Boris Johnson bows out as Prime Minister with his party faring almost as poorly in the opinion polls as when he began the job a little over three years ago.
The Conservatives’ vote share averaged 30% in the week ending August 28 2022: nearly as low as the 29% it averaged in the week to July 28 2019, the same week that Mr Johnson became PM.
The key difference between then and now is that in 2019 the Tories were ahead of Labour, while in 2022 they are behind.
When Boris Johnson began his premiership, Labour averaged 25% in the polls, four percentage points behind the Tories.
He is ending his premiership with Labour on 41%: 11 points ahead of the Conservatives.
Labour has enjoyed a consistent lead in the polls for the past nine months.
The size of the lead has varied, from an average of just three points to one as large as 12 points.
Labour moved ahead in the polls in early December 2021, around the time stories first began to emerge of Downing Street parties during Covid-19 lockdowns.
Before this point, Labour had spent much of the previous few years trailing well behind the Government.
The Conservatives under Boris Johnson enjoyed their highest poll numbers in the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic in spring 2020, when the party’s vote share climbed as high as 52%.
By autumn 2020 it had fallen to just below 40% while Labour had drawn level, in a period that saw the Government come in for criticism over its handling of lockdown restrictions.
But the Tories pulled ahead in early 2021, coinciding with the nationwide rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations.
The party remained in front of Labour until the start of “partygate”, just before Christmas 2021.
Opinion polls are snapshots of the prevailing public mood, not projections or forecasts.
With the next general election still more than two years away – the latest possible date is January 23 2025 – there is plenty of time for the national numbers to change.
But polls both shape and reflect the prevailing mood of the country, in turn affecting morale among politicians and party members alike.
The news for the Conservatives is equally grim when looking at Boris Johnson’s popularity scores.
The prime minister’s net favourability rating – the difference between the proportion of people saying they have a favourable opinion of him and those who have an unfavourable opinion – has been at or near an all-time low since January.
It currently stands at minus 49 points, according to figures compiled by the polling group YouGov.
Boris Johnson has had negative favourability ratings for almost his entire premiership, save for a few weeks at the start of the pandemic.
It first sank below minus 40 in December 2021 and dipped as low as minus 53 in early July 2022, coinciding with the time he announced his resignation.