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Voters like both Sunak and Starmer’s policies

Voters have backed key policies proposed by both Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak but the overwhelming view suggests the public believes it is time for a change of government, an exclusive opinion poll for i shows.

Labour’s six “first steps” for government, announced a week before the Prime Minister called the 4 July snap election, all received strong backing from voters, according to the BMG Research survey for i.

There was strong support for strictly limiting public spending to keep taxes, inflation and mortgages low (57 per cent versus 13 per cent opposed), 40,000 extra NHS appointments (77-5), a new Border Security Command (69-8), creating Great British Energy (60-9), cracking down on antisocial behaviour (78-5) and hiring 6,500 teachers (66-9).

Sunak also received a boost as his “triple lock plus” plan to ensure the state pension is never taxed was backed by 68 per cent of voters versus 10 per cent who oppose it.

Voters’ feelings on his plan for national service for all 18 year olds to volunteer monthly in local communities or take a full-time non-combat role in the armed forces was mixed (40 per cent support, 36 per cent oppose).

But viewed through the lens of the Conservatives fighting a defensive campaign strategy to save as many seats as possible, the policy improves as key voter groups such as over-65s (53 per cent support) and current and ex-2019 Tory voters (69 per cent and 49 per cent respectively) back it.

Labour’s plan to lower the voting age to 16 was meanwhile opposed by more voters (49 per cent) than support it (28 per cent).

Despite backing for Labour’s first steps announcement, voters were not much clearer than a month ago on the party’s stance in key policy areas, such as the economy, NHS, and cost of living, among others.

The exception is immigration, after Labour added more detail to its plan to tackle the small boats crisis, with a 5 per cent increase in clarity.

Robert Struthers, head of polling at BMG, said: “Looking at the range of policies announced just prior to or in the first week of the campaign, Labour’s policies have a broader appeal overall. Of the 13 policies we tested, five of the top six are part of Labour’s first steps for government. Particularly popular are Labour’s policies on antisocial behaviour, NHS appointments, and a border security command.

“Meanwhile, the Conservative policies tend to be less popular, although their policy of raising the tax-free allowance on pensions scores relatively strongly.

“Interestingly, despite having more popular policies, the public generally doesn’t feel any clearer about Labour’s plans on nearly all key areas compared to when we last polled this question a few months ago; immigration being the exception.

“This suggests Starmer may have some work to do to communicate his agenda as the campaign develops, but as it stands, lack of clarity is not proving a hindrance to their election chances.

“The Conservatives’ national service policy, which has garnered many headlines in the first week of the campaign, is less popular at face value, with support and opposition nearly equal. However, the policy has a more targeted and strategically useful appeal than the headline support numbers suggest.

Despite backing for both the parties’ major policy announcements, the overwhelming mood of voters appeared to favour Labour, with the party retaining a 16-point lead over the Tories.

A majority of voters said “change” and a “new approach” was more important (56 per cent) over “stability” and “sticking to the plan” (27 per cent) when it comes to voting at the election, suggesting Labour’s overall message is getting more support than the Tories’.

Ex-2019 Tory voters are even more likely to believe it is time for change (68 per cent) compared to sticking to the plan (18 per cent).

BMG Research interviewed a representative sample of 1,500 GB adults online between 28 and 29 May. BMG are members of the British Polling Council and abide by their rules

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