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2 August 2021

How low is Boris Johnson’s approval rating falling?

The Prime Minister’s popularity has taken a hit, among both Conservative party members and voters in general.

Boris Johnson’s approval rating among his own party members fell by 36 points between June and July, according to a survey by Conservative Home. 

Boris Johnson’s approval rating among party members fell 36 points in July
Change in net satisfaction rating for cabinet members (percentage points), June – July 2021.
Top ten based on fall in ratings between June and July
Source: Conservative Home

The Prime Minister’s net satisfaction rate among the party members surveyed by the Tory blog was just 3.4, down from 39.2 in June. Only Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, and Amanda Milling, the Conservative Party co-chair, received a lower rating. 

Last month, Johnson rapidly U-turned following an initial decision not to self-isolate after coming into contact with Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, after Javid tested positive for Covid. Number 10’s initial announcement that the Prime Minister instead would take daily Covid-19 tests, was met with criticism by opposition parties. 

[See also: Police forces are still failing to improve their record on race – why?]

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Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, also saw her support among the party's grassroots plummet in July. Patel’s net approval ratings were down 20 points, from 46 to 26, between June and July. 

The New Statesman’s own analysis of polling data shows that as of 25 July, 39 per cent of people said they preferred Johnson to be the next Prime Minister compared to Keir Starmer, down from 44 per cent just over a month earlier. Polling data also shows that the Conservative’s lead over Labour has narrowed in recent weeks. 

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The government’s announcement of a new amber watchlist in its latest review of travel rules this week has led to further criticism of the Prime Minister. The proposal has been questioned by Tory backbenchers, the Labour Party and the travel industry. 

[See also: Why Rishi Sunak is fighting so hard to save summer holidays]