Keir Starmer outperformed Rishi Sunak on majority of key issues in leaders debate, says viewers

Breakdown of what viewers thought of the leaders performance on key debate topics

Keir Starmer leaders debate

In a YouGov poll carried out after the first leaders debate between Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak on ITV News, viewers thought that Starmer performed better on the majority of key debate issues. 

On the core issues that were debated, the Labour leader was found to have performed significantly better on four out of six topics discussed. He fell just behind Sunak on the issue of immigration, which saw the leaders clash over the Rwanda policy. 

Also on the issue of tax, the YouGov poll found viewers thought Sunak did better by 53% to 32%. Sunak hammered in throughout the debate a claim that Labour would put taxes up by £2,000 for every household, which Labour has said is “made-up” and have since highlighted 11 mistakes in the Tories’ costings behind the claim. 

However on the cost of living, NHS, education and climate change Starmer came out top in the opinion of viewers. In the YouGov poll, a whopping 61% of viewers thought Starmer won the debate on the NHS, compared to 28% for Rishi Sunak. 

The two leaders clashed on Tuesday night on topics including NHS waiting lists, which Conservative leader Sunak insisted were going down, only to be laughed at by the audience over his “maths fail”. Labour leader Keir Starmer also attacked the Tories national service plans, as the leaders laid out their offer to young people.

It comes after tight polling found there was no clear winner on who came out top overall following the debate. The first poll by YouGov showed the public thought Sunak very narrowly won, however a following poll by Savanta has found Keir Starmer came out top, with 44% who think the Labour leader won, compared to 39% who think Sunak won. 

The Savanta polling also found that Starmer beat Sunak on every major issue and personality-based question. Viewers think Starmer came across as the most honest, most thoughtful and the calmest. The poll also found viewers think Starmer has the best understanding of issues facing Britons, with 56% of the vote versus 28% who think Sunak does.

See the YouGov table below for a breakdown of who viewers thought did better on key debate issues:

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward

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