Rishi's Away Day
What I told a company in the City about the government's prospects
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Last week, prime minister Rishi Sunak and his cabinet met at Chequer’s to discuss, among other things, their strategy ahead of the next election, which some people tell me could come as early as spring 2024. The strategy has already been coming into focus, with Sunak telling voters in his new year speech to judge him on how he performs in five specific areas, namely:
(1) cutting inflation
(2) growing the economy
(3) slashing national debt
(4) reducing waiting lists in the National Health Service, and
(5) stopping small boats crossing the channel.
The goal is clearly to go to the country with tangible examples of progress, promises being kept and competency being restored. Sunak and his team were also presented with a bunch of data on what their strategists are referring to as “a narrow but steep” path to victory at the next election. As chance would have it, I was giving a talk in the City on the same topic, drawing on a bunch of polling I’ve being doing. So here, for active supporters, are my five key points which may or may not overlap with what Sunak and his cabinet were told. If you do not have full access but want it with a one-time discount of 30% then upgrade now.
The current polling is incredibly bleak for the Conservative government. In my latest polling Labour is on 50% and the Conservatives are on just 21%. This is a very large Labour majority. If you look under the bonnet, Sunak and his party are getting absolutely battered among everybody under 50 and now trail Labour by at least 20-points among key groups, like the C2 skilled workers who were so important to the populist, Brexit and then Boris Johnson vote. Furthermore, Sunak and his party are today only holding around four in ten of the people who voted for Boris Johnson at the last election. The rest have gone walkies. Only about 13-18 per cent have switched to Labour while another 16% or so have gone to the challenger party Reform, while a larger share, close to one-third, are now sitting it out, refusing to say who they are going to support. This is why, I suspect, Sunak is being told Labour’s lead is “soft”, that if he and his party deliver on their key promises a good chunk of their 2019 vote will “come home”. That remains to be seen. A critic would point out that one reason why they came home in 2019 is because the party had a very compelling message -Get Brexit Done- while those who did also had very favourable views of Boris Johnson (who was a statistically significant driver of Labour → Conservative switchers). Drilling into this group, most of whom are Leavers, will, in short, decide whether or not Sunak has a chance. So too is whether he can fix another glaring problem.
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