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%, six points less than in our previous Blue Wall poll taken two weeks ago. This is the joint-narrowest Labour lead that we’ve recorded—and the first time the Conservatives have scored 35%—since we started our Blue Wall tracker in October. Altogether, the results of our poll (with changes from 26 March in parentheses) are as follows:
Labour 37% (-2)
Conservative 35% (+4)
Liberal Democrat 20% (-1)
Green 5% (+1)
Reform UK 4% (–)
Other 0% (–)
When those who say they do not know how they would vote in a General Election are included, the Labour Party also leads by 2%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 13% of the sample says they do not know how they would vote, including 10% of those who voted Conservative in December 2019, 15% of those who voted Liberal Democrat, and just 1% of those who voted Labour.
Altogether, 91% of those who voted Labour in 2019 say they would vote Labour again, while 61% of those who voted Liberal Democrat say they would vote for the party at the next election.
63% of 2019 Conservative voters—the highest percentage we’ve recorded since starting our Blue Wall tracker—now say they would vote Conservative again if a General Election were held tomorrow. 16% say they would vote for Labour, 5% would switch to Reform UK, and 3% would support the Liberal Democrats. Another 3% would vote for the Green Party.
46% (-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. 60% (+1) of 2019 Liberal Democrat voters say they could see themselves voting tactically in such a way, compared to 56% (-2) of 2019 Labour and 41% (–) of 2019 Conservative voters.
When asked which would be a better Prime Minister between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, 38% (+1) of Blue Wall voters choose Rishi Sunak, and 37% (–) choose Keir Starmer. 25% (-1) say they don’t know.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s approval rating in the Blue Wall registers at +2% (+5), the first time he has recorded a net positive approval rating in these seats since late November. 36% (+4) of those in the Blue Wall, including 56% (+8) of those who voted Conservative in 2019, say they approve of Sunak’s performance. 34% (-1) disapprove.
34% (–) approve and 26% (–) disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance since he became Leader of the Labour Party, giving him a net approval rating of +8%, unchanged from his last rating in the Blue Wall two weeks ago.
Blue Wall voters give Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, a net approval rating of +1% (-3). While 20% (–) approve of Davey’s performance, and 19% (+3) disapprove, a plurality of 45% (–) 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 (21%) or fairly (27%) trust the Conservative Party to deliver on the coronavirus pandemic. 45% also significantly or fairly trust the party to deliver on national security and defence.
By comparison, 48% of respondents say they do not at all trust the Conservatives to deliver on the NHS.
With regard to the Labour Party, respondents are most likely to say they significantly (22%) or fairly (31%) trust Labour to deliver on the NHS. 48% of Blue Wall voters also say they significantly or fairly trust Labour on education.
On the flipside, Labour is most likely to be not at all trusted on the economy (32%) and immigration (31%).
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 (33% to 22%), to respond to the coronavirus crisis (32% to 24%), to manage the economy (29% to 28%), and to manage foreign affairs (28% to 27%).
Labour holds leads of 15 points or more over the Conservatives when voters are asked who they trust most to support the NHS (39% to 18%), to tackle poverty (36% to 19%), and to manage housing (35% to 20%). Labour also lead the Conservatives as the most trusted party to handle immigration (27% to 26%).
Finally, on the cost-of-living crisis, 59% (-7) of members of the Blue Wall public say no, the Government is not taking the right measures to address this crisis, the lowest number of respondents to answer ‘no’ since 11 January. 27% (+8) of respondents say that it is taking the right measures.
Among 2019 Conservative voters, 50% (-7) say the government is not taking the right measures to address the crisis, while 40% (+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.