As England’s unlocking coincides with a surge in Covid-19 cases, confidence in the government’s handling of the pandemic has collapsed to the lowest level seen this year.
Pollster Redfield and Wilton asked voters if they thought the government had been taking the right measures to combat Covid-19. In its latest survey, 50 per cent of respondents said the government is making the wrong decisions – the highest number recorded by the pollster since October last year and an increase of eight points in one week.
At the same time, polling company JL Partners recorded a collapse in confidence in key government ministers. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s approval rating, for instance, has fallen from a net positive of 40 points in September 2020 to 21 points this month.
When asked which of the main party leaders is doing a better job, 36 per cent said Boris Johnson, while 28 per cent backed Keir Starmer. While Johnson’s therefore has a comfortable eight-point lead over Starmer, it represents a sharp fall from the 25-point lead he enjoyed in April this year.
The dip in the government’s approval ratings appears to be related to England’s unlocking and questions around whether the measures (or lack thereof) in place at present are the right ones. For example, amid the current “pingdemic”, 12 per cent of respondents to the JL Partners survey said they have deleted the NHS Test and Trace app, while 24 per cent admitted they are considering doing so.