Sunak seen more favourably than Johnson and Mordaunt among Britons aware of all three

Patrick EnglishDirector of Political Analytics
October 24, 2022, 8:30 AM GMT+0

But the former chancellor still trails Starmer and Labour party

With the second Conservative party leadership race this year set to conclude this week – possibly as early as today – new YouGov data shows that Rishi Sunak is less unpopular than both Penny Mordaunt and Boris Johnson among those who have heard of all three MPs who were seeking the nomination over the weekend.

It is often difficult to compare popularity between politicians with different levels of name recognition. In the case of the current race to become Britain’s next prime minister, Penny Mordaunt is a significantly lesser-known figure than either Sunak or Johnson.

If we restrict our polling sample to those who are familiar enough with each of Sunak, Mordaunt, and Johnson to give us an opinion about them, we can get a much better assessment of the existing and relative popularity levels across all three. This in turn gives us a better indication of potential future popularity for those with lower name recognition.

Of those who have heard of all three politicians, Rishi Sunak enjoys the highest net favourability score. At -28, he sits marginally above Penny Mordaunt on -33 but significantly higher than Boris Johnson on -40.

By comparison, Keir Starmer’s rating among the same group is substantially better than all his Tory adversaries at -12, while the Labour party is likewise significantly more well-regarded (-16) than the Conservative party (-58).

So while Sunak leads his immediate leadership rivals, and his own party, he trails those he would face at a general election. That said, Sunak is also least unpopular among those who are aware of all three Conservative politicians and who currently intend to vote Labour, were such an election were held tomorrow. His rating among this group is -35, while Mordaunt’s is -48, and Johnson’s is -74.

Thinking ahead to the next election, Sunak’s better position among supporters of rival parties could be an important asset for the Conservatives in their bid to retain a parliamentary majority.

See the full results here

Photo: Getty

Explore more data & articles