Staggering poll shows how dissatisfied the UK is with Rishi Sunak’s government

The prime minister has faced another difficult week in Downing Street.

  • 8 in 10 Britons are dissatisfied with the way the country is being run.

  • Rishi Sunak is under pressure after a turbulent week.

  • 75% of British citizens do not believe that the government's policies will improve public services.

WORKSOP, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak takes part in a resident Q&A session at Cafe-Neo at the Priory Shopping Centre on November 17, 2023 in Worksop, England. (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)
The prime minister faced another difficult week. (Getty)

A staggering new poll shows 8 in 10 Britons are dissatisfied with how the country is being run by Rishi Sunak and his government.

It comes after the prime minister faced another difficult week when one of his five key pledges – to ‘stop the boats’ – was dealt a significant blow on Wednesday after the Supreme Court ruled it unlawful.

It followed a Cabinet reshuffle where Sunak sacked his outspoken home secretary Suella Braverman and made the shock move to install former Tory PM David Cameron as foreign secretary.

Sunak's approval rating has dropped by 5 points since October, with only 21% of people satisfied with the job he is doing as PM and 66% dissatisfied, resulting in a net satisfaction score of -45.

This is equal to September's record low, although it had slightly recovered to -37 last month.

Net satisfaction with government 1979-2023. (Ipsos)
Net satisfaction with government 1979-2023. (Ipsos)

Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer's net satisfaction score stands at -21, with 29% of people satisfied with his performance as the Labour leader (down 1 point from October) and 50% dissatisfied (down 3 points).

In terms of voter preferences, there hasn't been a significant change since October, with Labour leading by 21 points: 46% of people support Labour (+2 from October), 25% support the Conservatives (+1), 12% support the Lib Dems (-1), 6% support the Greens (-3), and 10% support other parties (-1).

Only 13% are satisfied, which gives a net score of -67, compared to the -66 recorded last month.

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Ipsos’s Cameron Garrett said it was the worst performance since John Major was Conservative prime minister.

He wrote on X: “We now have a year's worth of @IpsosUK satisfaction measures for Rishi Sunak's government. They have not achieved a single rating above -60.

“The last time the public was this unwavering in their entrenched pessimism was the mid-90s.”

Britain's former Home Secretary Suella Braverman leaves her home in London on November 15, 2023. Outspoken British lawmaker Suella Braverman launched a withering attack on Prime Minister Sunak on November 15, 2023, urging him to change course to avoid election defeat and slamming his record on immigration and anti-Semitism. Braverman, a favourite of the right-wing of the ruling Conservative party, fired the broadside in a three-page letter to Sunak a day after he sacked her as interior minister. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Suella Braverman was sacked as home secretary. (Getty Images)

Public services

According to the latest Ipsos Political Monitor, 75% of British citizens do not believe that the government's policies will ultimately improve the country's public services.

This figure has increased by 5 points since February 2021 and is the highest level of criticism of the government's long-term policies for public services since Ipsos began this series of reports in 2001.

The poll revealed that 78% of people think the quality of public services has declined over the last five years, including 70% of Conservative supporters.

This compares to 63% who expressed the same sentiment in March 2017, ahead of that year's General Election and only 40% in November 2012.

People's expectations for the future are also generally pessimistic, with all indicators showing a decline since February 2020.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 14: Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street after attending the weekly Cabinet meeting in London, United Kingdom on November 14, 2023. (Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu via Getty Images)
David Cameron has returned as foreign secretary. (Getty Images)

The poll showed that 64% of people expect the NHS to worsen over the next few years, an increase of 18 points since February 2020 and close to the worst score achieved in March 2017 of 62%.

Only a quarter (25%) of the population agree that ‘in the long term, the government’s policies will improve the economy’.

68% disagree with this statement, which is the worst score Ipsos has recorded since they started asking the question in July 1980.

In comparison, 37% of people agree that ‘In the long term, the Labour party’s policies would improve the state of Britain’s economy’, while 50% disagree with it.

Ipsos Political Monitor conducted a survey from 1-8 November 2023 to examine attitudes towards the UK’s public services, economy, and tax and spend policies ahead of the Autumn Statement.