More people disapprove of government handling of coronavirus for first time

PUBLISHED: 10:49 17 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:40 17 May 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes a morning walk in St James's Park in London. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes a morning walk in St James's Park in London. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

More people disapprove of the government’s handling of the coronavirus than approve for the first time.

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The survey by Opinium found 39% backed the government’s response, down from 48% a week ago.

Those saying they disapproved have risen from 36% last week to 42%.

It follows a week in which Boris Johnson faced criticism over his announcement of the easing of the lockdown restrictions in England.

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The prime minister also came under pressure in the Commons from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer over the government’s efforts to tackle the spread of the disease in care homes.

Starmer now has a 14% lead over Johnson in the latest net approval ratings - with the Labour leader on +24 points and Johnson on +10 points.

Adam Drummond, the head of political polling at Opinium, said it was “inevitable” disapproval would rise as lockdown is eased.

“In part this was likely inevitable as the relatively simple and almost unanimous decision to lockdown has given way to much more contestable decisions about how and when to open up,” he said.

“We have gone from a very simple and clearly understood message to a more nuanced situation with more confused messaging and a sense that the Government don’t have as firm a grip on the situation as voters would like.”

- Opinium Research surveyed 2,005 UK adults aged 18 and over online between May 13 and 14.

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