3 charts that show unpopular Boris Johnson is right now

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·Political Correspondent, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read
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UXBRIDGE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Britain's Prime Minster Boris Johnson speaks with members of the Metropolitan Police in their break room, as he makes a constituency visit to Uxbridge police station on December 17, 2021 in Uxbridge, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson has seen his approval ratings plummet in recent weeks. (PA Images)

The prime minister's approval ratings across the board have sunk in recent weeks as frustration over his leadership begins to grow.

Boris Johnson, once dubbed by some of his colleagues as the "Teflon Tory", has failed to come out unscathed from a string of government scandals in quick succession.

He had already seen a decline in popularity following the fallout from the Owen Patterson lobbying scandal, but it seems that was just a prequel to what would come next.

Parties and social gatherings held in Downing Street during lockdown have hit him, and his party, hard in the polls - culminating with a devastating by-election defeat in a Tory heartland last Thursday.

Boris Johnson approval ratings

Source: YouGov
Source: YouGov

Johnson enjoyed good public approval in the aftermath of the 2019 general election, with YouGov placing 46% of the British public thinking he was doing "well" versus 26% thinking he was doing "badly".

That positive reception was reflected in the huge majority he won in the election, handing Labour their worst defeat in nearly 100 years.

However, since his landslide, Johnson has seen his approval ratings inexorably decline.

Some 71% of people said they believed the prime minister was doing badly in a poll released on Monday, with just 23% of respondents thinking he was doing well.

Starmer vs Johnson

YouGov best PM tracker
Source: YouGov

Johnson will not only find the polling on his performance as prime minister concerning, but also how he's doing against the leader of the opposition, Labour's Sir Keir Starmer.

Just 22% of the public saw Starmer as the best choice of prime minister between the two when he was elected Labour leader in April 2020, with 46% believing the best choice was Johnson.

Since then, Starmer has struggled to make an impact with the British public despite the high number of COVID-19 deaths and criticism of the government's management of the pandemic.

However, the recent scandals surrounding Johnson seems to be working in Starmer's favour - with the British public now seeing him as the better option at 33%, versus Johnson at 23%.

Voting intention

yougov voting intnetion
Source: YouGov

Unsurprisingly, Johnson sinking in the polls is beginning to have an impact on his party's prospects with the broader electorate.

In the aftermath of the general election in 2019, the Conservatives enjoyed an eye-watering 20-point lead over Jeremy Corbyn's Labour - polling at 49% versus Labour's 29%.

And, despite accusations of mismanagement of the pandemic, Johnson's Conservatives continued to enjoy a comfortable lead over Starmer's Labour.

Read more: How Conservative MPs can get rid of Boris Johnson

However, the situation has begun to change, with a turning point appearing to be the Patterson lobbying scandal that was the beginning of a costly string of scandals.

The most clear example was the Conservatives' devastating defeat in North Shropshire last week, with the Liberal Democrats bagging what had historically been an incredibly safe Tory seat.

National polling from 14 to 15 December put Labour at 37%, ahead of the Conservatives at 32% - and it's not just the electorate Johnson has to fear.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covid-19). Picture date: Tuesday March 23, 2021.
There is growing discontent in the prime minister's own party over his leadership. (PA Images)

The deteriorating image for the Conservatives of the prime minister is something that is not going unnoticed by those in his party, many of which are already frustrated with the introduction of new coronavirus restrictions.

Johnson has consistently been seen as an election asset by his party, but the YouGov polling now shows that he is negative territory with Conservative voters - which may be the biggest problem he faces,

On Wednesday, senior Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said the prime minister's premiership is in "some danger", warning "the prime minister has really got to think very carefully about how he's going to reset his performance.

"If he doesn't realise that, then he will be in much bigger danger."

And Sir Roger Gale, also a senior Conservative MP, became the first Tory to confirm he had submitted a letter of no confidence to the 1922 Committee. And, should 15% of Johnson's own MPs submit letters, he could face a vote of no confidence - should he lose that, he'll no longer be prime minister.

It is becoming clear that the days of this increasingly unpopular prime minister's premiership could be numbered.

Watch: Tory MP warns Boris Johnson 'one more strike and he's out'

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