- Boris Johnson has become less popular with voters since launching his leadership campaign.
- Revelations about his private life appear to have damaged the image of the frontrunner to replace Theresa May as prime minister.
- YouGov poll found that just 14% of voters believe Johnson is honest and of good moral character.
- Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.
LONDON – Public perceptions of Boris Johnson have worsened in the past two weeks following revelations about his private life, with a clear majority of voters saying he would make a bad prime minister, according to a new poll.
A new poll by YouGov found that Johnson’s rival Jeremy Hunt was now the clear public favourite to replace Theresa May as prime minister, of the two remaining candidates in the Conservative party leadership.
Overall, 41% of voters said they would prefer Hunt as prime minister, compared to just 29% who said Johnson.
By contrast, just 25% of voters believe the former Foreign Secretary would make a good prime minister, with 58% saying he would make a bad prime minister.
The poll gave Johnson a net approval ratings of -33%, compared to just -18% a fortnight ago.
On the other hand, opinions of Hunt are improving.
Overall he has net approval ratings of -14%, compared to -24% a fortnight ago.
The slump in perceptions of Johnson follows revelations about a furious row between him and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds last week, which resulted in police being called to their flat.
It also follows a controversial campaign in which Johnson has been accused of evading media appearances and debates with his rival.
Today’s poll found that just 14% of the public believe he is honest and has a “good moral character.”
Despite the slump in public opinion, Johnson remains the favourite among Conservative supporters. Today’s poll found him preferred by 48% of Tory voters compared to 39% who preferred Hunt.
And while Hunt scored better on honesty and moral character, Johnson was viewed as being best on handling Brexit and being likeable.
Johnson’s campaign has majored on his professed ability to win over voters who have deserted the party in recent months. The YouGov poll cast doubt over that claim.
Asked how they would vote in a range of Brexit scenarios, Johnson performed no better than Hunt, suggesting he is not the quick solution to the party’s electoral problems that his supporters hope.
“If the Conservatives are looking towards Boris Johnson as a magic election winner, the evidence is simply no longer there,” Anthony Wells, YouGov Director of Political and Social Research said.
“A decade ago he had a reputation as the Tory who could reach voters other Tories could not, and significantly outperformed his party in the 2012 mayoral election.
“However our latest polling does not suggest he offers any innate electoral advantage over Jeremy Hunt.”
A source in Hunt’s campaign told Business Insider that they welcomed the findings.
“Jeremy remains the underdog but this shows we’ve got the momentum,” they said.
“He’s clearly the candidate best trusted to beat Corbyn.”