Rishi Sunak sees first negative favourability rating since the start of the pandemic

Isabelle KirkData Journalist
November 23, 2021, 2:34 PM UTC

The tide of public opinion has turned against Chancellor Rishi Sunak for the first time since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sunak has historically been exceptionally popular among the British public during the pandemic, in contrast to his fellow Conservative cabinet colleagues, maintaining positive favourability over the last two years. A YouGov poll conducted at the end of March 2020 found that 60% of the country had a favourable opinion of the Chancellor, compared with just 11% who had a negative opinion of him – giving a +49 net favourability rating.

However as of our most recent survey on 17-18 November, 41% of Britons now have an unfavourable opinion of Sunak, compared to 38% who have a positive opinion of him – putting the Chancellor in negative net favourability for the first time since March 2020.

Sunak has maintained an excellent reputation among Conservative voters during the pandemic, rarely dropping below +50 net favourability. Two-thirds of Tory voters (67%) still have a positive opinion of the Chancellor.

His popularity among Labour voters took a considerable hit at the beginning of the autumn, dropping from a net rating of -29 to -43 between early September. The announcement of the new social care levy, paid for by raising National Insurance, is likely to have played a role in this drop.

Recent allegations of corruption within the Conservative party and the second jobs scandal appear to have had little effect on Boris Johnson’s net favourability rating, which has been sitting at around -30 points for the past few weeks and is now at -31. However, most Conservative voters (60%) still approve of the Prime Minister.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has been unable to make significant popularity gains in the wake of the scandals surrounding the Conservative party. His popularity is at -25 points and has been remained fairly constant over the past few weeks.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has a net favourability rating of -49 points and is unpopular even among Conservative voters. Half of Tory voters (52%) have a negative opinion of her, compared to just 36% who support her. The recent refugee crisis has done nothing to affect her popularity in either direction, with the percentage of the British public who have a negative opinion of her staying between 59% and 66% over the last year.

See latest results here, and tracked results here