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Boris Johnson’s poll lead cut sharply following Covid ping fiasco

Boris Johnson’s poll lead cut sharply following Covid ping fiasco
Gap between parties narrows in two new polls conducted after self-isolation backlash

Boris Johnson‘s poll lead has fallen sharply in the wake of last weekend’s fiasco over whether he should be exempt from self-isolation requirements.

A new survey by YouGov released on Saturday saw Mr Johnson’s party fall by a statistically signifiant six points, to 38 per cent of the vote.

Opposition parties also gained ground, with Labour up three points to 34 per cent, and the Lib Dems and Greens both up to nine per cent and eight per cent each.

The results follow another poll by Survation release this week that also showed a narrowing gap between the parties, with the Conservatives on 39 per cent and Labour on 35 per cent.

The prime minister and his chancellor Rishi Sunak caused uproar last weekend when they announced they would not be self-isolating despite coming into contact with Covid.

Downing Street claimed the pair were participating in a pilot programme that would see them exempt. A swift U-turn was performed following a backlash against the claim.

Pollsters say the story has cut through with the public, however – coming as it does with the backdrop of rising case numbers and vast numbers of people being told to self-isolate.

Commenting on the latest YouGov poll, James Johnson, a pollster at the firm JL Partners, said: “A real shift. Going by this week’s focus groups it is the Boris/Rishi self-isolation ping story that’s done it.”

The poll would still see the Conservatives win as the largest party, and possibly a majority depending on how votes were distributed.

But with the Tories solidly above 40 per cent of the vote in most surveys during the pandemic, the suggestion that public opinion could be shifting has piqued interest in Westminster.

Labour’s former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “As Johnson’s poll ratings take an inevitable dip the Tories likely to start planning when to dump him for Sunak.

“Time to remind people how much of our pandemic plans he either refused to or delayed in delivering last year. He’s implicated in every Johnson failure and misjudgment.

The YouGov poll was commissioned for the Times newspaper and fieldwork was conducted between 20 and 21 July. The Survation poll quoted was conducted between 19 and 20 July.