LONDON, July 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Polls of Conservative party members show Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has a double-digit lead over rival Rishi Sunak in the race to become Britain’s next PM. But new research from System1 looking at the brand strength of the Tory leadership candidates and Sir Keir Starmer suggests Rishi Sunak is the better known, better liked and more distinctive candidate – and best placed to beat Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer in an election.
System1’s Test Your Brand accurately predicts the electoral prospects of politicians, not via voting intention (notoriously inaccurate) but by measuring their Fame, Feeling, Fluency with the public, and turning it into a 1-5 Star Rating (which predicted, Trump’s victory over Clinton in 2016, Boris Johnson to be party leader in 2017 and Biden’s victory over Trump in 2021):
Fame – how easily the politician comes to mind?
Feeling – how people feel about them?
Fluency – how distinctive and recognisable they are?
This is not a prediction of the decision of the 200,000 Conservative party members (0.4% of UK voters) but of who would win a general election if one was called now. The results suggest Tory members should pick Rishi Sunak (4.3 Stars) over Liz Truss (3.6 Stars), although both of them are currently more electable than Keir Starmer (3.3 Stars).
That said, the study shows some major weaknesses for the former chancellor. Sunak’s huge personal wealth and tax-avoidance arrangements come up repeatedly, as did his lack of support for Johnson and perceived “backstabbing” of the outgoing PM.
Rival Liz Truss scores lower than Sunak on Fame, Feeling, Fluency, with only 14% of respondents feeling happiness towards her. There was a degree of negativity around her perceived competence, but equally she doesn’t suffer from the tax and treachery perceptions associated with Sunak. The majority of the public are neutral about her – so if she does win, she may have 2 years before the next election to create a more positive impression.
Regarding Starmer, Labour are currently ahead in the polls, but Test Your Brand shows that isn’t down to its leader. His 3.3 Star score reflects the difficulty opposition leaders have in getting noticed by the public, and he’s criticised by respondents for being “smarmy” and lacking charm. But there are reasons for Labour supporters to be optimistic. While he lags behind on Fame, Starmer beats both Truss and Sunak on Feeling. In the Test Your Brand model, higher than expected Feeling leads to future growth – indicating Starmer is likely to improve his score and his standing with the public, underlining why it’s crucial the Tories pick their strongest candidate against him.
Jon Evans, Chief Customer Officer at System1, comments: “In the last two leadership elections, the candidate the Tory membership backed was also the strongest in the Test Your Brand model. This time they may reject Rishi and turn to Truss. Test Your Brand shows what a massive risk that would be if they want their party to keep winning elections. On the underlying factors which drive electoral success, Rishi Sunak is the safer bet.”
For more information and to learn more about this research please contact Kate Chaundy in the System1 team at Propeller Group on [email protected]
As the world’s leading marketing decision-making platform, System1 helps predict and improve the commercial impact of ads and innovation. Our fast, cost-effective Test Your Ad/Idea platform empowers brands to test creative early and often, compare ads/ideas and access expert guidance to improve long-term brand building. System1 was founded in 2000 by CEO John Kearon and has operations in Europe, North America, Brazil, Singapore, and Australia. For additional information, visit system1group.com or follow us on LinkedIn at @system1.