The Cabinet League table for last month found a record total of six ministers with negative ratings. This month hits a new low, with a Nazgul-like total of nine in the red.
Oliver Dowden, Greg Hands, and Rishi Sunak himself join Michael Gove, Andrew Mitchell, Grant Shapps, Jeremy Hunt, Robert Jenrick, and Therese Coffey.
The only solace I can offer for all of these, and for the paltry totals of most of those with positive ratings, is that Boris Johnson and Theresa May fared even worse in their time.
The score of the first fell to -33.8 and that of the second to -51.2. By comparison, the Prime Minister’s score of -2.7, equal to a previous low, is the sunlit highlands.
Do whatever you want, but my opinion is that the dominant emotion of the panel is less anger than a deep sense of frustration and apprehension. (Many of its members will also feel the financial pressure.)
The anger has tended to focus on a few people, at least as far as the panel is concerned. Instead, exasperation seeps in to engulf nearly the entire Cabinet.
Hence the low scores throughout, with only James Cleverly and the inevitable Ben Wallace, again on top, scoring 50+ points.
You can cite particular reasons. Boris Johnson for Dowden, Net Zero for Shapps, foreign aid for Mitchell, housing and borders for Jenrick, the London bid debacle for Hands, sewage for Coffey, the economy for Hunt.
These are all fair or unfair depending on your point of view, but I feel like there is a widespread concern about drift. It does not seem to me that the disappointment of the members is mainly due to the five promises and whether or not they will be fulfilled.
Rather, I suspect it is due to the absence of a story about that Sunak believes that the main challenges for Britain are and as intends to exceed them: the context in which the promises are set.
Prime ministers with lasting impact, like Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, had a mission that friend and foe alike understand, even if they don’t like it.
This autumn’s Conservative conference presents Sunak with what may well be his last chance to tell his story, and set out how he wants Britain to improve before and after the next election.