Starmer’s net approval rating hits eight-month low in Red Wall poll

Katie Neame
© UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Keir Starmer’s personal net approval ratings in the ‘Red Wall’ have fallen to its lowest level since September, according to a new poll.

According to the poll – released this week – the Labour leader’s net approval rating in the Red Wall stands at +1%, down three points on Redfield & Wilton’s most recent previous poll and at its lowest since early September last year, when it was at -5%.

It means voters who approve of his “overall job performance” since becoming leader only outweigh those who disapprove by a wafer-thin margin.

Consultancy Redfield & Wilton regularly surveys 40 seats deemed to be in the so-called ‘Red Wall’ of former Labour strongholds won by the Tories in recent years.

Improving Labour’s position in seats lost to the Tories in 2019 – which were crucial to the large majority achieved by Boris Johnson’s party at that election – has been a key priority of Starmer’s leadership.

The party saw some success in Red Wall areas during the local elections this month, taking overall control of Blackpool and Stoke-on-Trent councils, as well as making gains in Darlington, Bolton and Hartlepool. But the party struggled in other areas, losing councillors in Hyndburn and retaining just one seat on Ashfield council.

Redfield & Wilton’s latest polling in the Red Wall found Labour leading the Tories by 17%, down six points on its previous survey earlier this month. It put Labour on 48% – down four points – and the Tories on 31% – up two points – with the Liberal Democrats and Reform UK on 7% and the Greens on 4%.

Rishi Sunak’s net approval rating was at -7%, up six points on the previous poll. The Prime Minister has had a negative approval rating for almost all of his time in office, hitting a low of -23% in early February.

But the same proportion of respondents said they approved of Sunak’s performance as approved of Starmer’s – at 32%. The Prime Minister received a lower net approval rating though as he had a higher disapproval rating – 39% to Starmer’s 31%.

Asked who would be a better Prime Minister between Sunak and Starmer, however, 41% of respondents chose the Labour leader, an eight-point lead on the Prime Minister and up three points on the previous poll. Some 33% opted for Sunak, while 26% said they did not know.

Redfield & Wilton’s latest national voting intention survey – released over the weekend – found Labour leading the Tories by 15%, up three points on its poll a week previously. 43% of respondents said they would vote Labour if there were a general election tomorrow, while 28% said they would back the Tories.

Labour has held a consistent lead over the Tories in Politico’s ‘poll of polls‘, which aggregates data from multiple sources, since December 2021, achieving its largest lead in October last year – 52% to the Conservatives’ 22% – during Liz Truss’ tumultuous premiership.

The party argued that the local election results showed that it is “on course for a majority Labour government” following key early victories in Plymouth and Stoke-on-Trent. But modelling at the time by Sky News and the BBC put the party 28 and 14 seats short of a majority respectively, raising the prospect of a hung parliament.

The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.

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