Almost two in three Brits want a new political party to be set up to take on the Tories and Labour, a new study of trust in politics has found.
The annual Edelman trust barometer poll found that voters have become increasingly pessimistic, distrustful of government and disdainful of politicians on both sides of the house.
Of the 3,000 UK adults asked in the study – which was carried out at the end of January – three-quarters (75 per cent) said they thought the country was heading in the wrong direction – the highest ever figure since the survey started in 2001.
And 61 per cent agreed that the UK “needs a completely new type of political party to compete with the Conservatives and Labour for power”.
Less than a quarter of people (23 per cent) said they felt close to the Tories, down four points on last year. But the results weren’t much better for the Labour Party, with just 29 per cent saying the same of them. This was up six points on 2022 though.
But the Trust Barometer found there was widespread “disdain” amongst the electorate for politicians in general, and trust in government has dropped to 27 per cent, its lowest level since 2016.
The public has a “dire” view of politicians, with 68 per cent of respondents saying they thought politicians were more likely to lie, 77 per cent saying they were making things worse, and 80 per cent saying they were increasing division within the country.
Trust in Rishi Sunak dropped by 10 points compared to last year, to 25 per cent, and just less than one in five people (18 per cent) said they trusted chancellor Jeremy Hunt.
Sir Keir Starmer didn’t fare much better, scoring just 31 per cent, but this still means he is one of the most trusted senior figures in Westminster.
And, yes, the study asked about Brexit as well. More than half of those asked (54 per cent) said they would now vote to remain in the EU if there was another referendum, compared to just 32 per cent who said they would vote Leave.
Edelman’s president and CEO, Ed Williams, said: “If political leaders miss this moment and fail to grasp the opportunity to articulate an inspiring and galvanizing vision … and resort to old answers to stale debates, then the data indicates that British politics is setting itself up for a seismic shock.”
He added: “If high demand for reframing and fresh thinking remains unmet among our existing political establishment, then we shouldn’t be surprised if people look elsewhere for answers, with all the damaging consequences that flow from that.”
The cost of living crisis has taken its toll on the public as well, as for the first time in eight years a majority of people said the expected their standard of living to worse over the coming 12 months.
Even when asked about the next five years, only a quarter said they expected their situation to be better than it is now.
Two-thirds of people thought inequality was increasing, and one in five said they are either considering, planning on, or already are using a food bank.
Meanwhile, 12 per cent said the same about skipping rent or mortgage payments.
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