14:38 GMT25 November 2020
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    Johnson has come under increased scrutiny for his government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, and Starmer pressured him to set out a detailed plan for lifting the lockdown during prime minister's question time a week ago.

    Just five weeks into his reign as Labour leader, Keir Starmer appeared for the first time to fare generally better than Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

    Starmer's net approval rating stands at 23 percent, one point more than Johnson's, in a new YouGov poll of 1,674 adults conducted over the weekend.

    As one might have expected, the Prime Minister has turned out to be a more divisive figure than the new Labour leader. A total of 57 percent of respondents said Johnson is doing “very well” or “fairly well” as a leader, while 35 percent think he is doing “very badly” or “fairly badly”.

    By contrast, 40 percent of people polled felt that Starmer was doing a good job, compared to 17 percent saying that he is doing badly.

    Unlike just 8 percent who couldn't make up their mind about Johnson, 43 percent of respondents indicated that Starmer remains something of an unknown quantity to them.

    Johnson's popularity net favourability has fallen by double digits since last month, when 66 percent of respondents told the same pollster that they approved of his job, and only 26 percent said he was doing badly.

    "It's very early days, and Starmer is not terribly well-known, and one of the basic jobs is to get better known, and obviously the circumstances in which he has got the leadership make that difficult, but the indication so far is that is more likely to be regarded as prime ministerial than was Corbyn, which is not bad for a start," political scientist John Curtice told the Daily Express.

    Starmer and Johnson clashed for the first time earlier this month as the Prime Minister took questions in the Commons. The Labour leader confronted Johnson over the UK's high death toll and its recently-announced lockdown exit strategy; he later also demanded more clarity over how the government is going to ease restrictions across the country as there seems to be a divergence in plans between England and the rest of the UK.

    approval rating, coronavirus, COVID-19, Labour Party, Keir Starmer, Boris Johnson, YouGov
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