Latest Red Wall Voting Intention (16 March 2024)

March 20, 2024
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | Conservative Party | GB Politics | Keir Starmer | Labour Party | Levelling Up | Red Wall | Rishi Sunak | UK Elections | Voting Intention

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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 24%, unchanged from our previous poll conducted last month and the joint-largest lead for Labour in these seats since late August.

The Conservatives, at 24%, record their lowest vote share since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, only three points above the lowest vote share (21%) they have ever achieved in our Red Wall polling (in mid-October 2022 when Liz Truss was still Prime Minister).

Meanwhile, Reform UK’s vote share of 16% is a record high in our Red Wall polling.

Altogether, the results of our poll (with changes from 25 February in parentheses) are as follows:

Labour 48% (-1)
Conservative 24% (-1)
Reform UK 16% (+2)
Liberal Democrat 5% (-1)
Green 4% (–)
Plaid Cymru 1% (–)
Other 1% (-1)

When those who say they do not know how they would vote in a General Election are included, the Labour Party leads by 21%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 10% of the sample says they do not know how they would vote, including 11% of those who voted Conservative in December 2019 and 3% of those who voted Labour. 

Altogether, 88% of those who voted Labour in 2019 say they would vote Labour again, while only 46% of those who voted Conservative say they would vote Conservative again—the lowest percentage we have recorded since 25 June 2023 (also 46%) and the joint-lowest percentage we have recorded since 17 October 2022 (40%, the final figure under Liz Truss).

21% of 2019 Conservative voters now say they would vote for Reform UK if a General Election were held tomorrow—the highest figure we have recorded in our Red Wall tracker—while a further 18% would vote for Labour.

58% of Red Wall voters cite the economy as among the three most important issues that would determine how they would vote in a General Election, ahead of the NHS (55%). Respondents also select immigration (40%), housing (21%), and education (21%).

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s approval rating in the Red Wall remains unchanged from last month at -25% (–), the joint-lowest net approval rating he has ever recorded in these seats since we started our Red Wall tracker in March 2022. 

25% (–) of those in the Red Wall, including just 39% (-7) of 2019 Conservative voters, say they approve of Sunak’s performance. 50% (–) of respondents, including 38% (+7) of 2019 Conservative voters, disapprove.

33% (-1) approve and 34% (-3) disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance since he became Leader of the Labour Party, giving him a net approval rating of -1%, up two points from last month.  

When asked which would be a better Prime Minister between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, Starmer (41%, +2) leads Sunak (28%, -2) by 13 points, equalling his largest lead over Sunak since the latter became Prime Minister.

On policy delivery, respondents in the Red Wall are most likely to say they significantly (13%) or fairly (24%) trust the Conservative Party to deliver on the coronavirus pandemic. 36% significantly or fairly trust the party to deliver on the economy and national security and defence.

By comparison, majorities of Red Wall voters say they do not at all trust the Conservatives to deliver on immigration (53%), ‘Levelling Up’ (52%), or the NHS (51%).

With regard to the Labour Party, respondents are most likely to say they significantly (20%) or fairly (27%) trust Labour to deliver on the NHS. 46% of Red Wall voters also say they significantly or fairly trust Labour on education, housing, and benefits.

On the flipside, Labour is most likely to be not at all trusted on immigration (38%) and the economy (37%).

When the two parties are pitted against each other on the issues, Labour are more frequently trusted than the Conservatives on every policy issue listed.

Labour holds leads of more than 20 points over the Conservatives when voters are asked who they trust the most to tackle poverty (42% to 15%), to support the NHS (42% to 17%), to represent the interests of the north (38% vs 15%), to address regional inequalities (38% to 15%), to support the education system (40% to 18%), to manage housing (39% to 17%), and to invest in ‘left behind’ areas (37% to 15%).

Labour is also more trusted by Red Wall voters than the Conservatives to handle immigration (34% to 18%) and to manage the economy (36% to 22%).

On the cost-of-living crisis, 68% of members of the Red Wall public say no, the Government is not taking the right measures to address this crisis.

A majority (55%) of Red Wall voters also think there is currently too much immigration into the United Kingdom, against 24% who think there is an appropriate level and only 9% who think there is not enough.

In addition, 28% of voters in the Red Wall support the decision of Red Wall MP Lee Anderson to leave the Conservative Party and join Reform UK. 11% oppose it.

Among those who voted for the Conservative Party in 2019, 39% support Anderson’s decision to join Reform UK against only 8% who oppose it, while a further 32% neither support nor oppose his decision.

25% of all Red Wall voters say Lee Anderson’s decision makes them more likely to vote for Reform UK, and 15% say it makes them less likely to do so.

A quarter (24%) of current, likely Conservative Red Wall voters say Lee Anderson joining Reform UK makes them more likely to vote for Reform UK, against 19% who say it would make them less likely to vote for Reform UK.

At a press conference announcing his decision to join Reform UK, Lee Anderson told journalists, “I want my country back.”

54% of Red Wall voters—including 69% of 2019 Conservative voters in these seats—agree with this sentiment, against 19% who disagree.

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.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

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