Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ latest voting intention poll in Great Britain finds the Labour Party and the Conservative Party tied at 40%. The major parties have returned to parity after a single poll in which Labour led. The full numbers (with changes from 28 October in parentheses) are as follows:
Labour 40% (-1)
Conservative 40% (+1)
Liberal Democrat 7% (–)
Scottish National Party 5% (+1)
Green 5% (+1)
Plaid Cymru 0% (–)
Other 3% (-1)
When respondents who say they ‘do not know’ how they would vote in a General Election are included, our voting intention result also finds the two parties tied, this time at 34%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 14% of our sample responded, ‘don’t know,’ including 13% of those who voted Conservative in 2019 (compared to 6% of those who voted Labour) and 40% of those who did not vote in 2019.
Likelihood to vote, meanwhile, has remained relatively consistent. This week, 65% said they would be certain to vote in the event of a General Election in the United Kingdom, which is broadly in line with the results we have seen in recent months.
The parity between the Conservatives and Labour in our voting intention poll is further reflected in who the public thinks is likely to win the next General Election in 2024. With 35% saying the Conservatives are likely to win the highest number of seats and another 35% saying Labour are likely to do so, the perception of the Conservative Party’s relative strength, after 10 years in power, appears to have eroded in the eyes of the British public. Indeed, it is noteworthy that 15% of 2019 Conservative voters now expect Labour to win the most seats in 2024.
The Government’s Net Competency Rating this week stands at -16%, a slight 1% improvement from a fortnight ago. Overall, 42% find the current Government incompetent, and 26% find the Government competent, while 27% say the Government is neither competent nor incompetent. 6% say they do not know.
For the seventh consecutive poll, the Prime Minister’s net approval rating is below zero. Currently, 44% disapprove of Boris Johnson’s job performance since he became Prime Minister, whereas 37% approve, giving him a net approval rating of -7%, which is the same as in our last poll.
However, a majority (51%) continue to approve of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s job performance, while 18% disapprove, leaving him with an overall approval rating of +33% (4% higher than last week). The increase in Rishi Sunak’s approval rating may be linked to the Government’s extension of the furlough scheme to the end of March.
In a straight contest between Rishi Sunak and Boris Johsnon, just 2% more respondents (36% to 34%) think Boris Johnson would be the better Prime Minister for the United Kingdom at this moment. However, among those who voted Conservative in December 2019, the current Prime Minister leads 62% to 25%.
Since our last poll was conducted a fortnight ago, the Labour Party has suspended former leader Jeremy Corbyn, a move Keir Starmer described as “appropriate.” In the aftermath of this internal dispute within the Labour Party, Keir Starmer’s approval rating rose by 5%, and it now stands at net +14% approval. Overall, 38% approve of the Leader of the Opposition’s performance, while 24% disapprove. A quarter (25%) of those who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2019 Election approve of the Labour Leader’s performance, while a significant plurality (36%) of 2019 Conservative voters neither approve nor disapprove.
Boris Johnson’s straight contest lead over Keir Starmer decreased by one point to 4% this week. Whereas 40% think Boris Johnson would be the better Prime Minister for the UK at this moment, another 36% think Keir Starmer would be.
A greater proportion of respondents think the Leader of the Labour Party better embodies the characteristics of being someone who cares about people like them (39%), tells the truth (33%), represents change (42%), is in good physical and mental health (46%), and is willing to work with other parties when possible (40%). In a notable change compared to a fortnight ago, a slight plurality (39%) now views Keir Starmer as the leader who could best bring British people together.
Nevertheless, the Prime Minister continues to hold significant leads over Keir Starmer in regard to who can build a strong economy (a 13% lead), knows how to get things done (a 7% lead), and will stand up for the interests of the United Kingdom (an 8% lead). Furthermore, a slight plurality (35%) views the incumbent Prime Minister as the leader who can best tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
In the aftermath of the US Presidential Election, the British public is evenly split over which leader can best work with foreign leaders (40% say Johnson and 39% say Starmer). Respondents are also divided on which major party leader best understands the problems afflicting the United Kingdom (36-37%), and who best embodies the characteristics of being a strong leader (35-37%).
Overall, while Labour is again tied with the Conservative Party in voting intention, the approval rating of Keir Starmer has improved while the Prime Minister’s job performance continues to be viewed negatively. Meanwhile, seemingly insulated from the disapproval with the rest of the Government, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has enjoyed a further boost to his approval rating. Whereas Boris Johnson continues to hold a clear lead over Keir Starmer on who would make a better Prime Minister, a plurality now say the Labour Leader is the person who can bring British people together. The Prime Minister’s performance in the coming weeks—as the second lockdown winds down and Christmas approaches—might be decisive in determining whether the Conservatives can recover their lead, or whether the post-election momentum they enjoyed from December onwards is now unquestionably over.