According to the latest Opinium poll, a majority of voters continue to support striking nurses and ambulance workers, despite claims the government is putting the public at risk. Observer.
The Labor Party also widened its lead against the Conservatives by 1 percentage point to 16 points, after prime minister Rishi Sunak and other cabinet ministers accused Keir Starmer and his party of being in the pockets of the unions, trying to gain political capital. The survey shows at a time of industrial unrest.
The survey shows net support for nurses on strike at +26%, but that rate has dropped 4 percentage points since December. Nearly 57% of voters support nurses to strike for higher wages, while 31% oppose. Nurses continue to enjoy the highest level of popular support among the different groups of striking workers.
Ambulance workers on strike have the second highest support, with 52% of voters supporting their strike, with 35% opposing it.
In contrast, the proportion of rail workers taking action is lower (38%) than those who oppose it (46%).
The public is more evenly divided for teachers awaiting the results of their ballot papers before any action is taken. About 40% support the action of primary and secondary school teachers, 43% oppose teachers’ strikes in primary schools, and 44% oppose action in secondary schools.
When asked who handled the strikes better, the government or the unions, 34% of people approved of the Royal College of Nursing’s handling of strikes, while 21% did not. In contrast, 48% approve of the government’s performance, while only 14% disapprove.
In the RMT rail union example, 24% of voters approved of his handling of train strikes, while 36% did not. Only 17% approved the government, while 42% did not.
Related: ‘People understand what we’re doing is right’: how nurses won PR battle against NHS strikes
Polls show support for the Labor Party has increased by 1 percentage point to 45% since the last poll three weeks ago, while the Tories remained unchanged at 29%. This shows that the government’s strategy of blaming Labor for strikes is not working, as they are partly financed by the unions.
Liberal Democrats were unchanged at 9%, Reform UK fell 2 percentage points at 6%, and the Greens remained at 5%.
Sunak’s net approval as prime minister dropped from -7 to -14, with 27% approving and 41% disapproving of his performance. About 33% approve and 30% disapprove of Starmer’s performance as Labor leader.