A key question in the next General Election in the United Kingdom will be whether the Conservative Party can retain its seats in the so-called ‘Blue Wall’ of affluent, southern constituencies where the party has traditionally won, but where its support has been slipping in recent years—particularly in response to the party’s positioning on Brexit.1 At Redfield and Wilton Strategies, we have taken up the challenge of regularly polling this cluster of politically salient constituencies.
In the forty-two ‘Blue Wall’ seats that we identify and poll, the Conservatives won all in 2019 with 49.74% of the vote to the Liberal Democrats 27.45%. The Labour Party came third in this collection of seats, taking 20.6% of the vote.
Our latest poll of the Blue Wall finds Labour leading the Conservatives by 11%, two points less than in our previous poll three weeks ago. Altogether, the results of our poll (with changes from 7-8 October in parentheses) are as follows:
Labour 44% (+3)
Conservative 33% (+5)
Liberal Democrat 16% (-8)
Reform UK 4% (+1)
Green 2% (-2)
Other 1% (–)
When those who say they do not know how they would vote in a General Election are included, the Labour Party leads by 9%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 15% of the sample says they do not know how they would vote, including 17% of those who voted Liberal Democrat in December 2019, 11% of those who voted Conservative, and 5% of those who voted Labour.
Altogether, 86% of those who voted Labour in 2019 say they would vote Labour again, while just 48% of those who voted Liberal Democrat say they would vote for the party at the next election.
57% of 2019 Conservative voters say they would vote Conservative again if a General Election were held tomorrow. 24% say they would vote for Labour, 5% would switch to Reform UK, and 2% would support the Liberal Democrats.
48% (+1) of Blue Wall voters say they could see themselves voting tactically for a party other than their first choice in order to ensure a party they dislike does not win in their constituency. 62% (+2) of 2019 Labour voters say they could see themselves voting tactically in such a way, compared to 60% (-5) of 2019 Liberal Democrat and 45% (+4) of 2019 Conservative voters.
When asked which would be a better Prime Minister at this moment between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, 45% of Blue Wall voters choose Rishi Sunak, and 31% choose Keir Starmer. 25% say they don’t know.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s approval rating in the Blue Wall registers at +22%. 35% of those in the Blue Wall, including 47% of those who voted Conservative in 2019, say they approve of Sunak’s performance. 13% of respondents disapprove.
38% (+6) approve and 22% (-4) disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance since he became Leader of the Labour Party, giving him a net approval rating of +16%, ten points higher than in our last poll of the Blue Wall.
Blue Wall voters give Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, a net approval rating of +4% (–). While 21% (+2) approve of Davey’s performance, and 17% (+2) disapprove, a plurality of 42% (-3) neither approve nor disapprove of his performance as party leader.
On matters of policy, Blue Wall voters give the government positive approval ratings for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic (+24%) and defence (+5).
On all other issues, Blue Wall voters give the government negative net approval ratings, including on the economy (-39%), the NHS (-39%), immigration (-37%), and housing (-29%).
When the parties are pitted against each other on the issues, the Conservatives are only more trusted than Labour on three issues: to respond to the coronavirus (34% to 24%), to respond to the crisis in Ukraine (32% to 21%), and to manage foreign affairs (29% to 28%). An equal number of respondents most trust Labour and the Conservatives to manage the economy (31% each).
On all other issues listed, Labour are more frequently trusted than the Conservatives. Labour holds leads of more than 15 points over the Conservatives when voters are asked who they trust most to support the NHS (37% to 21%) and to tackle poverty (36% to 20%).
Finally, on the cost-of-living crisis, 61% (-7) of members of the Blue Wall public say no, the Government is not taking the right measures to address this crisis, compared to just 19% (+1) who say that it is.
Among 2019 Conservative voters, 56% (-6) say the government is not taking the right measures to address the crisis, while 28% (+2) say it is.
1 Various criteria have been used by different media, academic, and other sources to decide which constituencies constitute the ‘Blue Wall.’ For the purposes of our tracker polling, we have limited ourselves to studying constituencies which meet five criteria: 1) The constituency is in the South of England 2) The constituency elected a Conservative MP at the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections 3) At least 25% of adults in the constituency have a degree 4) The Remain vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum in the constituency was greater than 42.5% 5) The Conservatives hold the constituency on a majority of less than 10,000 over Labour OR less than 15,000 over the Liberal Democrats.
A full list of the constituencies polled can be found in the data tables.