Liz Truss’s personal popularity ratings are lower than those of Boris Johnson when his premiership came to an end, a new Observer poll has revealed.
The latest Opinium poll shows a precipitous fall in Truss’s personal ratings after the fallout from her government’s mini-budget, and Labour surging ahead with voters across a whole range of issues.
The prime minister’s net approval rating has fallen from -9 to -37 in the space of a week, as voters took a dim view of many measures in her mini-budget and her subsequent attempts to defend them. The latest poll showed 18% approved of the job she is doing, with 55% disapproving.
It gives her a worse net rating than the -28 that Johnson registered in the final Opinium poll before his removal as Tory leader. However, Truss’s score is slightly better than Johnson’s worst ever rating of -42, recorded at the height of the partygate scandal.
In only the second poll since Truss became prime minister, Labour’s overall poll lead has increased from five points to 19 points, mirroring a collapse in Tory support in other polls published in the past few days. Tory support fell to 27% of the vote, with Labour on 46%.
In contrast, Keir Starmer has seen an increase in his personal ratings after a Labour conference largely free of internal party strife. His net score is now +9, up from -4 last week. Starmer also has a 17-point lead when voters are asked who they see as the best prime minister. Only 32% of 2019 Conservatives think that Truss would be the best prime minister, with 18% preferring Starmer.
Starmer’s lead over Truss in terms of who voters see as the best prime minister is far in excess of the biggest lead he ever recorded over Johnson. Almost half (48%) of 2019 Conservatives think Johnson would be the best prime minister in a choice with Truss. Only 19% opt for Truss.
Across the board, Labour has taken a clear lead on the five key issues facing the country. Labour has a 20-point lead on energy and power, a 25-point lead on the NHS, an 11-point lead on immigration and a 21-point lead on housing and house prices. The Conservatives have gone from a 1-point lead on the economy last week before the mini-budget to a 19-point Labour lead this week.
The vast majority of voters (75%) said they thought the government has lost control of the economic situation, while only 18% think the government is in control. Even 71% of 2019 Conservative voters think the government has lost control. It comes with voters disapproving of the mini-budget, with 61% regarding it as a bad budget. Only 12% think it was a good budget, with 56% of 2019 Conservative voters regarding it as bad.
As a result, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s personal ratings have also collapsed. While he was barely known by voters before his mini-budget, only 15% now approve of the chancellor, while 55% disapprove. It gives him a net rating of -40. Half (51%) want Kwarteng to resign. Almost half (48%) of the public want Truss to resign.
James Crouch, head of policy and public affairs at Opinium, said: “This is the worst poll result we have shown for a Conservative prime minister since the 2010 general election. Liz Truss has managed to reach the depths of the poor personal ratings of both Theresa May and Boris Johnson at the end of their tenure, within weeks of taking office and within days of her government’s first major action. While the prime minister’s own approval ratings have plummeted, she has also contributed to the Conservative government as a whole losing its political credibility and reputation for economic competence almost overnight. If Liz Truss can turn it around, all of us are waiting with bated breath to see how she can.”
Unlike other pollsters, Opinium weights its polls to be more representative of those who have voted in recent elections. This has meant they have tended to show smaller leads for the Labour party. Opinium polled 2,000 people online between 28 and 30 September.