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Half of the public have a lower opinion of Rishi Sunak than they did a year ago, a poll has found.
The Chancellor’s handling of the cost-of-living crisis and stories about his wife’s non-domiciled tax status have fuelled a rapid fall in Mr Sunak’s popularity, the survey by Ipsos discovered.
Not only did 51% of people say they felt less positively towards him now than a year ago, more than two in five Conservative voters said the same thing, while only 10% felt more positive about him.
High levels of public concern over inflation and general pessimism over the economy suggests there is no easy route back to his previous high levels of public regard
Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos, said: “The Chancellor’s public satisfaction ratings have fallen some way from their heights earlier in the pandemic.
“While this trend started last year, this research suggests that at the moment more topical issues are casting a cloud over the public’s views, particularly the cost of living, but also stories about his wife’s tax arrangements and the impact of the fines for Downing Street parties breaking lockdown restrictions.”
Almost two-thirds of those who said they had a lower opinion of Mr Sunak told Ipsos this was due to his handling of the cost-of-living crisis, while 61% cited stories about his wife’s tax arrangements.
Mr Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, was revealed earlier in April to be claiming non-dom status, meaning she did not pay tax on foreign earnings in the UK. She has since announced she will pay UK tax on her foreign income, potentially amounting to millions of pounds.
Around half of those who had a lower opinion of Mr Sunak cited partygate, identifying both his support for Boris Johnson during the scandal and the fact that the Chancellor himself received a fine for breaking lockdown laws.
However, the poll of 1,038 adults found the public was still split on whether Mr Sunak was doing a good job.
Some 36% said he was doing a bad job, while 34% thought he was doing a good one. Another 24% told Ipsos that Mr Sunak was doing neither a good job nor a bad job as Chancellor.
Mr Skinner said: “High levels of public concern over inflation and general pessimism over the economy suggests there is no easy route back to his previous high levels of public regard, though there may be some comfort that his ratings have shown a bit of recovery from the immediate aftermath of the fines being issued.”