Labour’s leader is ahead of the Conservative Prime Minister on a range of leadership attributes including “sound judgment” and being a good representative for Britain on the world stage, found the Ipsos MORI research for the Evening Standard.
Mr Johnson has huge leads on two of his strongest areas – for showing patriotism and having a lot of personality.
But the findings are a boost for Sir Keir on the day he makes his first keynote address to the annual Labour conference since he took over from defeated Jeremy Corbyn.
The gap between the two big parties has narrowed from eight points to just three points over the past month, found Ipsos MORI
The Conservatives are down five points to 40 per cent since August, which is their lowest share since October 2019. Labour is unchanged at 37 per cent. The Liberal Democrats are up two points to eight per cent and the Greens stay at five.
Key findings from the survey include:
Sir Keir is seen by 44 per cent of people as a capable leader, while only 37 per cent say the same of Mr Johnson. By a greater proportion, Sir Keir wins for having sound judgment. The pair tie for being “good in a crisis” .
Mr Johnson is streets ahead for personality, with 67 per cent saying he has lots of it, compared with just a quarter who said the same of Sir Keir.
The Tory leader is also far out in front for patriotism, backed by 68 per cent, compared with just 43 per cent who said it of Sir Keir.
Neither makes people feel confident for the future – they tied, with just three in 10 people saying they gave them confidence.
Sir Keir scored best for understanding Britain’s problems, and for honesty. Mr Johnson was more seen as “out of touch with ordinary people” and being “more style than substance”.
More than half of the public – some 54 per cent - are dissatisfied with the way Mr Johnson is performing, compared with 40 per cent who are content. Both leaders have seen their satisfaction scores take a knock in the past month, but only Sir Keir’s is positive overall. Some 43 per cent say they are happy with the way Labour’s leader is doing his job, while 27 per cent are unhappy.
Both leaders are pleasing their own supporters. Eight in 10 Conservatives are happy with Mr Johnson’s performance, while seven in 10 Labour voters are happy with Sir Keir.
Pessimism about the economy is still high, with two thirds of the public thinking things will get worse over the year ahead. Just 21 per cent think things will get better.
Sir Keir is seen as a more likeable person than Jeremy Corbyn. Some 51 per cent say they like him, compared with Mr Corbyn’s worst score of 23 per cent in November 2019 and Mr Corbyn’s best score of 46 per cent in September 2017. Old people in particular like Mr Starmer: some 55 per cent of over-55s, compared with just 11 per cent of that age group a month before the 2019 election.
Starmer is also more popular with voters than the party he leads. Just 38 per cent like the Labour Party. For Mr Johnson the scores are 45 per cent like him and 42 per cent like the Conservative Party.
Gideon Skinner, the head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “Although a bit of the shine is coming off, Keir Starmer is still doing relatively well in public perceptions for a new opposition leader – and he’s liked among older voters as well as the young.
“He’s building an image of a capable leader with sound judgement rather than on his personality, but still has work to do to convert his popularity into support for his party.”
Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,013 adults across GB by phone from September 11 to 18. Data are weighted. Details from www.Ipsos-mori.com