Labour poll lead rises to 20% — grim for Rishi Sunak but it’s not all good news for Keir Starmer

Rishi Sunak faces pressure to call a General Election within nine months as a new poll revealed nearly nine in 10 adults believe Britain needs a fresh team of leaders.

The exclusive Ipsos survey for the Evening Standard found six in 10 adults want the next election to take place before the end of June 2024.

Amid an avalanche of dismal findings for the Conservatives, the Prime Minister’s net satisfaction rating has hit a record low of -44, as bad as the -45 for Boris Johnson and -44 for Theresa May shortly before they left office.

But there was no groundswell of support for Sir Keir Starmer, with his net satisfaction rating of -22, with 38 per cent thinking Labour is ready for Government, down from 43 per cent in July.

The poll’s key findings include:

  • Labour has a 20-point lead, up from 17 in July, with the party on 44 per cent (down one point), Tories 24 per cent (down four), Liberal Democrats 12 per cent (unchanged) and Greens eight per cent (up two).

  • 86 per cent say Britain needs a new team of leaders, up six points since May, and 10 points higher than March 2010 when Gordon Brown’s government was on its last legs.

  • 63 per cent do not believe the Conservatives deserve to be re-elected, up from 56 per cent in May.

  • Sir Keir is seen as the most capable PM by 36 per cent to Mr Sunak’s 32 per cent, with 73 per cent saying the latter is out of touch with ordinary people.

  • Mr Sunak’s ratings have fallen since December on being a capable leader (down seven points), sound judgement (down six), understanding Britain’s problems (down seven), being out of touch (up 10) and more style than substance (up nine).

  • But the Labour leader has only significantly improved on one metric since December, being good in a crisis, (up five points) to 23 per cent, while 47 per cent now say he is out of touch with ordinary people, a jump from 33 per cent, and 32 per cent that he is more style than substance (up 7).

  • Six in 10 consider the Conservatives ‘out of date’, up seven points since March and the party’s highest score on this measure since Ipsos started asking the question in 2011. Forty-two per cent say the same for Labour.

As for the General Election timing, 26 per cent want it before the end of this year. One in three say in the first six months of next year, 22 per cent the second half, and 14 per cent January 2025.

Eight in 10 adults are dissatisfied with the way the Government is running Britain, 12 per cent satisfied, a net score of -68, matching the worst under Mr Sunak and similar to the -69 just before Liz Truss was ousted.

Sir Keir leads Mr Sunak on understanding the problems facing Britain (44 per cent to 31 per cent), being seen as a capable leader (35/26), patriotic (44/39), and sound judgment (32/25), but the latter is ahead on being good in a crisis (28/23).

Labour leads the Conservatives for being concerned about people in real need in Britain (47/14), understanding the problems facing Britain (46/24), looks after the interests of people like me (34/16), having a good team of leaders (27/13), keeping its promises (21/11), and being fit to govern (34/21). Labour’s image has got slightly worse on being divided (+7 points), out of date (+7), and concerned about people in real need (-6).

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos UK, said: “There is little sign that the challenges facing the Conservatives have got any easier over the summer: unhappiness with the Government’s performance remains high, Rishi Sunak’s ratings are slipping as more see him as out of touch, and the party’s image as a whole is a long way down from when they were winning elections over the last decade.

“As we enter the conference season Labour will be much the happier, with a solid lead and ahead of the Conservatives on most key metrics.

“But viewed in isolation Labour and Keir Starmer’s ratings are only lukewarm – Keir Starmer has also seen a rise in those thinking him out of touch, and while the party has removed some of the negativity towards it several of the more positive image scores are not that much different from a decade ago.

“So, while the Conservatives are clearly struggling against a strong public sense that it is time for a fresh team in charge, Labour haven’t completely convinced Britons that they are the answer to that question either – but despite that they are the public’s favourites to win.”

• Ipsos interviewed 1,004 adults in Britain between September 6 and 12. Data are weighted.