James Johnson

James Johnson was a senior research and strategy adviser to Theresa May between 2016-2019. He is co-founder of
the research company J.L. Partners

Farage’s return is Rishi Sunak’s worst nightmare

From the moment the Conservatives called this summer election they seemed doomed: Sunak had failed to deliver on his five promises, much of the electorate had given up on him, and Starmer looked set for power. But there still seemed like the possibility of a hung parliament, or perhaps Labour only getting a small majority,

The statistic that should terrify Tory HQ

The tightening looks on. On Tuesday, my polling firm JL Partners published its first campaign poll showing a 12-point Labour lead, down from 15 points at the start of May and 18 points in April. Our data scientist, Callum Hunter, has written for The Spectator on why we are confident our methodology is the right

Sunak’s snap election looks like a calamitous error

Until yesterday there was a fair amount of goodwill towards Rishi Sunak amongst his colleagues. Tory parliamentarians would not have been happy with a defeat in an election forced upon the Prime Minister at the end of the year, but they might have understood it. Most MPs felt the PM had been dealt a dire

Will Reform overtake the Tories?

12 min listen

A new YouGov poll has Reform just four points behind the Conservatives. Richard Tice’s party is on 15 per cent, and Rishi Sunak’s party is on 19 per cent. What is driving the Tory decline? Max Jeffery speaks to Katy Balls and to James Johnson of JL Partners.

Why few voters like Sunak

14 min listen

New polling from JL Partners shows how Rishi Sunak has changed, in the eyes of the public. They found that while Sunak was initially seen as a direct ‘breath of fresh air’, he is now frequently described as ‘out of touch’, ‘spineless’ and ‘false’. To discuss what went wrong for the PM, James Heale and

Do Trump’s Republican rivals have any hope?

23 min listen

Freddy Gray is joined by pollster James Johnson, co-founder of JL Partners. They speak about the upcoming Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, and whether Trump’s opponents have any chance of beating him. They also discuss the impact of Trump’s trials, and JL Partners’ viral word cloud which both Biden and Trump have been attempting

What can we learn from the Uxbridge by-election result?

13 min listen

The dust has settled after yesterday’s by-election results. Having narrowly avoided a triple by-election defeat there seems to be little sign of Conservative party in-fighting, despite their poor showing. There is however a war of words brewing between the London Labour Party and Kier Starmer who blames Sadiq Khan’s Ulez plan for the failure to

Local elections: are we heading for a 1997 moment?

15 min listen

The local election results so far paint a fairly grim picture for the Conservatives, whilst Labour and the Liberal Democrats have made big gains in key areas. With Starmer in the advantage position ahead of the next general election, how will No. 10 respond? Is there a path for the Tories in 2024?  Katy Balls

Why don’t Brits love Starmer?

11 min listen

Rishi Sunak’s personal poll ratings are on the up, by why don’t the public love Keir Starmer? We talk through the latest polling. And Mark Spencer, now the farming minister, has been cleared by an investigation into whether he made Islamophobic investigations to fellow Tory MP Nus Ghani. Is the row over?  Max Jeffery is

Is Scottish independence dead?

13 min listen

After the news this week that Nicola Sturgeon will step aside as leader of the Scottish National Party, can the cause of Scottish independence survive without her?  James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and James Johnson, former Downing Street pollster and co-founder of JL Partners. 

Voters agree with Lee Anderson about cracking down on crime

Lee Anderson, the recently-appointed Tory party deputy chairman, has sparked a political row with his comments on capital punishment. ‘Nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed. 100 per cent success rate,’ he said in an interview with The Spectator. Rishi Sunak says he disagrees, and is not in favour of the death penalty.

Is Tory sleaze cutting through?

12 min listen

Today, Rishi Sunak faced another round of questioning over the two ongoing Tory sleaze scandals. What is it about these stories that infuriate voters, and can the Prime Minister close the chapter on them as he promised to do? Max Jeffery talks to Katy Balls and pollster James Johnson, co-founder of JL Partners. Produced by

Boris is tainting the Conservative brand

The loss of Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton has shaken the Conservative party. But governments like Thatcher’s and Cameron’s have suffered mid-term blues before and bounced back to win elections. Is there anything really that different about what is happening now that will stop Boris Johnson making a similar recovery? In my view, the answer

A plea from a pollster: stop listening to the public

When Dominic Cummings released his WhatsApp messages with Boris Johnson earlier this month, perhaps the most alarming was the one where both men fretted about ‘trends in polls and lots of focus groups over the past 2 weeks’. The texts, dated 27 April 2020, also saw the Prime Minister asking about ‘tonight[‘s] focus group and

Boris is no Trump – and that’s why he’s doomed

In the last week, I’ve been crisscrossing the United States, meeting with politicians and their advisers ahead of this year’s congressional elections. Almost everyone has asked me about the ongoing Boris Johnson saga. Their most common refrain is surprise: how can the simple act of attending a party prompt a prime minister’s ever-more-likely political demise?

Will a Scotland ‘love bomb’ woo voters?

14 min listen

Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon seem to be battling for the position of most amiable leader. The First Minister invited Johnson to meet with her on his visit to Scotland, but the PM politely declined, instead inviting Sturgeon to a more formal meeting of devolved administrations. The Prime Minister’s visit to Scotland is part of

Is Britain really a nation of lockdown-lovers?

A quick read of the polls, and you would be forgiven for thinking we are a nation of lockdown-lovers, clamouring for stricter measures, eager to obey and accept any and all restrictions given to us. An Ipsos-MORI poll over the weekend showed 45 per cent of the public think current measures are not strict enough,

Live at Alternative Conference

28 min listen

The Prime Minister was forced to apologise this afternoon after misstating new lockdown rules brought into force overnight in the North East. Is government incompetence costing it support? In a live episode of Coffee House Shots for The Spectator’s Alternative Conference, Katy Balls speaks to Fraser Nelson, James Forsyth and James Johnson, co-founder of polling