Politicians top Santa’s naughty list while NHS staff, Captain Tom and Marcus Rashford make the nice list

Take a look at 2020's naughty and nice list, as decided by the British public.

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
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A new poll by Ipsos MORI reveals who makes the naughty and nice lists this year and it looks like world leaders may have to settle for a piece of coal. Whilst NHS staff, and new national heroes Captain Tom and Marcus Rashford, can look forward to full stockings this Christmas! 

Q. Who from the following would you expect to be on Santa’s ‘naughty / nice list’ this year? Please select all that apply. (Top 5 on each list shown)



Donald Trump - 59% NHS Staff - 60%
Dominic Cummings - 44% Captain Sir Thomas Moore - 49%
Vladimir Putin - 39% Marcus Rashford - 34%
Boris Johnson - 34% The Queen - 33%
Jeremy Corbyn - 32% Dame Judi Dench - 21%

Note: 37 public figures were included in the poll. Numbers for each one can be found in the charts linked at the bottom of the page.

Who is on the naughty list?

After a chaotic year, it’s perhaps unsurprising that politicians are most likely to be put on the British public’s naughty list this year. Donald Trump tops the list with 6 in 10 Britons (59%) believing his year should be rewarded with a lump of coal. Over 4 in 10 say Dominic Cummings is undeserving of presents this year, 44% say he belongs on the naughty list, higher than any elected British politician. Four in ten (39%) believe Vladimir Putin does not deserve any presents under the tree this year while around a third say the same for Boris Johnson (34%) and Jeremy Corbyn (32%). Priti Patel (30%), Piers Morgan (25%) and Rita Ora (22%) sit just outside the top 5 on our list. 

Who is on the nice list?

Those who’ve played a big role in the community this year top the nice list. After a year no one saw coming, NHS staff, deservedly, are most likely to be seen as nice by the British public (60%), while half (49%) believe Captain Tom Moore deserves some nice presents after his epic fundraiser and knighthood.
Marcus Rashford makes the nice list for over a third of Brits (34%) after he focussed his fame on making sure children got fed during these challenging times, while a similar proportion believe the Queen has been nice this year. Dame Judi Dench finishes the top 5 on the nice list, 1 in 5 (21%) say she’s been good. 

Not all politicians are naughty, the incoming US Presidential ticket and New Zealand’s Prime Minister have successfully bucked the trend. One in five (18%) believe Joe Biden has been good compared to 8% who say he’s been bad. One in ten (10%) believe Kamala Harris deserves some gifts, 3% disagree. Jacinda Ardern has been put on the nice list by 11% of Britons, only 1% say she should be on the naughty list. 

Ipsos MORI Research Director Keiran Pedley said of the findings:

This survey tells us something about how Britons look back at 2020. NHS staff are rightly considered heroes, whilst Captain Tom and Marcus Rashford have also captured the public’s imagination with their impressive efforts to help others. On the other hand, we know that Donald Trump is very unpopular with the British public and that the Dominic Cummings story really made headlines earlier this year, so it is perhaps not surprising to see those two top Santa’s ‘naughty list’” with the public.

Technical note:

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,010 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted online on the 10th-11th December 2020 Data are weighted to the profile of the population.   

Image note:

  1. Donald Trump: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Donald_Trump_official_portrait.jpg
  2. Dominic Cummings: Screenshot taken from press conference, Channel 4, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGLRBwYZEHs.
  3. Vladimir Putin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vladimir_Putin_11-10-2020_(cropped).jpg, credited to www.kremlin.ru.
  4. Boris Johnson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Boris_Johnson_official_portrait_(cropped).jpg
  5. Jeremy Corbyn: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Official_portrait_of_Jeremy_Corbyn_crop_2,_2020.jpg
  6. NHS staff: https://www.gloshospitals.nhs.uk/charity/what-we-do/campaigns/100000-of-mental-health-support-confirmed-for-local-nhs-staff/#images
  7. Captain Sir Thomas Moore ‘Captain Tom’: https://twitter.com/captaintommoore/photo
  8. Marcus Rashford: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FWC_2018_-_Round_of_16_-_COL_v_ENG_-_Photo_106_(cropped).jpg, credited to Oleg Bkhambri.
  9. Queen Elizabeth II: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Queen_Elizabeth_II_in_March_2015.jpg
  10. Dame Judi Dench: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JudiDenchFeb07.jpg, credited to Caroline Bonarde Ucci.

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs

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