Support for Sunak slides amid pessimism about direction of UK, poll finds

Rishi Sunak’s approval rating has reached its lowest point yet amid widespread pessimism about Brexit and the direction of the UK, a poll has found.

Just 27% of people told pollster Ipsos that they had a favourable opinion of the Prime Minister in a survey carried out between February 10 and 15, while 46% said they had an unfavourable view.

A month earlier, 30% of people said they held a favourable view of Mr Sunak and 39% said they held an unfavourable one.

The figures are the worst of Mr Sunak’s premiership and are more in line with the overall favourability rating of his party and his predecessor-but-one Boris Johnson.

The poll of 2,200 British adults found just 25% had a favourable view of the Conservatives, up from 20% when Mr Sunak took over, and 28% had a favourable opinion of Mr Johnson. However, both the Conservatives and Mr Johnson had “unfavourable” scores above 50%.

Meanwhile his opponent, Sir Keir Starmer, continues to outpoll him with a favourability score of 32%, although 39% of people said they had an unfavourable view of the Labour leader.

Ipsos research director Keiran Pedley said: “When Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister it was notable that his personal poll ratings were significantly better than those of his party.

“This increasingly no longer appears to be the case amidst public pessimism about the direction of the country.”

That pessimism was reflected in Ipsos’s finding that 60% of people now think the country is heading in the wrong direction.

While Mr Sunak has spent the week attempting to negotiate a solution to the row over the Northern Ireland Protocol, Ipsos found 55% of people thought Brexit has had a negative impact on the UK.

This was the most pessimistic figure for Brexit recorded by Ipsos since the company started asking about the impact of leaving the EU in January 2020.

Mr Pedley added: “Our polling shows strong public concern about the cost of living and public services, whilst Brexit is being viewed more negatively over time as well.

“The Prime Minister will hope he is able to seize the political agenda in the coming weeks and months if he is to have any chance of turning his fortunes around.”