The Conservative Party Conference in Manchester failed to shift public opinion, new polling reveals

Public opinion has not changed significantly following the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, according a YouGov poll.

The Conservatives remain on 24% in Westminster voting intention, the same percentage as prior to the conference. This figure means they are still behind Labour by over 20 percentage points.

Meanwhile on the “best prime minister” metric, Rishi Sunak has taken a small hit, falling from 22% to 20%, the lowest figure to date during his tenure.

The Prime Minister’s keynote speech focused on the cancellation of HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester, creating a smoke-free generation through prohibition and a new educational proposal combining A-Levels and T-Levels.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt did improve slightly in the public’s eyes. Whilst Sunak lost two percentage points, Hunt gained two after the party conference in Manchester, rising to 17%.

The former Foreign Secretary spoke about a rise in the national living wage to at least £11 an hour and tightening up on the requirements to look for work to receive certain benefits.

He also insisted on the importance of lowering inflation as well as maintaining caution surrounding tax cuts, which he argued could cause an inflationary spiral.

This focus was reflected slightly in the polls, as the Conservatives’ polling on the “best party to keep prices down” increased by one percentage point (15% to 16%).

On living standards, the party remained on 17%, whilst there were decreases for the Conservatives on having a clear plan for the country, getting people on the housing ladder and the best party on the economy.

The Labour Party Conference in Liverpool did not have a great effect on public opinion either.

Labour’s Westminster voting intention increased from 45% to 47%, while Keir Starmer’s personal approval ratings went down by two percentage points (34% to 32%).

The Labour leader used his speech to promise 300,000 new homes a year as well as NHS reform and more police officers on the streets.

These promises came as Starmer pledged the UK a “decade of national renewal” under a Labour government.

His focus on housing may be the reason why Labour’s polling increased by three percentage points on the issue of getting people on the housing ladder, rising from 31% to 34%.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves’ personal approval ratings also increased, from 17% to 19%, after her speech on economic growth and cutting waste.

Reeves also received an endorsement from the former Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney. A video played after her speech in which Carney described the Shadow Chancellor as “a serious economist”.

He said: “It’s beyond time to put her ideas and energy into action.”

This video may be part of the Labour Party’s strategy of trying to gain more credibility on the economy.

This approach appears to have worked, as Labour saw their opinion polling on the economy specifically climb from 25% prior to the conference to 28% after.

Overall, the Labour Party seem to have benefitted the most from the conference season, as their figure for having a clear plan for the country also grew from 22% to 28%.

More information about the YouGov poll can be found here.

Feature image by Clever Visuals

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