Liz Truss approval ratings reach new lows after Tory conference

Liz Truss’s personal ratings are now even worse than those recorded for Boris Johnson at the height of the Partygate scandal, according to another Observer poll which will cause alarm among Tory MPs.

[And if it’s any consolation for her, Kwarteng’s approval is even worse.]

61% of all voters say there should be a general election this year, with a quarter against the idea.

Michael Savage 

Truss’s personal approval rating of -47 is now the worst ever recorded for a prime minister in an Opinium poll for the Observer. It is a worse rating than that recorded for Johnson during Partygate and Theresa May in the weeks before her resignation.

It suggests that the perception of the prime minister among voters has worsened despite the Tory party conference, when leaders and parties traditionally see a bump in support as they are given the chance to present their political vision.

Her net approval rating has fallen by 10 points since last week as a result of a significant rise in the number of voters who say they “disapprove” of the job she is doing. The figure was up nine points to 64%. Only 16% approve of the job she is doing. She has an overall approval rating of -47 after rounding is taken into account.

In a concerning sign for Truss, her approval figures are almost as bad among leave voters as remain voters. Among leavers, 61% disapprove of the job she is doing, while 19% approve. Among remainers, 74% disapprove, while 12% approve. Truss successfully won the mantle of the Brexiter candidate for the Tory leadership, despite having backed remain during the EU referendum campaign.

However, chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s ratings are even worse at -51 overall. It follows a mini-budget blamed for crashing the pound, inducing market chaos and leading to a major party conference U-turn over abolishing the top rate of tax. Keir Starmer’s figures are largely unchanged, with a net approval of +9.

With Truss facing opposition to her plans from her own MPs on several fronts, most voters (53%) think she should resign. Only 25% think she should remain Tory leader. Among voters who backed the Tories at the last election, 41% say she should remain in post, while 39% say she should resign.

Overall, Labour’s lead of 21 points is now the biggest Opinium has ever recorded, though the company started polling after the peak of New Labour’s popularity. Labour has tended to have smaller leads than recorded with other polling companies because of the way Opinium treats how likely voters are to cast a ballot.

After a Tory conference characterised by public spats among cabinet ministers over immigration, tax and welfare, voters were unsurprisingly clear on which party had enjoyed the better conference. Asked about Labour’s conference, 44% said it had gone well, with 12% believing it had gone badly. For the Conservatives, 19% thought it had gone well, with 49% saying it had gone badly.

The Conservatives are holding on to just 60% of their 2019 voting coalition. Labour is holding on to 87% of its 2019 voters. 61% of all voters say there should be a general election this year, with a quarter against the idea.

Adam Drummond, Opinium’s associate director, said: “The Conservative party conference has not, it seems safe to say, given the Truss administration the boost in the polls it might have hoped for. The fact that the prime minister seems determined to avoid up-rating universal credit in line with inflation puts her on the wrong side of public opinion on the issue.

“Even though voters generally like it when politicians U-turn to abandon unpopular policies, the fact that ‘U-turning to abandon unpopular policies’ seems to have defined her time in office so far means that she doesn’t even get the benefit of being seen as principled: her ratings for this are as poor as they are for being competent or being a strong leader.”

Opinium polled 2,023 people online from 5-7 October.