The handling of the Owen Paterson sleaze row is proving to be more than just a blip for the Prime Minister, as an emergency debate is due to be held today and the political fallout continues. Now, it appears voters are also prepared to punish Boris Johnson, with his approval ratings neck-and-neck with Sir Keir Starmer for the first time ever. But it’s not just the sleaze row that’s causing a shakeup – here is a look at the latest polling climate.
What do the latest polls show?
According to the latest polls from Opinium for the Observer, which surveyed 1,840 British adults between November 5 and 6, Boris Johnson’s lead over Sir Keir has fallen to just one point.
The PM’s personal ratings have now fallen to -20, down from -16 last week, proving Mr Johnson’s popularity is on a downward momentum.
There was also a significant shift in who voters see as the best prime minister.
An 11-point lead for Mr Johnson has shrunk to just two points.
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Mr Johnson is regarded as the best candidate by 28 percent of voters, down five points, with the Labour leader on 26 percent (up four points).
The same poll also show that, while the Tories still lead in the polls for overall voting intention, it’s not by much.
The Opinium poll shows the Tories hold general election voting intention of 37 percent, with Labour hot on their heels with 36 percent.
The Lib Dems are in third with nine percent, and the Greens with seven percent.
More worrying will be a new Ipsos MORI poll, which shows the Tories have slipped down to 35 percent on voting intention, while Labour stands unchanged on 36 percent – the oppositions first clear lead since the 2019 general election.
But with a built-in Tory majority, the move was seen as a clear depiction of Tory sleaze and cronyism, and after a day of intense criticism, the Government backed down.
But it didn’t end there, with serious damage done to the Prime Minister and party reputation as a whole.
Tories at all levels have expressed concern, with many reporting a backlash from constituents.
Public trust in the Government has undoubtedly taken a knock over the scandal, with Keir Starmer keen to exploit the moment.
On Monday, he issued a call for the Prime Minister to apologise to the whole nation.
The Owen Paterson row has hurt the Prime Minister on a number of levels, also snatching headlines from success at COP26.
Over the weekend, the climate summit was hailed as a “coup” for Mr Johnson in the Sunday Times, saying he has delivered “some success” in each of his “four baskets” of “coal, cars, cash and trees.”
Another poll, from the Onward think tank, has polled across the nation on voters’ support for net-zero carbon emissions.
The poll showed that two-thirds now believe “tackling climate change is one of the most important issues we face today” and a similar proportion agree that “the government is not being bold enough on its measures to tackle climate change.”
Voters from every age group, ethnicity, region and social grade, as well as both Leave and Remain and Conservative and Labour voters, support bolder action in principle.
However, only 50 percent say they’d be happy to “pay more in taxes if it leads to less carbon being emitted into the atmosphere,” falling to 44 percent among Conservatives and 40 percent among voters who switched to the Tories in 2019.
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