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UK Government approval falls to lowest in recorded history

18 Oct 2022 6 minute read
Prime Minister Liz Truss. Picture by Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire

The UK Government’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest in recorded history – just 7%, according to YouGov.

77% told YouGov’s rolling tracker that they disapproved of the government, 16% didn’t know and only 7% were happy with the performance of Liz Truss’ government.

The UK Government has seen a fall in its approval ratings since the high of April 2020 at the start of the first Covid lockdown, when Boris Johnson’s government had a 44% approval rate, with 35% disapproval.

But disapproval has mounted quickly since the end of September, with a steep drop of over 10 points in approval since that time.

The lowest approval rate previously recorded was 8% for John Major’s government by IPSOS Mori in December 15-19, 1994.

The results come after a snap poll of party members released today saw more than half respond that she should resign and 83% say she was doing a bad job.

A snap poll of party members released on Tuesday saw more than half respond that she should resign and 83% say she was doing a bad job.

Downing Street insisted the Cabinet fully supported the Prime Minister and stressed that Ms Truss was focused on the challenges facing the country rather than party infighting.

Asked whether Ms Truss was concerned about ministers discussing replacing her, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Her view is she needs to be focused on what is right for the country rather than on any internal discussions among the party at the moment.

“She is conscious that these are globally difficult times and the UK is in a difficult situation economically.”


Cabinet was dominated by discussions on spending after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt tore up Ms Truss’s original plan for tax cuts and increased public borrowing.

Asked if ministers offered their support, the spokesman said: “Certainly ministers were very involved in the discussions around preparations for the medium-term fiscal plan.”

When he was asked if any of the Cabinet suggested Ms Truss should quit, the spokesman said: “No.”

The challenge facing the Prime Minister was underlined by a YouGov survey of 530 Conservative Party members on Monday and Tuesday which saw 55% say she should resign, and only 38% back her staying on.

About 39% of those who voted for Ms Truss in the Tory leadership race said she should quit, compared with 57% who said she should not.

Some 83% said she was doing badly as Conservative leader, compared with 15% who said she was doing well and 2% being unsure.

Boris Johnson, three months after he was forced to resign following a series of scandals, was favourite to succeed her on 32%, followed by former chancellor Rishi Sunak on 23% and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on 10%.

Some 60% said they would back a proposal of a unity candidate to succeed Ms Truss being chosen without members having a say.

The poll is not large enough to be considered representative of the wider membership, but YouGov’s research has frequently given a good indication of the party’s mood in the past.

-70 rating

A separate YouGov study of 1,724 British adults between October 14 and 16 – before Monday’s mini-budget U-turns – saw Ms Truss’s net favourability plummet to minus 70.

Just 10% of Britons had a favourable opinion of the Prime Minister, with 80% viewing her unfavourably, the survey suggested.

Among Tory voters her support continues to drop: 20% had a favourable view, with 71% being unfavourable.

The Prime Minister’s current net favourability score of minus 51 among Tory voters is down 26 points since last week.

She will meet Tory MPs from the European Research Group later on Tuesday as she attempts to shore up her position in Westminster.

Earlier, Ms Truss was warned by a senior minister that she cannot afford to make any more mistakes as she battles to stay in No 10.

Armed forces minister James Heappey said: “She’s very much our Prime Minister and, for what it’s worth, I think she’s doing a good job.”

But he told Sky News that “given how skittish our politics are” at the moment “I don’t think there’s the opportunity to make any more mistakes”.

No obvious successor

One of the factors keeping Ms Truss in office, despite being forced to abandon the economic platform that got her elected as Tory leader, is the lack of an obvious successor.

Tory MPs are reluctant to have another leadership contest involving the Conservative membership, which could take months and further damage the party.

But avoiding a contest would mean identifying a consensus figure who would be acceptable to the majority of MPs.

Mr Heappey suggested the alternative to “rowing in behind the Prime Minister and making a success of her Government is to throw ourselves into another period of great rancour” because the idea of a unity candidate is “for the birds”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The idea that there is somebody who could emerge and behind whom everybody in the parliamentary party and our membership unites, and the country forgets about everything that has happened for the last 15 months or so, and we’re just allowed to get on with it – I just don’t think that is the case.”

At Tuesday morning’s Cabinet meeting, Ms Truss acknowledged to colleagues the Government had gone “too far and too fast in the mini-budget”, Downing Street said.

“The Prime Minister said she wanted to be honest with the public that times would be tough but that by addressing long-standing issues now, we can put the country on a stronger path for the future,” her spokesman said.

On Monday, Mr Hunt reversed almost all of the tax cuts his predecessor, Kwasi Kwarteng, announced in September’s mini-budget in an attempt to reassure the markets that the Government will take a responsible approach to the public finances.

At Cabinet he made clear that while public spending will continue to rise, departments will need to find ways to save money.

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Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 year ago

It is clearly time for this disasterous Tory regime to throw in the towel and call an election. Of course they are too selfish to do that.

1 year ago

I think Truss has infiltrated the tory party in order to completely destroy it. She is doing a bloody good job and I hope she suceeds. Independence now.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank

Ooo I like that idea! She’s a sleeper agent …. but for whom? Cui bono? Which shady powerful organisation benefits when the worst, nastiest most corrupt political party in Europe collapses? Nobody is doing this for the citizens.
China maybe? Bring down capitalism and replace with their form of authoritarian communism?
Russia? Spite for the Tories support of Ukraine maybe. But Labour will do the same. Hmmm ….

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 year ago

Who are the 7% of idiots left? The elderly Tories who voted for Truss and inflicted her on us all?

1 year ago

7% of those asked were over 75 and had a blue rinse

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