Labour and Tories neck and neck in polls after opposition’s lead evaporates
Nearly half of those surveyed disapprove of the way Boris Johnson has handled the pandemic
Labour and the Conservatives are neck-and-neck again and the public is also split over who they prefer as prime minister, according to the latest Opinium poll for the Observer.
Both main parties recorded 40% support, with Labour’s 3-point lead from a fortnight ago evaporating. Labour was down 2 points, with the Tories up 1 point. It comes at the end of a disrupted conference season, where all parties held virtual events. On the question of who voters prefer as prime minister, 32% opted for Boris Johnson and 33% backed Keir Starmer.
The chancellor Rishi Sunak was the only senior minister to emerge with a net positive rating over his handling of the Covid crisis – 45% approve of how he has responded, with 23% disapproving. Almost two-fifths (37%) think he has acted competently and 31% think he has made the right decisions.
Meanwhile, 42% think Johnson is out of his depth handling coronavirus, with 39% stating he has acted incompetently and 39% saying he has made “wrong decisions”. Overall, 31% approve of the way the prime minister has handled the crisis while 47% disapprove.
The polling shows that the public still supports the latest Covid-19 restrictions. Seven in 10 (72%) back working from home wherever possible and 71% agree that face masks should be compulsory for bar staff and non-seated customers, shop workers and waiters.
However, there has been a drop in support for the 10pm closure of pubs, bars and restaurants. A fortnight ago, 58% supported the measure while 16% opposed. This week, 44% supported this measure while 27% opposed it.
Adam Drummond, head of political polling at Opinium, said: “The consistent pattern of the Covid period has been that the government’s economic responses have been seen as far more successful than more medical responses such as management of test and trace or PPE for NHS workers. That has fed into public perceptions of key members of the cabinet with Rishi Sunak being the only cabinet minister with a net positive rating.”
Opinium surveyed 2,001 people online, on 8-9 October.
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