Keir Starmer more popular than Boris Johnson for first time, new poll shows

Labour leader overtakes prime minister in latest approval ratings

Adam Forrest
Wednesday 13 May 2020 10:28 BST
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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is currently more popular with the British public than Boris Johnson, new polling suggests.

The latest YouGov survey shows the leader of the opposition has a net approval rating of +23, while the prime minister has seen his net approval fall to +22.

Asked how they thought Sir Keir was doing as leader of the Labour Party, 40 per cent of people surveyed said “very well” or “fairly well”, while 17 per cent said “very badly” or “fairly badly”.

The YouGov survey found that Mr Johnson divides opinion more strongly. While 57 per cent think he is doing “very well” or “fairly well”, 35 per cent think he is doing “very badly” or “fairly badly”.

An Opinion poll published earlier this month gave Sir Keir a 36 per cent positive approval rating, with Mr Johnson ahead with a 51 per cent approval rating. YouGov has not polled on this question before.

Sir Keir, who faces Mr Johnson at PMQs on Wednesday for the second time, has won praise for his “forensic” questioning of the prime minister and his stand-ins over their handling of the coronavirus crisis in recent weeks.

In a sign the Brexit culture wars are not yet over, there is a stark difference in attitudes towards the Labour leader among Remain and Leave voters. Some 52 per cent of those who opted to Remain think he is doing well, while only 35 per cent of Leave backers agree.

The YouGov polling may worry the prime minister’s team at No 10, since it shows a clear dip in Mr Johnson popularity since April.

One month ago, 66 per cent of respondents told the same pollster the Conservative leader was doing well, and only 26 per cent said he was doing badly – a net approval rating of +44.

Experts urged caution on reading too much into the latest findings, however, pointing out that 44 per cent of YouGov respondents said they “don’t know” how well Sir Keir was doing – indicating the public is still unfamiliar with the recently-elected Labour leader.

The polling guru Sir John Curtice noted Sir Keir was “not terribly well-known”, but said “the indication so far is that is more likely to be regarded as prime ministerial than was [Jeremy] Corbyn, which is not bad for a start”.

Last week an Opinium survey found Sir Keir’s net approval rating of +18, way ahead of the -51 rating last recorded by Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the opposition by the same pollster.

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