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 40%, two points more than in our previous poll two weeks ago, and the largest lead ever achieved by any party in our Red Wall polling. Altogether, the results of our poll (with changes from 3-4 October) are as follows:
Labour 61% (–)
Conservative 21% (-2)
Reform UK 8% (+5)
Liberal Democrat 5% (-2)
Green 3% (-1)
Plaid Cymru 1% (–)
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 35%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 13% of the sample says they do not know how they would vote, including 18% of those who voted Conservative in December 2019 and 3% of those who voted Labour.
Altogether, 91% of those who voted Labour in 2019 say they would vote Labour again, while just 40% of those who voted Conservative say they would vote Conservative again.
Prime Minister Liz Truss’s approval rating in the Red Wall registers at -61%, 23 points lower than her rating of -38% in the Red Wall two weeks. 72% of those in the Red Wall say they disapprove of Truss’s performance. Only 11% of respondents approve.
Among 2019 Conservative voters, a large majority (71%) disapprove of Liz Truss’s job performance as Prime Minister. Only 11% approve. Her net approval rating with 2019 Conservative voters stands at -60%, down 39 points since our last Red Wall poll two weeks ago.
34% approve and 28% disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance since he became Leader of the Labour Party, giving him a net approval rating of +6%, six points lower than two weeks ago.
When asked which would be a better Prime Minister between Keir Starmer and Liz Truss, 58% of Red Wall voters choose Keir Starmer (+11), 15% choose Liz Truss (-7), and 27% say they don’t know (-4). Among 2019 Conservative voters, Starmer (49%, +15) leads Truss (22%, -15) by 27 points on who would be the better Prime Minister.
On policy delivery, respondents in the Red Wall are most likely to say they significantly (16%) or fairly (24%) trust the Conservative Party to deliver on the coronavirus pandemic.
By comparison, majorities of respondents say they do not at all trust the Conservatives to deliver on the economy (54%), ‘Levelling Up’ (53%), taxation (52%), and the NHS (51%).
With regard to the Labour Party, respondents are most likely to say they significantly (23%) or fairly (29%) trust Labour to deliver on the NHS. 50% significantly or fairly trust Labour on education and on benefits.
On the flipside, Labour is most likely to be not at all trusted on the economy (34%) and on immigration (31%).
When the two parties are pitted against each other on the issues, Labour are more frequently trusted than the Conservatives on all the policy issues listed. Labour holds leads of more than 30 points over the Conservatives when voters are asked who they trust most to tackle poverty (47% to 13%), to support the NHS (48% to 15%), to manage housing (47% to 14%), to invest in ‘left behind’ areas (45% to 12%), and to ‘level up’ (45% to 13%).
Labour is also more trusted by Red Wall voters to manage the economy (44% to 14%).
On the cost-of-living crisis, 71% of members of the Red Wall public say no, the Government is not taking the right measures to address this crisis. This figure is down two points from the 73% who answered no to the same question two weeks ago.
Finally, 63% of Red Wall voters 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.