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Conservatives extending their lead despite drop in cabinet’s personal ratings

Chris Hopkins Political Research Director 22/07/2020

July Savanta ComRes Political Tracker

The third poll in a new monthly series by Savanta ComRes gives the Conservative Party a six-point lead in the headline Westminster Voting Intention.

three in five (60%) Brits feel the economy is going to deteriorate over the next 12 months

If a week is a long time in politics, then a whole month is an era. Since last month’s Savanta ComRes Political Tracker, Rebecca Long-Bailey was sacked for sharing articles allegedly containing anti-Semitic conspiracies, a local COVID-19 lockdown covered all of Leicester, relations between the UK and China have gotten ever colder, we saw a Summer Economic Update aka ‘mini-budget’ and major employers have announced likely redundancies in the wake of the pandemic. It has certainly been eventful, and the consequences of all these actions undoubtedly influence our July tracker data.

Our latest Westminster Voting Intention has the Conservative Party extending their lead from last month, sitting at 43%, three points higher than June, while the Labour Party are on 37%, up just one point. These gains have come at the expense of the Liberal Democrats who have slumped to just 6%, offering a bleak backdrop as they head into their leadership contest throughout August, with both contenders Layla Moran and Ed Davey presenting rather different ideas in order to reclaim their lost ground.

Individual approval ratings hint that the Conservative Party’s widened lead may paint an overly flattering portrait. Across the board, save for the widely popular Chancellor, Cabinet members are seeing their favourability numbers decline.

Boris Johnson’s personal approval ratings have continued their long decline since we began tracking in May, with the COVID-19 amnesty period coming to an end and Cummings-gate sticking to his reputation; his numbers also hit a new low this month as he dropped four points and tipped into negative territory (-2) for the first time ever in the Savanta ComRes Political Tracker.

Meanwhile, the ratings of other key figures within his cabinet have also faced a further slight decline: Dominic Raab’s have dropped a further two points to 0; Matt Hancock’s have dropped five points to -3; and Priti Patel’s remain particularly low with a drop of three points to -16.

Bucking the trend, however, is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, whose ratings have bounced upwards by four points to +30. This will be reassuring for those looking on from the Treasury, as for now, Rishi Sunak’s fiscal solutions have provided light relief from the gloomier news of mass lay-offs. It will be interesting to see whether his popularity holds up as the UK enters further months of financial hardship which may begin to be felt even more acutely. In fact, three in five (60%) Brits feel the economy is going to deteriorate over the next 12 months.

Despite the lag in the Westminster Voting Intention figures, Sir Keir Starmer’s personal ratings may be well-received at Labour HQ, as his favourability has seen an uptick of four points to +5. This positivity is also reflected in the Best Prime Minister ratings, where the Labour leader has been on the receiving-end of a six-point swing in his favour against Boris Johnson. While the incumbent PM still leads on this with 40% to Sir Keir’s 31%, it reflects a positive trajectory for the Leader of the Opposition since we last reported in June.

In his first 100 days as both leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer is adjudged to be performing well by a ratio of 2:1 against those who believe he is performing poorly. In fact, among 2019 Labour voters, over two thirds (69%) believe his performance as leader of the Labour Party has been good to date.

Methodology: Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,085 UK adults online from the 17 to 19 July 2020. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all UK adults. Voting Intention is also weighted by 2019 past vote recall, EU Referendum past vote and likelihood to vote. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

To access the full data tables, click here.

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