Sunak slips to worst ever favourability rating amid government Rwanda policy rows

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
December 13, 2023, 9:25 AM GMT+0

At -49 the prime minister’s net favourability rating is comparable to that Boris Johnson’s at the time of his resignation

While Rishi Sunak will be breathing a sigh of relief that he managed to pass his flagship Rwanda bill through the Commons last night in the face of opposition from his own MPs, turning our sight away from Westminster towards the wider population shows the prime minister’s public opinion woes have only been getting worse.

Asked in polling conducted on Monday evening/Tuesday morning – ahead of the Commons vote – seven in ten Britons (70%) said they had an unfavourable opinion of Rishi Sunak, compared to only 21% with a favourable view. This gives the prime minister his lowest ever net favourability score of -49 – a ten point drop from late November.

Sunak’s score is comparable to Boris Johnson’s scores during his final months in office (at the time of his resignation YouGov recorded a low of -53 for the former PM), although still not as bad as Liz Truss’s -70 nadir.

Most 2019 Conservative voters likewise had a negative view of the leader of the party they backed four years ago, at 56% compared to 40% with a positive view. This too represents a new low for the PM.

While Labour are doubtless revelling in the government’s misfortune, neither they nor their leader are seeing any benefit to their own brands. Keir Starmer’s net favourability rating has fallen nine points to -22 over the last fortnight, with the 32% of Britons holding a positive opinion of the Labour leader outweighed by the 54% with a negative one.

The Labour party’s own score stands at -14, compared to -9 at the end of November. This is still streets ahead of the Conservatives, however, whose net score of -49 is identical to that from the previous survey.

See the full breakdowns of the latest results here and tracker results here

Photo: Getty