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Conservative support falls to lowest level on record, poll finds

04 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak giving a press conference in Downing Street. Photo Aaron Chown/PA Wire

The Conservatives have hit their lowest polling score on record after a torrid start to the year for Rishi Sunak.

The poll published by Ipsos UK on Monday suggested just 20% of the public would vote for the Tories at the next election, down seven points since January and the lowest score recorded by the party since Ipsos started its regular polling in 1978.

The figure is even lower than the 23% recorded in December 2022, shortly after Mr Sunak replaced Liz Truss as Prime Minister, and puts the Conservatives 27 points behind Labour, who are on 47%.

Ipsos’s previous lowest score for the Conservatives was 22%, recorded by John Major in December 1994 and May 1995, only a few years before Tony Blair’s landslide win in 1997.

Slump

The slump in Conservative support follows a series of bad headlines for Mr Sunak at the start of 2024, with confirmation that the UK had entered a recession at the end of last year, two large by-election defeats in Wellingborough and Kingswood, and an Islamophobia row over comments by now-suspended Tory MP Lee Anderson.

Monday also saw former minister Paul Scully announce that he would leave Parliament, adding to an exodus that has seen more than 60 Tory MPs say they will not fight their seats at the next election – the highest total since 1997.

Another poll published by YouGov on Friday also had the Conservatives on 20% and gave Labour a lead of 26 points, further compounding the Prime Minister’s woes.

Labour, meanwhile, appeared to be weathering the storm caused by the Rochdale by-election, when it was forced to withdraw support for its candidate over his remarks about the Israel-Hamas conflict, paving the way for George Galloway’s victory last week.

Despite this setback, Labour’s polling figure was only down two points on the start of the year in a survey that, if replicated at the general election, would see the party win a landslide victory.

Reform UK

The poll saw a significant rise in support for Reform UK, doubling from 4% to 8% since January in a development that will further alarm some Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrats and the Greens saw their positions improve slightly, reaching 9% and 8% respectively.

Ipsos also noted an apparent “enthusiasm gap” opening up, with only 62% of Conservative supporters saying they were certain to vote, compared to 76% of Labour supporters.

Monday’s poll, based on a survey of 1,000 adults between February 21 and 28, also saw Mr Sunak score his lowest net approval rating so far.

Just 19% of people said they were satisfied with the Prime Minister’s performance, while 73% said they were dissatisfied.

Starmer

Satisfaction with Sir Keir Starmer has also fallen since January, despite Labour’s overall position holding up. Some 55% said they were dissatisfied with the Labour leader, up seven points since January, while 29% said they were satisfied.

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos, said: “The historical comparisons continue to look ominous for Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives.

“The Ipsos Political Monitor series started in the late 70s and has never recorded a Conservative vote share this low – and the job satisfaction trends for the Prime Minister and his Government since he took office are also heading downwards.

“Combined with Labour taking leads on issues of economic credibility to go with their traditional strengths in public services, this means the Conservatives face big challenges across a number of fronts if they are to turn the situation around.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Modi Boy’s next step will be martial law…

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Hence Sunak going full dictator to appeal to the extreme right elements in his party because he has absolutely nothing left to get votes.

A proper leader in the UK would call the extreme right out and sack them. The sacked can create a new far right party, call it the “30p Brave Surgical Support party”

Russell
1 month ago

Who on earth are the 20% that think ‘yeah, everything is fine and 5 more years of the same, thanks’?!

David Zenati-Parsons
David Zenati-Parsons
1 month ago
Reply to  Russell

exactly what I thought Russell

Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndŵr
1 month ago

I don’t believe Tory support is as low as 20%. I think that some voters are lying to pollsters, as they always do, but even more so than usual. Let me be clear I hate the Tories and I want them out, but polls like this contribute to lower turnouts and I’ll believe the Tories have the lost the next UK General Election when I see it with my own eyes. Until then this is all speculation.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

I presume the information gathered for this poll preceded Sunaks’ bizarre lectern lecture which deplored anti Semitism AND Islamophobia but he failed to include the fact that his party is the main driver of the latter. He then said when they lie, ‘we will tell the truth’. I look forward to seeing the next polling figures after this taking people for fools exercise has been taken into account.

Robert
Robert
1 month ago

Both main parties down and everyone else up. Good luck to the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago

One projection puts them on just 25 seats and in third place behind the Lib Dems – they wouldn’t even be the official opposition any more (although no doubt they would behave as if they were).

One can always dream I suppose.

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