Britain’s ‘hold-your-nose’ election

LONDON — Luckily for Boris Johnson, the other guy looks even worse.

Despite consistently leading the polls, Conservative candidates and campaigners have found little love for the Tory leader while knocking on doors in some key battlegrounds ahead of the U.K.’s December election.

It would be an “understatement” to suggest Johnson is not going down well on the doorstep, one Tory candidate in a London seat said. “I think a lot of people are questioning whether they can trust him, there is also an element of, ‘Has he always told us the truth?’ There are some people who think his private life is something we should look at.”

But two weeks from polling day, even some Labour candidates privately believe the prime minister could win his long-desired majority. Johnson won’t be nudged over the line by a wave of mega fans, however, even according to some of his own party, but rather by voters who held their noses, judging Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn even less palatable.

The latest Ipsos Mori political monitor from November found 44 percent of voters “like” Boris Johnson, compared with 23 percent who “like” Corbyn. Corbyn’s likability ratings were the worst Ipsos MORI has seen for a leader of either of the two main parties since 2007.

The first-past-the-post system “forces people into making choices that they don’t like,” according to Chris Hanretty, a consultant at polling company Survation.

The divisive personalities of the current leaders of Britain’s main parties have brought to the surface long-running concerns about the U.K.’s electoral system, with some questioning whether it is time to rethink how democracy works in the country.

 »