'Far Too Rich For My Liking': Voters Deliver Damning Verdict On Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty
Rishi Sunak is seen as “out of touch with the people” by key voters who will help to decide the result of the next general election.
The prime minister was also branded “far too rich for my liking” and not “fit for purpose” in Number 10.
Research carried out by the More in Common group found that people are grateful for the work he did as chancellor during the pandemic, particularly the furlough scheme which saw the government pay people to stay off work.
However, it also showed that millionaire Sunak’s wealth may well prove to be a major barrier to him being re-elected prime minister next year.
The findings emerged as voters across England and Wales prepare to go to the polls on Thursday in the local elections.
More in Common asked voters in Leigh and Heywood and Middleton what they thought of the prime minister.
They found that gaffes like having to get the electricity network in his constiutuency upgraded to heat his personal swimming pool had left voters believing he cannot understand ordinary people’s lives.
One voter said: “I don’t think he’s fit for purpose in this role. I don’t think he understands what people go through.”
Another added: “He’s out of touch with the people and he’s far too rich for my liking.”
A third person said: “I feel he was much better as a chancellor than he is as a prime minister.
“He’s a billionaire. He likes to proclaim he’s from Yorkshire and ‘I know the price of a beer’, but I’m not so sure he does.”
“Someone who’s grown up within the wealth that surrounds him and always has done can’t possibly understand what it’s like for somebody like me,” a female voter added.
However, a small number of voters believed that Sunak’s wealth meant he “couldn’t be bought” by outside interests.
More In Common also found that part of the reason Labour has stretched its lead over the Tories in crucial “Red Wall” seats in the north of England and the Midlands is the “perception that Sunak is out of touch”.
Overall, 58% of voters believe the PM “is out of touch with people like me”, compared to 39% who say the same about Labour leader Keir Starmer.
For Starmer, More In Common found that the main positive among voters is that he is “not Corbyn”.
The fact that he campaigned to make the former Labour leader prime minister at the last election - a key Tory attack line - has not come up unprompted in any focus group.
However, voters are still unclear about what Starmer stands for.
“They want to hear how Keir will make things better,” More In Common said. “They want a tangible vision, not a soaring vision.”
Voters’ views on Sunak will be welcomed by Labour, who have been stepping up their personal attacks on the prime minister in recent weeks.
At prime minister’s questions last Wednesday, Starmer said he was “clueless about life outside his bubble”.
He also took a swipe at the PM’s refusal to scrap the non-dom tax status which his wife, Akshata Murty, used to benefit from.
However, More In Common also found that voters were turned off by the controversial attack ads Labour launched against Sunak, including one which accused the prime minister of not supporting the jailing of child sex offenders.
That particular ad was described as “really desperate”, in “poor taste” and a “low blow”.