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It is a strange world when people believe what they read on social media more than the Prime Minister, but that is what is suggested in a new poll by Savanta/ComRes for the Independent.
According to the survey of more than 2,000 people, 59 per cent of Britons see Boris Johnson as a distrusted source of advice during the pandemic, making him more distrusted than social media platforms (45 per cent). By contrast, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was distrusted by 40 per cent of the public, while Professor Chris Whitty comes off best with 25 per cent not trusting him and 56 per cent trusting him.
The damage done to the PM’s credibility on coronavirus – as seen in the brutal news coverage over the past several weeks – is laid bare in the survey. Three in ten Britons say they are less likely to follow Downing Street’s Omicron measures now than before Number 10 Christmas party stories, and just 46 per cent of those surveyed support a ban on indoor mixing.
It has – in that dread phrase – “cut through”. As Chris Hope of the Telegraph pointed out, the PM is in trouble when those attending the World Darts Championship in London’s Alexandra Palace decide to take aim.
This is precisely the kind of audience – down to earth, not the usual suspects – that Boris was supposed to connect with. Or perhaps he used to and no longer does.