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 2%, seven points less than in our previous Blue Wall poll taken two weeks ago, and the smallest Labour lead we’ve recorded since we started our Blue Wall tracker in October. Altogether, the results of our poll (with changes from 26 February in parentheses) are as follows:
Labour 36% (-5)
Conservative 34% (+2)
Liberal Democrat 23% (+5)
Reform UK 4% (–)
Green 3% (-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 2%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 17% of the sample says they do not know how they would vote, including 17% of those who voted Conservative in December 2019, 6% of those who voted Labour, and 16% of those who voted Liberal Democrat.
Altogether, 86% of those who voted Labour in 2019 say they would vote Labour again, while 66% of those who voted Liberal Democrat say they would vote for the party at the next election.
59% of 2019 Conservative voters say they would vote Conservative again if a General Election were held tomorrow. 14% say they would vote for Labour, 6% would switch to Reform UK, and 3% would support the Liberal Democrats.
When asked which would be a better Prime Minister between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, 38% (–) of Blue Wall voters choose Rishi Sunak, and 35% (-3) choose Keir Starmer. 27% (+3) say they don’t know.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s approval rating in the Blue Wall registers at -2% (+8). 34% (+4) of those in the Blue Wall, including 50% (+8) of those who voted Conservative in 2019, say they approve of Sunak’s performance. 36% (-4) disapprove.
30% (-6) approve and 31% (+1) disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance since he became Leader of the Labour Party, giving him a net approval rating of -1%, seven points lower than his last rating in the Blue Wall and the first time he has recorded a negative approval rating in these seats.
Blue Wall voters give Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, a net approval rating of -3% (+1). While 17% (-1) approve of Davey’s performance, and 20% (-2) disapprove, a plurality of 44% (+1) neither approve nor disapprove of his performance as party leader.
On policy delivery, respondents in the Blue Wall are most likely to say they significantly (16%) or fairly (28%) trust the Conservative Party to deliver on the coronavirus pandemic. 42% also significantly or fairly trust the party to deliver on national security and defence.
By comparison, 45% or more of respondents say they do not at all trust the Conservatives to deliver on the NHS (50%) and immigration (46%).
With regard to the Labour Party, respondents are most likely to say they significantly (17%) or fairly (27%) trust Labour to deliver on the NHS. 43% of Blue Wall voters also say they significantly or fairly trust Labour on education and benefits.
On the flipside, Labour is most likely to be not at all trusted on the economy (37%) and immigration (37%).
When the parties are pitted against each other on the issues, the Conservatives are more trusted than Labour to respond to the crisis in Ukraine (34% to 23%), to manage foreign affairs (32% to 23%), to respond to the coronavirus crisis (30% to 24%), and to tackle crime (28% to 25%).
The Conservatives have also regained their lead as the party most trusted to manage the economy (30% to 27%).
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 19%), and to tackle poverty (37% to 19%). Labour also lead the Conservatives as the most trusted party to handle immigration (27% to 22%).
Finally, on the cost-of-living crisis, 62% (-6) of members of the Blue Wall public say no, the Government is not taking the right measures to address this crisis. 22% (+3) of respondents say that it is taking the right measures.
Among 2019 Conservative voters, 50% (-9) say the government is not taking the right measures to address the crisis, while 35% (+10) 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.