It may feel like a foregone conclusion, but the result could yet be closer than many expect

  • 30 May, 2024
  • Politics
  • Polling

Published in the Daily Mail on 30 May 2024.

A Labour fundraising email earlier this week warned party supporters that the Tories “fired the starting gun last Wednesday because they believe this timing gives them the best chance to win. Rishi Sunak knows something that we don’t.” Far more likely, Number 10 concluded that holding on would only make things worse, and that it would be better to limit the damage than look as though Rishi was being dragged out of the building, Gordon Brown-style.

Either way, most voters think the result would have been much the same whenever he went to the polls, and when we asked how people felt about the election announcement the most popular answer was “relieved”. At last, a chance to clear the air and get it over with.

Indeed, our first poll of the campaign confirms what has become a very familiar picture. Keir Starmer is named as the best prime minister by 37% to 19%, but with nearly half of all voters saying they don’t know. Asked which words best describe Sunak people most often chose “out of touch” and “out of his depth”; for Starmer, “dull” and “indecisive”. It’s fair to say people are uninspired by the pageant of democracy unfolding before them.

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