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Boris Johnson’s approval rating plummets after Dominic Cummings scandal, poll suggests

More people now unfavourable towards the prime minister than favourable 

Kate Devlin
Whitehall Editor
Friday 05 June 2020 12:29 BST
Boris Johnson pleads for people not to gather indoors in rainy weather, warning it could spark a second coronavirus wave

Faith in Boris Johnson has fallen significantly in the wake of the Dominic Cummings affair, a new poll suggests.

For the first time since the beginning of March, when the coronavirus crisis began in earnest, more people view the prime minister unfavourably than favourably, according to research by Ipsos Mori.

But new Labour leader Keir Starmer has also helped to detoxify his party, the survey shows.

Last month 45 per cent of people had a positive opinion of Mr Johnson and 38 per cent saw him negatively.

Now 39 per cent are favourable, while 43 per cent are unfavourable towards the prime minister.

Last month Mr Johnson’s government was forced to spend days firefighting negative headlines after it emerged his most senior adviser had driven 260 miles from London to Durham during lockdown.

Mr Cummings remains in post despite admitting another apparent breach of the rules, by taking a 30-mile trip to a beauty spot while in Co Durham.

Mr Johnson has stood by his aide, insisting he did the right thing as he was seeking childcare for his young son and later wanted to test his eyesight for the long drive back to London.

Sir Keir, meanwhile. has maintained a change in how his party is seen since he took office in March.

The poll shows 31 per cent of the public are favourable towards Labour, with 39 per cent unfavourable.

But that "net favourability" figure of -8 is significantly improved from -27 under previous leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The Conservative’s ‘net favourability’ figure of -11 is identical to that seen shortly after last December’s general election, in which the Tories won an 80-seat majority in the House of Commons.

Keiran Pedley, Ipsos Mori research director, said: “Boris Johnson’s favourability ratings continue to fall from their April peak, and it is noteworthy that more Britons are now unfavourable towards the prime minister than favourable. The data shows that Johnson is a polarising figure whilst Starmer continues to be a relative unknown – although that is changing.

“Labour will be encouraged that Starmer’s ratings continue to be net positive as he becomes better known and that Labour is no longer looked upon less favourably by the public than the Conservatives. However, with Labour yet to lead the Conservatives in voting intention polls it is still a long way back to power for the party.”

Ipsos Mori interviewed 1,291 adults between 29 May and 3 June.

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