Labour is on course to win a majority at the next general election, according to a survey that gives Keir Starmer’s party a huge 26-point poll lead.
A People Polling survey for GB News has the opposition on 45 per cent, with the Conservatives on just 19 per cent and the Lib Dems on 8 per cent.
It is a fresh blow to the prime minister, who is attempting to turn around his party’s electoral fortunes following a summer of chaos in the Conservative Party which saw his two immediate predecessors ousted from office
Mr Sunak steadied the ship after taking over from Liz Truss, who resigned in the aftermath of her disastrous mini-Budget, but his party’s recovery now “appears to be going backwards”, one expert said of the poll.
Multiple polls over the past few months, including a Savanta ComRes survey for The Independent, give Labour a large advantage over governing party, but the size of the lead in the People Polling survey may set off alarm bells in No 10.
Concerning Mr Sunak and his aides will be the rise of the Reform Party, founded with support from Brexiteer Nigel Farage and led by Richard Tice, the businessman and former Member of the European Parliament.
Reform, a populist outfit that runs on a platform of low taxes, appears to be eating into the Conservative Party’s share of the vote on the right. The People Polling survey puts the party level pegging with the Lib Dems on 8 per cent.
Matt Goodwin, professor of politics at the University of Kent, said Mr Starmer goes in 2023 in “prime position, with more than enough support for a majority”.
He added that, whatever Mr Sunak does next, “he’d better do it quick” as the clock is running down, with the next general election coming in January 2025 at the latest but more likely to be called in 2024.
After entering No 10 in October, Mr Sunak and his chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, made fixing the economy their number one priority after the mini-Budget caused chaos in the financial markets.
Mr Hunt raised taxes and scrapped almost every giveaway set out by his predecessor, Kwasi Kwarteng, as he sought to repair the public finances.
The PM has not yet set out a vision for what he wants to do in office beyond steadying the economy, alleviating the cost of living crisis and tackling the small boats crisis.
Mr Sunak’s critics, concerned by Labour’s lead, have described his approach to governing so far as cautious and are calling for him to make a better offer to the British public, who face the highest tax burden in decades amid higher prices.
Some reports suggest Mr Sunak wil begin setting out his programme for government in the new year, although it remains unclear what that could look like.
Analysts believe the next general election will be decided on the cost of living crisis and the government’s handling of the economy, which is on the brink of recession.
Just four per cent of people spoken to by Polling People were “completely” or “fairly” confident the government could cut the cost of living in 2023.
Seven out of 10, meanwhile, were not confident at all, including 53 per cent of Conservative voters, rising to 90 per cent among Labour supporters.
Only two per cent of Tory voters were completely confident the government can reduce the cost of living next year, according to the poll.
When asked whether the coming 12 months will be better or worse than 2022 for their family’s financial situation, 60 per cent of those questioned believed 2023 would be worse.
Mr Goodwin said the polling suggested that the Conservatives have “lost ownership of the economy”.
Voters are “clearly pessimistic about their future prospects too, with most of them expecting their financial situation to worsen over the year ahead,” he added
In his new year message, Mr Sunak warned the problems facing the country will not “go away” in 2023 but vowed to showcase the “very best of Britain” in the coming months by continuing to support Ukraine.
In his new year message, Mr Starmer called for a “completely new way of doing politics”.