Rishi Sunak’s popularity hits record low after Tory party conference

Just one in five voters believe Mr Sunak would make the best prime minister, down from a quarter before the Tory conference

Archie Mitchell
Friday 13 October 2023 09:13 BST
Rishi Sunak shown words people think best describe him live on air

Rishi Sunak’s popularity has crashed to a record low since the Conservative Party conference, a damning new poll shows.

Just one in five voters now believe Mr Sunak would make the best prime minister, down from a quarter before the Tory get-together, according to the new YouGov poll.

And, in a blow to the Tories’ electoral hopes, it means the figure has reached the lowest point since Mr Sunak entered Downing Street last year.

Sir Keir Starmer’s popularity has also fallen, with 32 per cent of the public saying he would make the best prime minister, compared with 34 per cent earlier this month.

The survey, conducted for The Times, showed a significant uptick in the number of “not sure” voters, with 43 per cent of the population undecided between the two party leaders.

Despite Sir Keir’s personal support slipping, the poll, conducted after the Labour leader’s own conference speech which was stormed by a protester who showered him in glitter, showed a rise in support for the party.

It showed 28 per cent of voters thought Sir Keir had a clear plan for the country, up six points in a week. Just 19 per cent believed Mr Sunak did, down by two points in the same period.

The poll gave Labour’s overall poll lead over the Tories a two-point jump. Of all voters, 47 per cent said they would vote Labour if a general election was held tomorrow, compared with 24 per cent who said they would back the Conservatives.

Another 47 per cent of those polled said Labour would make a significant change in government – almost double the number who said the same about Mr Sunak.

This month in Manchester, Mr Sunak told the Conservative faithful: “It is time for a change – and we are it.”

He has now scrapped a handful of his party’s own policies, including controversially the northern leg of HS2.

He insisted that when it came to scrapping HS2, “the facts have changed” and the cost had more than doubled, meaning he had to act.

Labour’s national campaign coordinator Pat McFadden said the Tories had “let Britain down for too long”, adding: “They cannot be the change from their own failures.”

YouGov’s latest poll shows the Tories’ attempts at becoming the party of change have yet to convince the electorate. And it comes after months of polls showing the Conservatives significantly behind Labour, with the current gap at 17 points.

In his own big address, Sir Keir made a direct appeal to Conservative voters to join Labour, as he promised to lead a “mission government” in the national interest and end the “chaos” of the Tory era.

The Labour leader rolled up his sleeves for his crucial conference speech – pledging to repair a “crumbling” Britain with a host of new towns and a new approach to economic growth, led by a renewed party.

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