The history of political popularity shows things go in one direction: down. John Major entered office with a net satisfaction of +15 and left it having lost 42 points. Blair moved into Downing Street a whopping 60 points in the positive. When he left he’d fallen to -27. And so the story goes – even the Maybot started quite popular with a +35. Where you start can make all the difference. If things are only going to go one way, you want as handsome a margin as possible.
That’s why today’s political monitor poll from Ipsos Mori could spell trouble for Truss. She’s beginning her term in office on minus two. She joins Boris Johnson as the only prime ministers since 1982 to start on a negative rating. Include opposition leaders and they’re only joined by Jeremy Corbyn and William Hague.
By contrast, Truss’s predecessors – Boris excluded – held onto their positive ratings for quite a while. Blair managed more than three years of positive ratings before first turning negative. John Major did just under two while Cameron and May reached seven and ten months. Gordon Brown only managed three.
Truss’s government also starts with a negative rating of -50. A gift she can probably thank her predecessor for. It’s not uncommon for leaders who take over between elections to inherent deficits, but dig deeper and it’s not all bad news. The poll also found that the Conservatives are more trusted on the economy than labour and have a 15-point lead: an impressive feat given inflation is running just shy of ten per cent. On the other hand Labour have a 22-point lead on the NHS, they lead by 15 points on reducing living costs and have a 23-point lead for levelling up.