Slump in confidence over Tory competence after ‘massive shift’ in polls for Labour

PUBLISHED: 08:48 19 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:00 19 August 2020

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer during a visit to Whitmore Park Primary School in Coventry. Photograph: Jacob King/PA.

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer during a visit to Whitmore Park Primary School in Coventry. Photograph: Jacob King/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

A new poll has found the Tories have suffered a slump in the public’s confidence in data which one pollster said is a “massive shift” for Labour.

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YouGov’s snap poll asked which party would be the most competent in running the country, with the Tories receiving 29% of support, leaving them level-pegging with Labour, after previously enjoying a considerable advantage over the opposition.

In a boost for Labour - which has struggled to match the fortunes of its rivals since losing power in 2010 - voters in the North give Labour a lead on competency after handing the Tories an election win last time.

Voters in London and Scotland also decisively back Labour in the polling, whereas the Tories remain seen as competent in the South, Midlands and Wales.

The polling found that 28% also believed “neither” would be competent at running the country, and 14% saying that they “don’t know”, suggesting more opportunity to capitalise on the Tories’ struggles.


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Almost half of Remainers (49%) think Labour would be more competent, with 25% thinking neither would be competent. Half of Leavers think Boris Johnson’s Tories (50%) is more competent with 32% thinking neither would be competent.

It comes as Keir Starmer overtook Boris Johnson in approval ratings, and the government’s pandemic response being widely criticised.

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Chris Curtice, from YouGov, said: “We have seen Starmer catch up with Johnson on competence.

“But for Labour to be neck-and-neck with the Tories is a massive shift.”

Separate YouGov polling found the government has the lowest approval rating in eight months since December 2019.

A total of 49% disapprove of the government (up one point), compared to 29% approving (down one point), giving a net approval rating of -20% (down two points).

MORE: The Tories’ Red Wall will crumble without solid foundations

The second set of polling was taken before the government’s latest u-turn over the A-Level results fiasco.

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