No rally round the flag effect for Boris Johnson from Ukraine crisis

Isabelle KirkData Journalist
March 03, 2022, 2:31 PM GMT+0

Despite Churchillian rhetoric and sweeping sanctions, the prime minister remains just as unpopular with the British public

With Boris Johnson known to be an admirer of Winston Churchill, the prime minister may have hoped to be the recipient of a sense of national unity in the wake of the crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, much the same as Churchill in the face of the Nazi threat.

However, YouGov tracking data reveals that the outbreak of war in Ukraine has not made any significant difference to Johnson’s popularity. The prime minister currently has a net favourability rating of -36, an increase of just three points from our previous survey on 17-18 February. Two-thirds of the public (64%) currently have an unfavourable opinion of the prime minister, with just 28% seeing him in a positive light.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss is seeing awareness levels increase among the public, although she still remains less well known than her peers. The proportion of Britons answering that they ‘don’t know’ how they feel about the foreign secretary has steadily decreased over the last month, from 43% in early February to 37% in our mid-February survey to 33% now.

Despite this, Truss’s net favourability stands at -29, effectively unchanged compared to the prior two surveys. Currently, half (48%) have an unfavourable opinion of the foreign secretary, with just 19% who see her positively.

Elsewhere, Labour leader Keir Starmer has seen an uptick in popularity over the same time period – with his net favourability rising eight points, from -25 on 17-18 February to -17 now.

Among other senior Tory politicians, Priti Patel has seen a rise of seven points from 17-18 February, with her net favourability now sitting at -49. Just 17% of Britons have a favourable opinion of the home secretary, with 66% holding an unfavourable view.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak still holds the top spot as Britain’s most popular senior politician. His net favourability is currently at -6 – down from -1 in mid-February.

See full results here and here