Rishi Sunak remains popular for his handling of Coronavirus

Ipsos MORI's August Political Monitor shows that Rishi Sunak remains popular for his handling of the Coronavirus outbreak.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs, Ipsos MORI North
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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  • Rishi Sunak remains popular for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak
  • Doubts about Labour persist, although less negative than before

Chancellor Rishi Sunak continues to receive positive feedback from the British public for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the latest Ipsos MORI Political Monitor. Three in five (60%) say he’s handled the coronavirus crisis well (13% say badly), little changed from June. This compares to 43% who say Boris Johnson has handled it well, and 38% for Matt Hancock. Other findings from the survey include:

Handling of the Coronavirus outbreak

  • Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, also receives good scores with 62% saying he’s handled the crisis well (up 4 points from June) while 13% say badly (down 3 points).
  • 42% say the Government overall has handled the outbreak well (up 2 points) and 40% say badly (down 4 points)
  • The public are split on how Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has handled the outbreak with 38% each saying he’s handled it well (down 4 points) and the same saying badly (up 1 point).
  • 31% say Labour Leader, Keir Starmer, has handled the crisis well while 14% say badly – however 30% are neutral and 25% don’t know.

Handling of the Coronavirus

Satisfaction in the Leaders

  • Just under half (47%) say they are satisfied in how Boris Johnson is doing his job as PM, 48% dissatisfied – giving him a net score of -1 (no change from June).
  • Half (48%) say they are satisfied with Keir Starmer doing his job as Labour Leader (down 3 point) but there has been a six-point rise in his dissatisfaction ratings to 26% – leaving him a net score of +22.
  • 87% of Conservative supporters are satisfied with the PM (up 3 points) while 67% of Labour supporters are satisfied with Keir Starmer (down 10 points).
  • 44% are satisfied with the way the Government overall is doing its job (up 4 points) with 48% dissatisfied (down 3 points) giving it a net score of -4.

Labour ready to form the next government?

  • Three in ten (29%) agree that Labour are ready to form the next government – little change from the 32% in November 2019 just before the last election when Jeremy Corbyn was leader. Nearly half (47%) disagree that Labour is ready, although this is less negative than the 59% last November.
  • 31% agree that there would be chaos if a Labour government was elected at the next General Election (down from 52% in September 2019) while 47% disagree (up from 35%).
  • 40% agree that the word ‘competent’ is an accurate description of the current government (up from 22% in September 2019) with 44% disagreeing (down from 66%).

Who has what it takes to be a good Prime Minister?

  • 45% agree that Boris Johnson ‘has what it takes’ to be a good Prime Minister (43% disagree) – down 4 points from February (those who disagree are up 3 points).
  • 87% of Conservative supporters however agree Johnson has what it takes (8% disagree) – little change from February.
  • 38% agree that Keir Starmer has what it takes to be a good Prime Minister, up six points from February (24% disagree, while 24% are neutral and 14% don’t know).
  • 60% of Labour supporters agree that Starmer has what it takes (9% disagree) which is up 15 points from February.
  • Rishi Sunak’s ratings are similar to Keir Starmer’s – 36% think he has what it takes (rising to 46% among Conservative supporters), while 22% disagree, 27% are neutral and 15% don’t know.

Good Prime MinisterVoting intentions

  • Voting intentions are similar to the picture in June. Ipsos MORI’s headline figures have the Conservatives on 45% (+2), Labour 37% (-1), Liberal Democrats 6% (-4).

Commenting on the findings, Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:

Rishi Sunak is one of the biggest winners from the public’s desire to see strong government action to support those affected by the coronavirus, with positive ratings from both sides of the political spectrum. It is though a bigger step to be seen as a PM-in-waiting, and public opinion is not there yet (and there are still concerns about the economic impacts of the pandemic), but he’s starting from a better position than most other contenders in recent years. Meanwhile some of the negative views towards Labour have softened from last year, and people are much less likely to think they would bring chaos if elected. However, despite Keir Starmer’s leadership ratings, they still have some way to go to build actively positive views towards the party

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,019 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 30th July – 4th August. Data are weighted to the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error. On the basis of the historical record of the polls at recent general elections, there is a 9 in 10 chance that the true value of a party’s support lies within 4 points of the estimates provided by this poll, and a 2 in 3 chance that they lie within 2 points.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs, Ipsos MORI North
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs

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