Seven in ten Britons still have a negative view of politics

Tanya AbrahamResearch Director of Political and Social Research
February 02, 2023, 12:59 PM GMT+0

After a tumultuous year in politics saw two prime ministers ousted, a disastrous mini-budget and the start of many public sector strikes, YouGov research reviews the state of politics according to the British public

In February 2022, in the aftermath of the investigation into allegations of rule-breaking social gatherings at Downing Street, YouGov asked Britons about the state of politics in the UK.

The results were overwhelmingly pessimistic, with 73% of Britons taking a negative view. By June of last year that had fallen slightly to 66%, but our newly released poll shows that as of December it had returned to near-Partygate levels, at 71%.

Tory voters are less likely than their Labour counterparts to hold a negative view of the state of politics, but in both cases a solid majority are pessimistic (63% and 85% respectively).

Just 7% of Britons have a positive view of politics, including 12% of Conservative voters and 2% of Labour supporters.

Who is responsible for the state of politics?

The public maintain that the prime minister (82%) and the government (83%) hold a great deal or fair amount of responsibility in how politics operates in Britain; this view has declined slightly from 87% in the case of the former and 89% in the case of the latter since February last year.

Likewise, a large majority of people (76%) continue to think that ‘all politicians’ have a great or fair amount of responsibility for how politics operates, down slightly from 83% in February. Most Britons (56%) also hold civil servants accountable for how politics currently operates, itself down from 65% at the beginning of last year.

Today’s politicians are still viewed negatively

Around half think that today’s politicians from all parties are generally less honest (54%), more corrupt (48%), are less likely to work for the country’s best interests (53%), improve matters for people (52%) or work for the country’s best interests (53%) than those of the past.

A further third think there is little change between today’s and former politicians across these five metrics, whilst 5% or less think things have improved.

Those Britons with a positive view of the current state of politics in Britain tend to think that today’s politicians are no different from those of years gone by (50-63% say so across each measure). Most of those with a negative view of politics say that today’s politicians are worse (59-65%).

Picture: Getty

See full tables here

Explore more data & articles