One of the critical questions for the next General Election in the United Kingdom will be whether the Conservative Party can hold onto the mostly northern, traditionally Labour voting constituencies that they won in 2019—often described, if somewhat inaccurately, as ‘the Red Wall.’1 Accordingly, we at Redfield and Wilton Strategies have taken up the challenge of regularly polling this cluster of politically salient constituencies.
In the forty ‘Red Wall’ seats that we poll, the Conservatives won all in 2019 but Hartlepool (which was won in a subsequent parliamentary by election) with 46.7% of the vote to Labour’s 37.9%. Reform UK, previously known as the Brexit Party, came third in these seats with 6.5% of the vote.
Our latest Red Wall poll finds Labour leading the Conservatives by 10%. Altogether, the results of our poll (with changes from the 2019 General Election) are as follows:
Labour 46% (+8)
Conservative 36% (-11)
Reform UK 6% (-1)
Liberal Democrat 5% (+1)
Green 4% (+3)
Plaid Cymru 2% (+1)
Other 2% (–)
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, 11% of the sample says they do not know how they would vote, including 12% of those who voted Conservative in December 2019 and just 2% of those who voted Labour.
Altogether, 90% of those who voted Labour in 2019 say they would vote Labour again, while 64% of those who voted Conservative say they would vote Conservative again.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s approval rating in the Red Wall registers at -18%. 50% of those in the Red Wall, including 29% of those who voted Conservative in 2019, say they disapprove of Johnson’s performance. 32% approve.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s approval rating stands at -7%. As with Johnson, 32% approve of his performance. 39%, meanwhile, disapprove.
33% disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance since he became Leader of the Labour Party. 30% approve, giving him a net approval rating of -3%. A sizeable 31% say they neither approve nor disapprove of Starmer’s job performance.
Between Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson, the Red Wall public is evenly split at 37% each as to who would be the better Prime Minister for the United Kingdom at this moment. 25% say they don’t know.
Beyond the leadership of the two main parties is the question of each party’s trustworthiness on the issues that matter to voters.
Respondents in the Red Wall are most likely to say they significantly (20%) or fairly (30%) trust the Conservative Party to deliver on the coronavirus pandemic. 34% say they do not at all trust the Conservatives on this issue.
By comparison, 48% say they do not at all trust the Conservatives to deliver on taxation, and 50% say they do not at all trust the Conservatives to deliver on levelling up.
With regard to the Labour Party, respondents are most likely to say they significantly (23%) or fairly (27%) trust Labour to deliver on the NHS. Another 47% significantly or fairly trust Labour on benefits.
On the flipside, Labour is most likely to be not at all trusted on the economy (39%) and on immigration (also 39%).
On the cost-of-living crisis, the foremost political issue at this moment, 66% of members of the Red Wall public say no, the Government is not taking the right measures to address this crisis.
Similarly, 60% say no, they do not feel like the Government has been making a clear effort to ‘level up’ the area in which they live.
1 Prior to the 2019 General Election, the term ‘Red Wall’ originally pertained to a broader set of adjacent Labour-voting constituencies whose profile made them susceptible to being won by the Conservatives’ pro-Brexit platform. However, many of these constituencies were not ultimately won by the Conservative Party in 2019. Since then, the term ‘Red Wall’ has, in the media and elsewhere, interchangeably referred to both its original, broader definition and the traditionally Labour constituencies that the Conservatives won. For the purpose of this tracker polling, we refer to the post-2019 GE definition.
A full list of the constituencies polled can be found in the data tables.