Tories still trail Labour despite Budget and small boats announcements – poll

·3-min read

Positive views of the Conservative Party have returned to their lowest level since the last election, according to a new poll.

Despite a raft of policy announcements on small boats, Brexit and the Budget, pollster Ipsos found just 20% of people had a favourable view of the Tories in a poll carried out between March 17 and 20.

The figure is five points lower than in February and equals the lows seen in October and November after the resignation of then-prime minister Liz Truss.

In terms of favourability, Ipsos’s survey saw the Conservatives fall to fourth place behind the Liberal Democrats on 23%, the Green Party on 28% and Labour on 37%.

Some 52% of people told the pollster they had a negative view of the Conservatives, with Labour the only party to have a positive net favourability rating overall.

The survey of 1,135 British adults also found that the right-wing Reform UK party had a net favourability rating of -25%, better than the Tories’ overall rating of -32%.

Keir Starmer visit to Wick
Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour is the only party with a positive net favourability rating in Ipsos’s latest poll (PA)

Rishi Sunak’s personal rating has changed little since February, with the Prime Minister’s favourability rating continuing to trail that of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Some 29% said they had a positive view of Mr Sunak, with 45% saying they had a negative one.

Sir Keir’s figures showed 31% had a favourable opinion compared to 37% who said they were unfavourable towards him.

Keiran Pedley, research director at Ipsos, said: “Rishi Sunak’s personal poll ratings do not seem to have improved much, if at all, following the recent Budget and announcements regarding UK asylum policy.

“While less negative than last October, Britons are still fairly pessimistic about the future of the country and the Conservative Party remains unpopular with more than half unfavourable towards it.

“The Prime Minister will hope a sustained period of political stability and improvement in the economy will help him turn his party’s fortunes around.”

(PA Graphics)

Some 58% of people told Ipsos they thought Britain was heading in the wrong direction, down from a peak of 69% in October but still well above the 16% who think the country is heading in the right direction.

More than 50% of people also said they thought Brexit was having a negative impact on the economy for the fifth month in a row.

In a separate poll of 2,000 UK adults, pollster Savanta found Labour’s lead over the Conservatives stood at 16%, up two points from the previous week.

Labour support remained unchanged on 45%, according to the poll conducted between March 24 and 26, while Conservative support had declined slightly to 29%.

The Liberal Democrats were third on 9% while Reform UK and the SNP were joint fourth on 4%.

Chris Hopkins, political research director at Savanta, said: “This poll represents the fifth in a row with a Labour lead in the mid-high teens.

“Whether this is down to chance or not remains to be seen, but after many recent polls showing Labour leaders of 20-plus points, there does seem to be an industry-wide trend of a move, albeit a small one, towards the Conservative Party.

“The big question is whether that matters. Polling aggregators would point to seat models that would still predict Labour majorities of over 100 as a sign that it doesn’t.

“The current trend – if, indeed, it continues – has a long way to go before it begins to really put a Labour majority into jeopardy, and therefore any sense of a Conservative recovery are perhaps a little premature – but every recovery has to start somewhere.”