Johnson’s poll lead over Labour boosted by Covid vaccine rollout | Opinion polls

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The Conservatives have secured their biggest lead over Labour since last summer amid signs Boris Johnson is benefiting from a “vaccine bounce”, the latest Opinium poll for the Observer has revealed.

A year into the pandemic, the poll gives the Tories a 7-point lead over Labour, up from 5 points a fortnight ago. It is the biggest lead since July, with the Conservatives on 43% of the vote and Labour down 1 point on 36%. It also suggests greater public support for the government’s handling of the latest phase of the pandemic and the roadmap out of lockdown measures.

In the week of the budget, the poll revealed that the Tories maintain a clear lead over Labour in terms of economic trust. Almost two-fifths (39%) said they most trusted Johnson and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to handle the economy, while 25% backed Keir Starmer and the shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds.

The findings represent a reality check for Labour and Starmer, who managed to eliminate a huge Tory lead after taking over from Jeremy Corbyn last April. He used a major speech this month to give details of his plans for the economy, pledging to build a “strong partnership with businesses” in the post-Covid recovery.

The latest Opinium poll suggests that public opinion is beginning to shift. Approval of the government’s handling of Covid has risen, with 36% now approving, up 3 points, and 45% disapproving – unchanged from a fortnight ago. About 47% think the government’s roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England is set at the right pace. However, 31% believe it is too quick and 12% believe it is too slow.

Keir Starmer and Anneliese Dodds.
Keir Starmer with Anneliese Dodds, the shadow chancellor. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Approval of Johnson as prime minister, which has been low for some time, is recovering. About 39% approve of the job he is doing and 41% disapprove, giving him a net score of -2. Starmer’s approval rating is also up slightly, with 33% approving of the job he is doing and 28% disapproving, giving a net score of +5. Johnson holds a lead when it comes to who would make the best prime minister, with 33% backing him and 25% Starmer, down 2 points on a fortnight ago.

Adam Drummond, associate director of Opinium, said: “After spending much of 2020 on the backfoot regarding its handling of coronavirus, the ongoing success of the vaccine rollout has rejuvenated the government’s poll ratings with a now clear Conservative lead over Labour, as well as improvements in Boris Johnson’s job approval figures.

“Unlike the 2020 summer or Christmas ‘unlocking’ (both of which voters were sceptical of), this time the government’s planned roadmap is seen as about right by most voters.”

Drummond added: “With the budget this week, the discussion moving on to economics also favours the Conservatives, where Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson have a substantial lead over Keir Starmer and Anneliese Dodds. The question is whether the chancellor’s announcements will maintain that advantage, given the public appetite for increased spending and taxes on corporations and high earners.”

Opinium polled 2,003 people online on 25-26 February.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Johnson’s poll lead over Labour boosted by Covid vaccine rollout | Opinion polls

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