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Boris Johnson's lead over Sir Keir Starmer shrinks to 1%

Boris Johnson's lead over Sir Keir Starmer has shrunk to one point – but he is still nine points ahead of his Labour rival as the public's choice of best Prime Minister, a Mail on Sunday Superpoll finds today.

The Deltapoll survey puts the Conservatives on 38 per cent and Labour on 37 per cent – compared with a lead of five per cent in the pollster's previous poll in July.

The fall comes after the Government has been hit by petrol shortages and empty shelves caused by a lack of HGV drivers, and by rows over surging energy bills and tax hikes to pay to tackle the backlog of NHS appointments and long-term social care.

Boris Johnson's lead over Sir Keir Starmer has shrunk to one point – but he is still nine points ahead of his Labour rival as the public's choice of best Prime Minister, a Mail on Sunday Superpoll finds today

Half back PM's handling of Covid 

A Superpoll for today’s Mail on Sunday finds continuing support for Boris Johnson’s handling of the pandemic, with 47 per cent of voters saying the Government is doing the right thing with Covid.

The Deltapoll also shows strong support for the programme of vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds, with 63 per cent in favour of rolling out the scheme.

And it revealed a firm backing for the Covid booster programme, with 74 per cent saying they would be comfortable having the top-up jab.

Meanwhile, more than six in ten support the use of vaccine passports.

The poll also revealed support for sacking care-home workers who refused to take the jab, with 46 per cent saying they should be fired, and 34 per cent saying they should not. From next month it will be compulsory for all care-home staff to be double vaccinated in England, unless they are exempt.

The superpoll, which used a sample double the usual size, showed 70 per cent are worried about more lockdowns if a new variant is discovered.

The Prime Minister's decision to take a holiday in Marbella last week at the height of the difficulties was also criticised in some quarters.

But he will take heart from the fact that, when asked who makes the best Prime Minister, 42 per cent said Mr Johnson and just 33 per cent Sir Keir. No 10 will be concerned by the fact that the PM's net approval rating in the poll is minus nine – but relieved that Sir Keir is on minus 11.

The survey is the first MoS Superpoll, with a sample of 3,043 people – more than twice the normal size. When asked whether Mr Johnson should have taken a holiday, 38 per cent say he was right to go, while 35 per cent said he should have stayed in Downing Street.

The state of the nation survey found that voters would rather have a drink with the PM than Sir Keir, but think the Labour leader would make a better husband.

They back the Prime Minister's decision to hike National Insurance to help the NHS and social care, agree with bailouts for firms hit by energy price rises, and support Mr Johnson's call for British lorry drivers to receive pay increases.

However, there is a resounding thumbs down for his plan to add green taxes to energy bills at a time when prices are spiking sharply: 51 per cent are opposed to the idea, with only 29 per cent in support.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is the favourite to be the next Tory leader (24 per cent), with his closest rival, Health Secretary Sajid Javid, a distant second on seven per cent.

There was better news for Mr Johnson in another poll published last night, with Opinium putting the Conservatives four points ahead of Labour – 41 per cent to 37 per cent.

When asked about the Royals, voters think the line of succession should skip Prince Charles and pass straight to William, and blame the Duchess of Sussex for her husband Harry's estrangement from his family.