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Savanta ComRes Political Tracker – December 2021

Savanta ComRes Political Tracker for December 2021, including Westminster Voting Intention

Starmer overtakes Johnson in ‘Best PM’ metric for first time – Savanta ComRes


  • Best PM ratings: Boris Johnson 31% (-8); Keir Starmer 33% (+3); Don’t know 36% (+4)
  • Net favourability: Boris Johnson -27 (-13); UK government -27 (-11); Keir Starmer -4 (+3); Rishi Sunak +7 (-3)
  • Headline voting intention: Con 32 (-2); Lab 37 (-1); LD 13 (+3); SNP 4 (-1); Green 5 (+1); Other 9 (-)


Keir Starmer leads the incumbent Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in the ‘who would make the best Prime Minister?’ metric for the first time, according to the latest data from Savanta ComRes’ political tracker.


The tracker, running since May 2020, shows 33% of the public saying that Keir Starmer would make the best Prime Minister, compared to 31% who say the same for Boris Johnson. The proportion saying that Boris Johnson would make the best Prime Minister has dropped 8pts in the last month, and 17pts from his best ever score in May 2021.


And just three in five 2019 Conservative voters (60%) say that Boris Johnson would make the better Prime Minister, down 8pts from the previous month.


Starmer’s score of 33% is a 3pt rise from last month, and is his second highest ever rating in the Best PM metric, only behind the 35% he received in September 2020.


However, ‘Don’t know’ is above both leaders, with 36% of the public unable to choose between the two.


The poll also finds that, at -27, both Boris Johnson and the government’s net favourability are at their lowest ever levels, dropping 13pts and 11pts respectively since the last political tracker poll in November.


Rishi Sunak’s net favourability also drops by 3pts to +7, his fourth straight month of recording his lowest ever favourability rating, while Keir Starmer’s rating of -4 represents his best score since February.


In the headline voting intention, the Conservatives fall to just 32%, 5pts behind Labour who lead their third successive Savanta ComRes voting intention, on 37%.


Following their victory in the North Shropshire by-election, the Liberal Democrats are on 13%.


The poll also finds drops in public perceptions on how the Prime Minister embodies all of the Nolan principles for standards in public life compared to when the questions were last asked in April. The largest drop was for Leadership, down 13pts from 46% saying he does embody that characteristic in April to just 33% saying the same now. There were also double digit drops for Honesty (33% down to 22%), Accountability (38% down to 27%) and Integrity (33% down to 23%).


Labour leader Keir Starmer is viewed by the public to better embody all of the Nolan principles compared to the Prime Minister, with the greatest difference between the Labour leader and his Conservative counterpart on the principles of Honesty (41% vs 22%), Integrity (42% vs 23%), Openness (40% vs 25%) and Accountability (41% vs 27%).


Commenting on the findings, Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes says,


“The winter of discontent goes on for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives. I make this the nineteenth consecutive poll lead for Labour among all pollsters, and we haven’t seen that number of consistent poll leads for years – even when Labour were regularly in the lead in the middle of 2019, there was always the odd level-pegging poll to break things up a bit. However, voting intention aside, analysts always look at other metrics to give a more nuanced assessment of which way the country may vote, and the fact that Boris Johnson has relinquished his Best PM lead for the first time in our tracker probably says more than consecutive Labour leads.


But the fact remains that Conservative voters are not switching directly to Labour, and the opposition still need to do far more to convince voters that they have a credible alternative to the Johnson administration. And while Johnson’s position in his own party looks increasingly fragile, a new Conservative leader could be a nightmare for Labour, leaving them walking a strange tightrope whereby helping Johnson stay afloat could boost their long-term electoral prospects. If Starmer’s long game is waiting for the right moment to really twist the knife into the government, perhaps leaving it a little while longer is a better play than many are giving him credit for.”

Date Published: 22/12/2021

Categories: Voting Intention


Methodology: Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,096 UK adults aged 18+ online from 17-19 December 2021. Data were weighted to be representative of all UK adults by age, sex, region and SEG. Voting Intention was also weighted by past vote recall (2019 General Election and 2016 EU Referendum) as well as likelihood to vote. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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