Boris Johnson Approval Ratings Tipped For Highest in 10 Months

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Boris Johnson Approval Ratings Tipped For Highest in 10 Months
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Boris Johnson’s approval ratings are expected to reach their highest level in almost a year following a surge in popularity for the UK prime minister.

Johnson has been in No 10 for over 18 months and successfully claimed an 80-seat majority at the last election in December 2019.

However, his surging popularity – which was crafted on his promise to ‘Get Brexit Done’ – took a nosedive last May following the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Pollsters have tracked Johnson’s approval and disapproval ratings throughout the pandemic. In October, following a summer of travel chaos, a school exams fiasco and the Dominic Cummings scandal, Johnson had a 59% disapproval rating, compared to 34% approval.

That was a far cry from the 66% approval rating Johnson earned during the early days of the first national lockdown in April 2020, when the PM himself contracted coronavirus and spent days in an NHS hospital.

Johnson Approval Ratings Upturn

But it appears as though the PM is once again gaining the blessing of the British electorate. Since October the approval/disapproval ratings have narrowed to effectively a level figure around 45%.

This approval upturn is considered to have been triggered by the UK finally leaving the European Union with a form of trade deal, while the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out recently passed 30 million first doses.

And political betting sites are expecting the trend to continue into the spring. Paddy Power have set a price of 4/7 on Johnson’s approval ratings hitting 46% or above in April 2021. Conversely, he is 11/10 to remain on 45% or even drop below.

Bar his personal bout with Covid a year ago, Johnson has never enjoyed a +50% approval rating during his tenure as prime minister. Yet the markets suggest bookmakers and UK punters are expecting the Conservative upswing to spread into the spring, just in time for the local elections in May.

What Could Change?

The upcoming elections are being viewed as the first genuine opportunity the UK population has to express its view of the Tory government and their handling of the past 12 months during the coronavirus crisis.

Issues such as the economy, the NHS, the UK’s preparedness for the pandemic and the government’s issuing of PPE contracts are expected to dominate campaigning.

Meanwhile, by-elections in places such as Hartlepool will likely stoke further political tension, as Labour seeks to hold a seat at risk of flipping blue.

As for Johnson himself, the PM who was once considered a politician desperate for popularity looks in no danger of leaving his post any time soon, even if his approval ratings nosedive once again.

Markets on when Johnson could quit as prime minister remain confident the 56-year-old will lead the Tories into the next election, scheduled for 2024. And with a current majority in the House of Commons, there seems no reason for the premier to leave before then.

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Joe Short

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