LONDON — So much for the “President Rishi” strategy.
Brits no longer think Rishi Sunak is a plus for his governing Conservative Party, according to a new poll shared with POLITICO.
The fresh survey by campaign group More in Common found only 29 percent of voters now agree that the British prime minister — who took on the job after the tumultuous tenure of Liz Truss — is an “asset” to his party, compared to 41 percent who disagree.
When the same question was asked back in May, Sunak was viewed as an asset by 36 percent of those polled, compared to 30 percent who disagreed with that assessment.
Sunak’s Conservatives face a mountain to climb ahead of an expected general election next year, with the opposition Labour Party consistently ahead in polling.
More in Common’s research found that Labour, led by Keir Starmer, has a 15-point lead on the Tories (44 percent to 29 percent) in voting intention.
Less rosy for the opposition party, however, is the finding that voters are split on whether Starmer himself is an asset to his party, with 32 percent agreeing he is and 33 percent disagreeing.
The polling suggests a campaign focused on the personal strengths of Sunak — whose supporters highlight his serious and details-focused style of leadership — might struggle.
“Tory strategists had been hoping that a ‘President Rishi’ focussed campaign would help to turn an electoral corner for the Conservatives, but the opposite seems to be happening with a significant shift in our polling suggesting voters no longer think the prime minister is an asset to his party,” More in Common U.K. director Luke Tryl said.
The agency’s research also found that Brits consider rises in the cost of living to be the most important issue facing the U.K. ahead of next year’s general election.
Asked to select up to three issues as most important, 69 percent of respondents picked the cost of living crisis — with the National Health Service (44 percent) and climate change (33 percent) the next most important.
Just over a fifth (22 percent) of those asked picked the issue of asylum seekers crossing the English Channel as one of the key issues facing the U.K.