Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ latest voting intention poll in Great Britain finds the Conservative Party leading the Labour Party by 3%. The Conservatives lead has increased by 2% in the past fortnight. The full numbers (with changes from 19 November in parentheses) are as follows:
Conservative 40% (–)
Labour 37% (-2)
Liberal Democrat 9% (+1)
Scottish National Party 5% (–)
Green 6% (+2)
Plaid Cymru 1% (+1)
Other 3% (-1)
When respondents who say they ‘do not know’ how they would vote in the next General Election are included, our voting intention result also finds the Conservative Party leading by 3%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 16% of our sample responded, ‘don’t know,’ a slight rise of 1% compared to last week. A significant minority (15%) of 2019 Conservative supporters continue to say they do not know how they would vote. Meanwhile, the proportion of 2019 Labour voters who do not know how they would vote has risen to 7%. More than a fifth (22%) of those who voted for the Liberal Democrats in 2019 now say they are unsure who they will vote for at the next General Election.
At this stage 59% say they are certain to vote in the event of a General Election, a noticeable 6% decline since 11 November.
The same proportion as a fortnight ago (36%) say that the Conservatives are likely to win the highest number of seats at the next General Election, while 31% currently say Labour are likely to do so. The proportion of 2019 Conservative voters who expect Labour to win the most seats in 2024 continues to decline, and now stands at 9%, six points lower than three weeks ago.
The announcement that a vaccine will be distributed from next week has positively impacted the Government’s net competency rating, which has improved by 3% this week to -11%. Overall, 38% think the current Government is incompetent (three points lower than a fortnight ago), whereas 27% say the Government is competent––the same proportion as 19 November. The percentage of 2019 Conservative voters who think the Government is incompetent has declined by 2% to 15%, while a majority (50%) of Conservatives now say they consider the Government competent. Moreover, 57% of 2019 Labour voters say the Government is incompetent, a decline of eight points compared to two weeks ago.
For the ninth consecutive poll, the Prime Minister’s net approval rating is below zero. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister’s approval rating has been boosted by a considerable 7% in the light of the announcement about a successful vaccine and the country’s emergence from a full lockdown, and now stands at only -1%. The proportion of the British public who disapprove of Boris Johnson’s job performance since he became Prime Minister has declined by four points to 40%, whereas 39% now approve.
By contrast, amid announcements of substantial job losses in the hospitality industry, and the collapse of Arcadia into administration, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s approval rating has declined significantly this week. Less than half (48%) now approve of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s job performance, while 19% now disapprove, leaving him with an overall approval rating six points lower than last week.
In addition, Keir Starmer’s approval rating has also dropped. The Labour Leader’s net approval rating has declined by four points to +9% overall. Overall, 34% approve of Keir Starmer’s performance, while 25% disapprove. A third (33%) continue to neither approve nor disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance. The high proportion who neither approve nor disapprove could be a reflection of Starmer’s strategy of not taking a strong stance on key issues, such as the new coronavirus restriction tiers introduced by the Government this week.
Boris Johnson’s straight contest lead over Keir Starmer more than doubled to 11% this week. Currently, 43% think Boris Johnson would be the better Prime Minister for the UK at this moment (an increase of four points in the last fortnight), whereas about a third (32%) now think Keir Starmer would be. Moreover, almost a fifth (19%) of 2019 Labour voters now believe Boris Johnson would be the better Prime Minister for the UK at this moment, an increase of 4% since November 19. By contrast, only 9% of Conservative supporters believe Keir Starmer would be the best Prime Minister at this moment.
Furthermore, Boris Johnson now holds a significant lead (8%) over Chancellor Rishi Sunak in regard to who the British public think would be the best Prime Minister, despite Sunak leading on this metric a fortnight ago. Altogether, 39% would prefer Boris Johnson, while 31% would prefer Rishi Sunak.
The proportion of the British public who view Boris Johnson as the leader best placed to bring British people together has risen by three points to 40%. Furthermore, the Prime Minister has increased his lead over Keir Starmer by 4-5% across several measurables – including in reference to who can build a strong economy (a 15% lead), which leader knows how to get things done (a 10% lead), and who will stand up for the interests of the United Kingdom (a 10% lead). In the immediate aftermath of the announcement that a coronavirus vaccine will be administered in the UK starting next week, Boris Johnson’s lead in regard to who can best tackle the coronavirus pandemic has doubled to 12%.
Moreover, while Keir Starmer continues to lead the Prime Minister on several key characteristics, his lead has shrunk by 7% to one point (within the margin of error) in regard to who represents change and who cares about ordinary people. Furthermore, the leaders are now tied on who is more willing to work together with other parties whenever possible.
Overall, the Conservative Party has extended its lead over the Labour Party this week. The week’s events, most importantly the announcement that a vaccine has been approved for immediate roll-out in the UK, have had a significant positive impact on the public’s perspective of Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister’s approval rating has rebounded to its highest level in several weeks, and he now holds significant leads over both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer in regard to who would be the best Prime Minister for the country at this moment. Meanwhile, by contrast to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer have seen their approval ratings slide, and Boris Johnson has started to dominate the Labour Leader in regard to several key measurables. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether the Prime Minister’s changing fortunes were a temporary reaction to the positive news about the vaccine, or mark the beginning of what will become a long term positive shift in public opinion during the coming weeks and months.