Damning polling shows just how much the public are turning against the Tories

There are only two issues that more people think the Tories are handling well than badly

Rishi Sunak looking at a laptop screen

Bad polling for the Tories is now part of the daily rhythm of politics. Even so, a new set of data from YouGov will be devastating for Rishi Sunak.

YouGov’s latest tracker has a flurry of figures which show just how much the public have turned against the Tories. Its damning headline figure shows that two thirds of Britons (66%) now disapprove of the government’s record to date.

Below the headline, things are even more bleak for the Tories. There are only two issues that more people think the Tories are handling well than badly – terrorism and defence. On 13 other areas YouGov polled the public on, a plurality or majority of the public think the Tories are doing badly.

Particularly worrying for Sunak’s party will be the horrendous figures on core day to day issues like the economy and the NHS. Fewer than 1 in 5 people think the government is handling these issues well, with the overwhelming majority of the British public saying they are doing badly.

Another particularly bad area for the Tories is the public’s perception of the party’s record on the environment. The net score of -37 is the lowest rating the Tories have polled since mid-2019. Remarkably, that nadir came before Sunak committed to reviewing all Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and announced he would grant 100 new North Sea oil and gas licences, with the polling having been carried out from 29-31 July.

The full figures are:

  • Terrorism: 54% well, 25% badly
  • Defence: 39% well, 37% badly
  • Unemployment: 36% well, 48% badly
  • Education: 28% well, 59% badly
  • Environment: 27% well, 63% badly
  • Britain’s exit from the EU: 24% well, 64% badly
  • Transport: 23% well, 64% badly
  • Welfare benefits: 23% well, 58% badly
  • Crime: 22% well, 68% badly
  • Taxation: 21% well, 68% badly
  • The economy: 17% well, 77% badly
  • Housing: 16% well, 74% badly
  • Inflation: 14% well, 79% badly
  • NHS: 14% well, 82% badly
  • Immigration: 10% well, 82% badly

With a general election likely to take place in the next 12 months, these numbers will be enough to make any Tory strategist weep. It gets worse for Sunak & co though. The public think Labour are better placed to tackle a whole raft of key issues than the Tories – including in some areas in which the Tories have traditionally relied upon having public support.

The Tories now only have a lead over Labour on who the public think is best placed to handle defence and Brexit. Meanwhile, voters are almost four times as likely to say they trust Labour than the Tories on the NHS, three times as likely on housing, twice as likely on schools, and almost twice as likely on unemployment.

In good news for Labour, Keir Starmer’s party is also ahead in areas where the Tories are traditionally strong. Labour now has narrow leads over the Tories on who the public trusts on immigration, taxation, and the economy. Astonishingly, Labour and the Tories are also level pegging on law and order.

All this backs up what the voting intention polls have been telling us – the public are turning against the Tories in a big way.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

Image credit: Simon Walker / Number 10 – Creative Commons

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