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 15%, two points less than in our previous poll two weeks ago. Altogether, the results of our poll (with changes from 4 September) are as follows:
Labour 49% (+1)
Conservative 34% (+3)
Reform UK 7% (–)
Liberal Democrat 5% (-2)
Green 4% (-1)
Other 1% (–)
Plaid Cymru 0% (-1)
When those who say they do not know how they would vote in a General Election are included, the Labour Party leads by 13%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 12% of the sample says they do not know how they would vote, including 15% of those who voted Conservative in December 2019 and 4% of those who voted Labour.
Altogether, 88% of those who voted Labour in 2019 say they would vote Labour again, while just 64% of those who voted Conservative say they would vote Conservative again.
Prime Minister Liz Truss’s first approval rating in the Red Wall registers at +9%. 29% of those in the Red Wall, including 47% of those who voted Conservative in 2019, say they approve of Truss’s performance. 20% disapprove. A plurality of 41% of Red Wall voters neither approve nor disapprove of Truss’s performance since becoming PM.
32% approve and 30% disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance since he became Leader of the Labour Party, giving him a net approval rating of +2%, seven points higher than two weeks ago.
When asked which would be a better Prime Minister between Keir Starmer and Liz Truss, 40% of Red Wall voters choose Liz Truss, 33% choose Keir Starmer, and 27% say they don’t know which would be a better Prime Minister.
On policy delivery, respondents in the Red Wall are most likely to say they significantly (21%) or fairly (25%) trust the Conservative Party to deliver on the coronavirus pandemic. Similar numbers also say they significantly (15%) or fairly (27%) trust the Conservatives on national security and defence.
By comparison, 47% say they do not trust at all the Conservatives to deliver on ‘Levelling Up,’ and 45% say they do not at all trust the Conservatives to deliver on immigration.
With regard to the Labour Party, respondents are most likely to say they significantly (20%) or fairly (31%) trust Labour to deliver on the NHS. Another 48% significantly or fairly trust Labour on education.
On the flipside, Labour is most likely to be not at all trusted on the economy (35%) and on immigration (34%).
When the two parties are pitted against each other on the issues, the Conservatives are more frequently trusted than Labour to respond to the crisis in Ukraine (32% to 28%), manage foreign affairs (30% to 27%), and to respond to the coronavirus crisis (30% to 29%).
Labour leads the Conservatives on all other policy issues listed, including to tackle poverty (41% to 19%), support the NHS (40% to 23%), and invest in ‘left behind’ areas (39% to 18%). Labour is also more trusted by Red Wall voters to manage the economy (35% to 28%).
On the cost-of-living crisis, the foremost political issue at this moment, 64% of members of the Red Wall public say no, the Government is not taking the right measures to address this crisis. This figure is an improvement of 14 points from the 78% who answered no to the same question two weeks ago.
Finally, 59% 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.