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 the Conservatives leading the Labour Party by 1%, the first time the Conservatives have led in these seats since we started our Blue Wall tracker in October.
Altogether, the results of our poll (with changes from our previous poll on 7 May in parentheses) are as follows:
Conservative 34% (+2)
Labour 33% (-3)
Liberal Democrat 22% (-1)
Reform UK 6% (+1)
Green 3% (+1)
Other 2% (+1)
When those who say they do not know how they would vote in a General Election are included, the Conservatives also lead by 1%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 11% of the sample says they do not know how they would vote, including 15% of those who voted Conservative in December 2019, 7% of those who voted Labour, and 3% of those who voted Liberal Democrat.
Altogether, 82% of those who voted Labour in 2019 say they would vote Labour again, while 69% of those who voted Liberal Democrat say they would vote for the party at the next election.
60% of 2019 Conservative voters now say they would vote Conservative again if a General Election were held tomorrow. 13% say they would vote for Labour, 8% would switch to Reform UK, and 2% would support the Liberal Democrats.
45% (-5) 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. 67% (-2) of 2019 Liberal Democrat voters say they could see themselves voting tactically in such a way, compared to 53% (-9) of 2019 Labour and 35% (-5) of 2019 Conservative voters.
When asked which would be a better Prime Minister between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, 42% (+3) of Blue Wall voters choose Rishi Sunak, and 32% (-3) choose Keir Starmer, giving Sunak his largest over Starmer in these seats since 14 November. 25% (-1) say they don’t know.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s approval rating in the Blue Wall registers at +3% (+1). 39% (+2) of those in the Blue Wall, including 52% (-4) of those who voted Conservative in 2019, say they approve of Sunak’s performance. 36% (+1) disapprove.
33% (-3) approve and 31% (-2) disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance since he became Leader of the Labour Party, giving him a net approval rating of +2%, one point down from his last rating in the Blue Wall two weeks ago, and the second-lowest approval rating he has recorded in our Blue Wall tracker.
Blue Wall voters give Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, a net approval rating of 0% (-4). While 22% (-3) approve of Davey’s performance, and 22% (+1) disapprove, a plurality of 39% (-2) 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 (25%) or fairly (27%) trust the Conservative Party to deliver on the coronavirus pandemic. 50% or more also significantly or fairly trust the party to deliver on foreign policy (51%) and the economy (50%).
By comparison, 43% of respondents say they do not at all trust the Conservatives to deliver on either the NHS or immigration.
With regard to the Labour Party, respondents are most likely to say they significantly (19%) or fairly (31%) trust Labour to deliver on benefits. 48% of Blue Wall voters also say they significantly or fairly trust Labour on the NHS.
On the flipside, Labour is most likely to be not at all trusted on immigration (35%) and the economy (35%).
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 (35% to 22%), to respond to the coronavirus crisis (32% to 24%), to manage the economy (32% to 24%), and to manage foreign affairs (32% to 27%).
Labour and the Conservatives are tied on which party is the most trusted to protect the environment (19% each).
Labour are more frequently trusted than the Conservatives on all other issues, holding leads of more than 10 points over the Conservatives when voters are asked who they trust the most to support the NHS (35% to 20%), to invest in ‘left behind’ areas (32% to 18%), to tackle poverty (33% to 20%), and to manage housing (32% to 19%).
Finally, on the cost-of-living crisis, 60% (+3) of members of the Blue Wall public say no, the Government is not taking the right measures to address this crisis. 28% (-3) of respondents say that it is taking the right measures.
Among 2019 Conservative voters, 50% (+1) say the government is not taking the right measures to address the crisis, while 39% (–) 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.