Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

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Ipsos MORI Political Pulse – Last month’s boost for Boris Johnson’s favourability ratings has slipped – but remain more positive than earlier in the year.

by Ian Shires on 23 May, 2020

Ipsos MORI - WeAreTheCity | Information, Networking, jobs & events ...The latest Ipsos MORI poll shows that some of the positive bounce seen last month in the national mood and for Boris Johnson’s ratings has fallen away.  However, the online survey, carried out between 15-18 May, finds that Mr Johnson’s ratings are still higher than they were before the lockdown started.

Leader favourability ratings

  • Boris Johnson’s ratings have fallen this month, but are still positive on balance, and higher than his scores before his illness.  Forty-five percent feel favourable towards him (down 6 points since April), and 38% unfavourable (up 7).
  • Keir Starmer’s ratings also continue to be more positive than negative.  34% are favourable towards him (up 8 points this month) and 26% unfavourable (also up by 5).  Those with a neutral or no opinion about him have fallen from 53% to 40%.   These are better than the ratings Jeremy Corbyn got in the period before and after the 2019 General Election.
  • People also continue to believe that Mr Starmer is more likely to change the Labour party for the better (46%, up 3) than for the worse (9%, also up 3).  Three in ten (29%) think he will make no difference.
  • Among Conservative voters in the 2019 General Election, Boris Johnson’s favourability ratings have fallen from a very high 91% last month to 79% this month, in line with his average earlier in the year.  However, this is still higher than the equivalent score for Keir Starmer among 2019 Labour voters, which stands at 58% (three in ten are still neutral or don’t know).
  • Public perceptions of the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, are positive, with 47% favourable and just 18% unfavourable (35% are neutral or don’t know).
  • The public are split about Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary.  A third (33%) are favourable, and another 33% are unfavourable (34% neutral or don’t know).


Party favourability ratings

There is little change in party favourability ratings this month.

  • Thirty-two percent (up 2 points since April) are favourable to the Labour Party, 39% unfavourable (down 1).
  • Thirty-six percent (down 3) are favourable to the Conservative Party, 39% unfavourable (up 2).
  • Seventeen percent are favourable towards the Liberal Democrats, 42% unfavourable (no change).

Country direction

The proportion of Britons saying Britain is moving in the right direction has fallen seven points to 33%, and is once again outnumbered by those who think the country is on the wrong track (also up seven to 42%).  This is a similar picture to March.   As might be expected, those who voted Conservative in the 2019 General Election are most positive, with 53% agreeing the country is heading the in the right direction (against just 18% of Labour voters), although this has fallen from 71% last month.


Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said: “There are signs some of the rallying-around effect we saw after the first lockdown announcements and Boris Johnson’s subsequent illness are falling away.  But they haven’t completely disappeared – the Prime Minister is still getting better feedback than earlier in the year, or even before the election.  And he’s not the only politician getting good scores, with the Chancellor getting as many positives and far fewer critics.  Meanwhile Keir Starmer also gets more supporters than critics, and the Labour party has lost at least some of the negative reaction it was generating before.  As people continue to make their mind up over the new Labour leader, it will be crucial for him to keep first impressions positive.”

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