Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane more popular than any UK politician

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
June 17, 2024, 3:19 PM GMT+0

Half of Britons have a positive view of the key England figures as Euro 2024 gets underway

Three weeks into the election campaign we are about to see the beginning of another of this summer’s key contests: the Euros.

Both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer were asked to sum up their leadership style at the ITV debate by “Gareth on his way to Germany”, but really the two leaders should be asking the England manager for PR tips, as new YouGov data shows that key England football figures are more popular in Britain than any politician.

Half of Britons (50%) have a favourable opinion of England manager Gareth Southgate, with the same number having a positive view of England captain Harry Kane. Only 12-16% have a negative opinion of either team member. (Among English people specifically these figures are effectively the same).

By contrast, only 39% of the public have a positive view of Keir Starmer – Britain’s most popular politician – while 51% have a negative opinion.

Looking at teams, around half of Britons again have a positive opinion of the England men’s football team (52%), compared to 17% who have an unfavourable view. Keir Starmer’s team – the Labour party – is the most popular of all the political teams, but they are divisive, with 44% of Britons liking them and 47% disliking them.

How many people will be watching Euro 2024?

Most Britons (58%) say they will follow Euro 2024 to any degree, including a third who will follow it “a great deal” (14%) or “a fair amount” (21%).

That figure is about the same in England and Scotland, which both qualified, but not Wales, which did not. A separate survey of Welsh adults showed that 42% of those watching the tournament will be backing the Three Lions at the tournament, while 22% will show their support for the Tartan Army (including 10% who will support both).

In a separate survey for Sky News this week found that 18% of English people who are interested in watching the Euros expect that England will make the final, including 12% who think they will win. The most common expectation is either that England will make the semis (29%) or the quarter finals (33%). Only 9% expect them to get knocked out in the round of 16, and just 3% at the group stages.

See the full results here

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Photo: Getty

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