Boris Johnson has taken a two point lead over Labour as he ramped up the party’s General Election preparation.
Both Labour and the Conservatives jumped in the polls with 28 per cent and 30 per cent of the vote, stealing a march over the Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats.
In what now looks like a two horse race, Nigel Farage’s party slipped seven points to 15 per cent, one point behind the Liberal Democrats on 16 per cent.
General Election preparation
Johnson travelled to Manchester today, promising to deliver Brexit, support Britain’s towns, provide better housing and improve local schools.
The speech was eerily reminiscent to commitments made by Theresa May two years ago as she launched her party’s election campaign just a few miles up the road in Bolton.
Emboldened by a poll lead, May called an election with the aim of winning a majority that included traditionally Labour-supporting areas that had voted heavily for Brexit.
And Johnson will feel similarly buoyed following today’s Opinium results.
Impressions of Boris Johnson
As the new Prime Minister enters Downing Street, Opinium’s latest poll shows that Boris Johnson is leading over Jeremy Corbyn on who would make the best prime minister by 21 points (Johnson at 38 per cent vs Corbyn at 17 per cent).
The last time his predecessor had this big a lead over Corbyn on this metric was before the 2017 election.
In line with the above, Johnson is generally perceived to have stronger leadership characteristics than Corbyn; the only lead Corbyn holds over Johnson is in being seen to be more in touch with ordinary people (30 per cent vs 28 per cent respectively).
Johnson is mostly seen as: likable (41 per cent), decisive (38 per cent), and someone who is able to stand up for Britain’s interest abroad (41 per cent) and has the nation’s best interests at heart (38 per cent).
Unsurprisingly, Johnson is perceived to be a divisive figure with half of the public thinking he will divide the country opposed to 31 per cent who think he will unite the UK.
But where he has failed to unite the country, he seems to have succeeded in uniting the right.
The latest poll shows a 12 point swing coming from Leave voters from the Brexit Party coming back to the Tories.
More than half of the country (53 per cent) believe with Johnson now as Prime Minister the UK is more likely to leave the EU by 31st October.
And in the event of Johnson being unable to negotiate significant changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, and the Commons voting to force the government to ask for a further extension to the Brexit deadline, 57 per cent of the public think Johnson should call an election.
It’s feeling very “early-2017”
Adam Drummond, head of political polling at Opinium comments: “It’s all feeling very “early-2017” with our first poll of Boris Johnson’s premiership showing that the Tories’ plan to unite the Leave vote against divided opposition is working.
“Among Leave voters, the Tories are up by 12 points while the Brexit Party are down by exactly the same amount. In our two-way “who would be the best prime minister” question, Boris Johnson has a bigger lead over Jeremy Corbyn than Theresa May managed since before the last general election.
“The Conservative share of the vote is also the highest since before Britain’s departure from the EU was delayed back in March.
“In 2017 the Tory strategy failed in part because of a poor campaign by Theresa May but also because non-Tories united behind Labour to prevent a Tory landslide.
“This time both party leaders are much more well known than their equivalents were in 2017 so the chances of a late surge are more remote.
“Labour also have to contend with the fact that, unlike 2017, opposing Brexit has revived the Liberal Democrats meaning their efforts to appeal to both Leavers and Remainers will become more complicated.”