personal financial situation improve over the course of 2022 while half (50%) think it unlikely. Younger people are most hopeful, 51% of under 35s think their situations are likely to improve compared with 28% of 35-75s. Furthermore, opinions are split as to whether they will be food shortages in the UK in 2022, half (48%) think this is likely to happen while 40% disagree.
When considering house prices, only 1 in 5 (20%) think they are likely to fall in their area while 63% disagree. Those in Greater London are most likely to expect this to happen, 3 in 10 (30%) in the capital think prices are likely to fall. Overall, this is more optimistic than predictions for 2019, when 41% expected average house prices to fall.
While many countries made pledges to help the environment in 2021, few expect differences to be seen in 2022. Half expect to see the hottest summer on record (51% - almost exactly the same as predictions for 2019), next year while only 3 in 10 disagree (29%, down from 37%).
Many Britons will be eagerly awaiting the announcement of the new James Bond actor after Daniel Craig made his final appearance in No Time to Die, but who will it be? Half (53%) expect to see an actor who is not a white male step into 007’s shoes while a quarter (26%) say this is unlikely. White Britons are more likely to expect this, 55% say this is likely compared with 46% of those from ethnic minority groups, 34% of whom believe it is unlikely.
Despite England’s strong showing in the Euros this year, only 22% expect them to go one better and win the football World Cup in 2022 (61% believe it is unlikely). Younger people are the most optimistic, 35% of under 35s forecast an England victory, against just 16% of 35-75s.
The Royal Family
Most UK adults expect to see Queen Elizabeth continue in her role during 2022: only a quarter (25%) think it’s likely that she will abdicate while 62% say it is unlikely. However, it is seen as slightly more likely than 2018’s predictions for 2019, when 17% thought it might happen.
Considering her grandson across the Atlantic, few expect to see Prince Harry return to the UK. Sixteen per cent say he and his family are likely to move back to the UK while almost three-quarters disagree (72%).
Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said of the findings:
It has been a hard few weeks for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives in terms of public opinion, and this is reflected in the numbers expecting a new occupant in Downing Street sometime next year, even among Conservative supporters (although it should be noted that expectations of a new general election are not as high as they were for 2019). Of course, people’s (and pollsters’) predictions can be wrong, but it’s also worth looking at the fundamentals: few think we will have cast off the impact of the pandemic next year and many think we will see another lockdown and more resistant variants, and only a minority think their personal financial situation will get better.
On other matters, after a year of record climate change concern and the UK hosting COP26, there has been no reduction in those forecasting another record hot summer. Meanwhile many still believe in the Queen’s sense of duty, about half think the next James Bond will break the white male mould, but you can’t accuse most people of having overly-optimistic expectations of England winning the 2022 World Cup.
- Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 2,100 UK adults aged 16-75. Interviews were conducted online between 14-15 December, 2021. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.
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