Following some recent polling, a lot of the media has been hyping up the ‘Boris bounce’. While the whole thing may have been over-hyped, there’s now evidence that Johnson is falling flat regardless.
A poll from Ipsos/Mori showed a 10-point poll lead for the Conservatives. But as Owen Jones explained, it’s not quite so simple:
In this poll, the Tory lead is 10 points among 'likely voters', but just 3 points among 'all voters'.
That means the 'Boris bounce' is soft: it's mostly making existing Tory voters more enthusiastic. If Labour fires up its supporters in an election campaign, it can close the gap https://t.co/maArTHhV1j
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) August 1, 2019
Can Labour energise support like Jones suggests? The 2017 general election – when stricter anti-bias reporting kicked in – saw Labour increase its vote share by more than it had since 1945. Labour also got young people out – a demographic which is usually considered ‘unlikely’ to vote.
Keiran Pedley of Ipsos/Mori got into the findings some more:
Bad news for Johnson:
When compared to past PMs that assumed office during a parliament, Johnson's personal satisfaction ratings are worse than Brown's, Major's and May's.
His govt also has the worst satisfaction ratings of any government assuming office in our series too. pic.twitter.com/qccu7P5zyU
— Keiran Pedley (@keiranpedley) August 1, 2019
Addressing the first point, the public having an unfavourable view of Corbyn being PM isn’t new. This is a YouGov poll showing the public’s view of Corbyn and May before the 2017 general election:
Pedley also reported:
Finally – bad news for Johnson
Despite promising sunshine, there is not a lot of economic optimism about…
58% expect the general economic condition of the country to worsen in the next 12 months. Only 18% expect it to improve. pic.twitter.com/UOgit0jlRt
— Keiran Pedley (@keiranpedley) August 1, 2019
Things getting worse would be bad news for Johnson – especially as things are already much worse than before the Conservatives took power in 2010. In 2017, Labour presented a manifesto that dealt with issues created by successive Conservative (and New Labour) governments, and also looked to the future. The public “overwhelmingly” backed it. In an election, Johnson wouldn’t just be fighting Labour; he’d also be fighting his own party’s record.
Meanwhile, the by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire saw the Liberal Democrats unseat the Conservative Party:
Brecon & Radnorshire, result:
LDEM: 43.5% (+14.3)
CON: 39.0% (-9.6)
BREX: 10.5% (+10.5)
LAB: 5.3% (-12.5)
MRLP: 1.0% (+1.0)
UKIP: 0.8% (-0.6)
— Britain Elects (@britainelects) August 2, 2019
While clearly a good result for the Liberal Democrats, it’s perhaps not as clear as some people are making out. John Rentoul wrote for the Independent:
Yesterday’s vote makes it slightly more difficult for Boris Johnson to push his “do or die” Brexit through parliament, which may, paradoxically, make a general election after October more likely.
The result could also mean Johnson has to work with the Brexit Party to win a general election, thus making “do or die” Brexit more likely. As it’s looking increasingly impossible for Johnson to make Brexit happen with our current parliament, an election may be the only way of breaking the deadlock.
The results clearly show one thing, though – namely that the ‘Boris bounce’ is failing to get much lift:
In losing the #BreconByElection Boris Johnson has become a record breaker.
At only 11 days he has lost a seat in a by-election faster than any prime minister since Asquith in 1908 (16 days).
— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) August 2, 2019
That hasn’t stopped the media claiming otherwise, of course:
The Telegraph’s take on the Brecon result:
Boris Johnson losing a by-election and cutting his government’s working majority in half just one week into his premiership, is actually a great victory. pic.twitter.com/zGlqW1rt8m
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) August 2, 2019
The loss in Brecon means the Conservative government has a majority of just one.
There’s more bad news, too. A poll taken before the by-election showed that Johnson and his administration already aren’t resonating with the public. This is even before a general election, when they’d be more rigorously held accountable for their work in government:
Boris Johnson's government more unpopular than any new administration in 40 years, poll finds
Three quarters of voters are already dissatisfied with the new government's performance, compared to just 18 per cent who are satisfied.https://t.co/F7nWrgCT4l
— Ashley Cowburn (@ashcowburn) August 1, 2019
Bring it on
The ‘Boris bounce’ was over-hyped, unlikely to make much difference in an election, and is already falling flat. The view from the left should be the same as ever – the sooner we go back to the polls the better.
Featured image via screengrab
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