BMG Research has undertaken exclusive polling for The i newspaper. The polling covers topics including vote intention, leader satisfaction and attitudes toward the Conservative Party Leadership. Key findings are:

  • The Labour party lead is ahead by 16 points, with 41% saying they would vote for Labour and 25% saying they would vote Conservative.
  • Reform UK share of the vote remains consistent at 14%; in line with their of the vote share last wave.
  • 18% are satisfied with the job Rishi Sunak is doing as Prime Minister (cf. a high of 31% in November / early December 2022), and 61% are dissatisfied (cf. a low 34% in November / early December). The net satisfaction of -43% remains as low as it was last wave and continues to match the low point recorded for Boris Johnson in our first wave of polling in June 2022.
  • Keir Starmer’s net satisfaction also remains fairly consistent with the last wave at -6% (29% satisfied and 34% dissatisfied).
  • Labour is trusted by a higher share of voters on most issues with highest levels of trust on housing and social care (both issues Labour has a lead over the Conservatives of 21%) and healthcare / the NHS (20% lead). Labour matches the Conservatives on being most trusted on the issue of the War in Ukraine (0% lead) and the British response to Israel-Gaza (-1% lead).
  • While a quarter (26%) believe that Rishi Sunak is doing a good job as Prime Minster, over half (56%) believe he is doing a bad job, resulting a drop in his net performance of -12% points since August of last year.
  • Despite this, the only other senior Conservative who the public would be just as likely to vote for is Boris Johnson. Three in ten (31%) would be likely to vote for a party led by the former Prime Minister, compared to a similar figure (30%) for Rishi Sunak.
  • The issue for both leaders in forming in an electoral winning coalition is divisiveness. While Johnson is the most appealing to ex-2019 Conservative voters (45% likely to vote for a Party lead by him), he risks alienating current party voters (63% likely to vote for Johnson c.f. 88% for Sunak).
  • And while Sunak has support among current Conservative voters, he has little appeal among ex-2019 Conservative voters; only 14% of this group likely to vote for a party led by the Prime Minister.
  • Among those who have never been leader of the Conservatives, Penny Mordaunt performs the best with a quarter (24%) of the British Public saying they would be likely to vote for her. Though more of the Ex-2019 Conservative group would be likely to vote for a party led by Mordaunt than Sunak (29% c.f. 14%), this would also come at the expense of current voters, as only 57% of this group would be likely for a Party led by her.
  • In addition, a Mordaunt leadership would present another risk for the Conservatives – the unknown factor. While three-fifths (62%) of the British Public have heard of Mordaunt this is much lower than previous leaders such as Johnson (91%), David Cameron (89%) and Liz Truss (87%).

On Voting Intention:

The push within some parts of the Conservative Party to find a replacement for Rishi Sunak is understandable given their dismal polling figures and Sunak’s low personal ratings, a pattern that our polling consistently reflects. 

However, there is no standout candidate poised to turn the party’s fortunes around. This is possibly a reflection of the broader unpopularity of the Conservatives, which has tainted the profiles of its leading figures across the board.

However, two interesting options are worth a discussion. Boris Johnson remains a significant figure due to his near-universal name recognition and his continued resonance with the sizable contingent of 2019 Conservative voters who now say they no longer intend to vote for the party.

Interestingly, public perception of his tenure has seen a slight revival since last summer – possibly as people reassess his legacy in light of his successors. 

Given his mandate in 2019, he also presents a more compelling case in terms of legitimacy, something that polling indicates is of concern to the electorate when it comes to the prospect of the Conservatives making yet another leadership swap. Nonetheless, Boris Johnson’s appeal isn’t markedly broader than that of Sunak. So he is no silver bullet, and in polling terms, a shadow of the more widely admired London mayor and promising leadership figure he was a decade ago.

The other interesting candidate would be Penny Mordaunt. Though lesser known, she scores well compared to her peers and shows strength among both current Conservative supporters and those who voted Conservative in 2019 but not longer intend to vote for them now. Of the candidates polled who have not already been Prime Minister, she has the most obvious electoral appeal. While there are other potential candidates, they remain largely untested and relatively unknown—introducing them now could be seen as a gamble that polling is not capable of meaningfully quantifying. 

An article by The i on voting intention and clarity on policy can be found here.

Methodology, fieldwork dates, and a full breakdown of these results can be found here.

As a sample of the population was interviewed, the results are subject to a margin of error around various estimates. This means that, given the random nature of the sampling process, we can be confident that the actual result lies somewhere within the margin of error. For example, with a sample of 1,000 we can be 95% certain that the actual value will fall 3% either side of the result. For a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, or any other results from our polling series, please get in touch by email or phone.

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