Starmer and Labour are ahead, but the public are not convinced they are ready to take over

Patrick EnglishResearch Manager
December 21, 2021, 12:44 PM UTC

While the latest YouGov polling gives Labour a decent lead over the Conservatives and puts Keir Starmer well ahead of Boris Johnson in our ‘best Prime Minister’ tracker, Labour are still struggling to convince the public that they are ready to take office.

The findings reiterate the fragility of the current Labour polling lead, which is driven more by 2019 Conservative voters now telling us that they would abstain or they don’t know who they would vote for if an election were held tomorrow than any seismic shift in voters directly from the Conservatives to Labour.

While Keir Starmer is currently ten points ahead of Boris Johnson in our ‘Best Prime Minister’ tracker – in which Johnson has not led since October – still 55% of the British public believe he does not look like a Prime Minister in waiting (25% believe he does).

And though Labour are 5 points ahead of the Conservatives in our latest voting intention figures, 56% of the British public think that they are not ready for Government (while 24% believe that they are).

Further, Labour still have not managed to make any significant in-roads with the British public regarding who would best handle the economy. In our latest polling, while only one third (32%) of Brits answered “A Conservative government led by Boris Johnson”, still fewer answered “A Labour government led by Keir Starmer” (19%). That figure has barely moved since Starmer took over as leader.

Finally, our latest vote intention data suggests that 20% of 2019 Conservative voters currently do not know who they would vote for next time, and 5% would abstain. A mere 6% are telling us that they would vote Labour instead.

Starmer and Labour’s public opinion profits are clearly built on shaky foundations that could quite quickly crumble if Boris Johnson and his government are able to court favour with the British public once again. But with continued public concerns over government handling of inflation, immigration, and healthcare heading into a difficult and testing New Year, the Conservatives may not find the public so quickly forgiving.

See full results here