More people now think Keir Starmer would be better prime minister than Boris Johnson, poll suggests

Survey shows growing discontent with government handling of coronavirus

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Saturday 27 June 2020 20:07
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Keir Starmer offers to 'swap places' with Boris Johnson during PMQs

Keir Starmer has outstripped Boris Johnson in an opinion poll for who would make the best prime minister for the first time since winning the Labour leadership in April.

The shift came as the survey by pollsters Opinium found growing disapproval of the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

More than half (54 per cent) of those questioned said the UK was coming out of lockdown too fast, 59 per cent said current levels of testing were insufficient and 57 per cent disapproved of the government’s handling of the NHS Test and Trace system.

Sir Keir’s 37 per cent score as best PM put him two points ahead of Johnson on 35 per cent as the favoured choice to lead the country.

However, Conservatives still held a four-point lead in voting intentions, on 43 per cent compared to Labour’s 39 per cent.

Opinium head of political polling Adam Drummond said: “The scenes at Bournemouth beach and elsewhere over the weekend may have made an impression on voters with a big jump (from 46 per cent to 54 per cent) in the number saying the UK is coming out of lockdown too quickly.

“Politically, many of the other figures are largely stable with approval of the government’s handling of the pandemic remaining negative and approval of specific elements like track and trace or testing remaining significantly more negative.

“Boris Johnson’s approval rating remains narrowly negative while Keir Starmer’s remains substantially positive (moving from a net plus-22 last week to plus-27 this week).

“Politically, the ‘new normal’ is that for the first time in over a decade Labour has a leader who outperforms their party while the Conservatives have a leader who underperforms theirs and the crossover in preferred prime minister is a reflection of that.”

The survey found some members of the public have found silver linings to the Covid-19 crisis, with a third (33 per cent) saying they have had more money to save or spend each month since the lockdown.

Meanwhile, half (49 per cent) have kept up with current affairs more since the lockdown, while 42 per cent have been reading more books, 30 per cent have been sleeping more, and 28 per cent have been eating more healthy food.

A third (36 per cent) say that when restrictions are lifted they will spend less on shopping. A similar figure (32 per cent) say they will spend less in pubs and bars, and 36 per cent say the same about eating out.

- Opinium Research questioned 2,002 UK adults on 24 and 25 June.

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