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Just 27 per cent think Starmer would be a better PM than Johnson

An exclusive poll for The House reveals bad news for the Labour leader, Keir Starmer | Alamy

4 min read

An exclusive poll deals a blow to the Labour leader – and reveals overwhelming support for the vaccination programme. Kate Proctor reports

Boris Johnson continues to outshine opposition leader Keir Starmer with half of voters preferring him as Prime Minister, according to The House’s latest opinion poll.

Just 27 per cent favoured Labour rival Starmer in the survey by Redfield & Wilton Strategies, while 23 per cent said they did not know. In concerning news for Labour, 30 per cent of respondents who voted Labour in the last election considered Johnson a better prime minister than Starmer would be, compared to 50 per cent who would prefer Starmer.

The boost for Johnson follows a 13 point lead for the party over Labour in a poll conducted by YouGov earlier this month, and is likely to reflect what is perceived as a successful coronavirus vaccine rollout, which has seen at least 23 million now given one dose of the jab.

The House’s spring poll, which focused on the government’s pandemic response, and the popularity of the country’s political leaders surveyed 2,000 people on 8 March 2021.

Johnson was preferred as Prime Minister in all age groups performing particularly strongly in the over-65s, and in all regions of the UK except Scotland. 

In a particularly high positive response rate, 82 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with the vaccine programme, compared to 18 per cent who were not. We found that 82 per cent were also satisfied with the way the priority lists had been devised. However, 59 per cent thought teachers should have been vaccinated sooner.

Despite approval for the Prime Minister over the vaccine programme, opposition MPs continue to question his handling of the pandemic, given the high coronavirus death toll, which has now passed 125,000.

More than a third of people – 35 per cent – said they would support paying more tax after the coronavirus crisis

The poll shows Rishi Sunak remains personally popular after his tax-raising budget, with 49 per cent saying they approved or strongly approved of the Chancellor. This is down only slightly from our autumn poll, when 54 per cent said he was making sound financial decisions.

On the corporation tax hike, to come into force in 2023, 52 per cent approved. When a similar question was asked in the autumn, just 40 per cent of those responding to The House’s poll said they would want to see a corporation tax rise.

More than a third of people – 35 per cent – said they would support paying more tax after the coronavirus crisis, compared to 29 per cent against, and 32 per cent who said they did not know. A similar question asked in the autumn revealed that at that stage just 27 per cent would support an increase in taxes in order to pay back the government’s spending, compared to 51 per cent who wanted to reduce taxes.

Confidence in the jobs market is slightly higher now than four months ago, with 79 per cent of employed or self-employed respondents (including those on furlough) expecting to have the same job in a year’s time as they do now. In the autumn, 71 per cent said they believed they’d have the same job in 12 months time. 

The pace at which lockdown restrictions are set to be eased was also met favourably by the public, with the majority (42 per cent) saying Boris Johnson had struck the right balance, as opposed to being too cautious or too impatient.

The House’s poll revealed interesting data for the Covid Recovery Group of Tory backbench MPs, who have been arguing to ease restrictions sooner than the fixed dates if cases are lower than predicted.

We found that 53 per cent disagree with the idea that the scheduled dates should be brought forward if cases fall more than predicted, compared to 47 percent in favour. 

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