Conservative voters turn against the prime minister

Patrick EnglishDirector of Political Analytics
January 19, 2022, 4:54 PM GMT+0

2019 Conservative voters now tend to want Boris Johnson to resign, with half saying he is doing a bad job as PM

Recent polling has made for consistently uncomfortable reading for the prime minister and his team, with a significant majority of the British public wanting Johnson to resign, almost three-quarters thinking he is doing a bad job at running the country, and Labour well ahead in voting intention.

Now, this week’s YouGov political tracking data shows that even 2019 Conservative voters are showing high levels of disaffection and dissatisfaction with the government.

Holding on to that voter coalition which Johnson so impressively built at the last election is crucial for the Conservatives’ chances of securing a record fifth term at the next general election (which, as our latest figures also show, the public now want sooner rather than later).

However, the signs do not look at all good.

We have found that a higher percentage of Conservative 2019 voters now think that Boris Johnson is doing badly as prime minister (50%) than think he is doing well (46%). That means no fewer than half of those who backed Johnson and his party just over two years ago are not happy with the job he is doing.

What’s more, 15% of 2019 Conservative voters think that Keir Starmer is doing well as leader of the opposition. By contrast, just 4% of 2019 Labour voters think Johnson is doing well as prime minister.

Cabinet ministers have spent a good deal of time in recent days trying to shift public focus away from Downing Street parties and onto their record in government. But there is little sign of solace on that particular topic either. Not only do almost two-thirds of the public disapprove of the government’s record to date, but approval has also taken a hit among Conservative voters – 40% of them disapprove of the government’s record, versus 44% who approve.

Image problems are not isolated to Johnson alone, however. For instance, 82% of Conservative voters now think that Johnson’s party is divided (8% say united). Just 29% of 2019 Labour voters believe the same about Labour (41% united).

Lastly, no fewer than 45% of Conservative votes agree with the general public in thinking that Boris Johnson should stand down as leader, compared to 41% who think he should stay. That figure has risen from as low as 18% in August.

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