14:01 GMT18 May 2021
Listen Live
    UK
    Get short URL
    505
    Subscribe

    If an election was “held tomorrow”, 43% of Britons would vote for the Conservative party as opposed to the 29% who would support Keir Starmer and his Labour party, according to the latest YouGov/Times voting intention figures.

    The data published on 16 April also showed that Boris Johnson was leading in the “best Prime Minister” category of the poll, with 34% of respondents opting for his candidacy versus that of Labour’s Starmer (26%). Over a third of Britons were undecided as to who should rule the government. 

    ​The voting intention results have ignited a debate on whether the Conservatives are merely enjoying the public’s approval due to the ongoing national vaccination programme, expediting the end of Covid-19 lockdown – or whether Labour’s poor performance is to blame, or thank in this case.

    Compared to the figures of last year, the Tories have suffered a drop from 52% to this year’s 43%, while Labour remained in the same digits – 28% in 2020 and 29% in 2021.

    A man wearing a mask of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, protests outside Downing Street in London, Britain August 28, 2019.
    Henry Nicholls
    A man wearing a mask of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, protests outside Downing Street in London, Britain August 28, 2019.

    Given the difference, the ruling Conservatives face a drop of almost 10%, which could hardly signify a great win for Johnson and his fellow party members.

    However, compared to the figures of January 2021, when England entered the third national lockdown, the Tories gained a couple of points, going from 41% to 43% in April, which marked the period of time the government was actively rolling out the vaccination programme.

    In contrast, compared to the beginning of the year Labour’s popularity was at 34% and only got worse by April (29%).

    In this handout photo provided by UK Parliament, Britain's Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday, June 24, 2020.
    © AP Photo / Jessica Taylor
    In this handout photo provided by UK Parliament, Britain's Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

    Argument over the reasons behind the numbers was rife on social media following the publication of the poll.

    ​Other political parties enjoyed 8% of the vote (Liberal Democrats and the Greens equally), while the Reform UK had 3% of the vote. 

    Starmer Slump

    According to Yougov’s Westminster voting intention tracker, Labour has outperformed the Conservatives only a handful of times since February 2020. Starmer’s opposition to the ruling Tories has been through a few ups and downs, since he took over after Jeremy Corbyn in April 2020.

    Yougov revealed this week that although Starmer is seen as a better leader than Corbyn, many current members “consider themselves further to the left.” While the majority of the party members think Starmer is doing a better job than Corbyn, many are unsure about his Shadow Cabinet. 

    “Three in ten members (28%) don’t know what they think of shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds, while half are unsure about the Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford, and two thirds (67%) don’t have an opinion on shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds,” the poll said.

    Among Labour party leaders, the current one came only fourth in the “most-liked” poll, preceded by former PM Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband and Clement Attlee.

    Former British PM Gordon Brown (R) talks with the leader of the Labour Party Ed  (L)
    © AP Photo
    Former British PM Gordon Brown (R) talks with the leader of the Labour Party Ed (L)

    Whether due to poor economic picture in the country, a stressed healthcare system or a general state of uncertainty following the Covid-19 pandemic, Keir Starmer and his party’s performance are far from Labour’s best. The same could be argued for Johnson and the Conservatives, who possibly are merely reaping the benefits of being a ruling government during a national crisis, when the public would normally avoid changing horses in midstream.

    With the upcoming local elections in May, including London mayoral elections, both Labour and the Conservatives will be looking to consolidate their control of the local authority.  

    Tags:
    YouGov, Conservative Party, Labour party
    Community standardsDiscussion