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 28%, five points more than in our previous poll conducted on 5 February, and the largest lead for Labour in these seats since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister. Altogether, the results of our poll (with changes from 5 February) are as follows:
Labour 55% (+3)
Conservative 27% (-2)
Reform UK 10% (+2)
Liberal Democrat 4% (-1)
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 23%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 13% of the sample says they do not know how they would vote, including 15% of those who voted Conservative in December 2019 and 6% of those who voted Labour.
Altogether, 88% of those who voted Labour in 2019 say they would vote Labour again, while only 52% of those who voted Conservative say they would vote Conservative again.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s approval rating in the Red Wall registers at -17% (+6). 29% (+6) of those in the Red Wall, including 44% (+5) of 2019 Conservative voters, say they approve of Sunak’s performance. 46% (–) of respondents disapprove.
41% (+3) approve and 27% (-1) disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance since he became Leader of the Labour Party, giving him a net approval rating of +14%, four points higher than in our previous poll two weeks ago.
When asked which would be a better Prime Minister between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, Starmer (41%, +1) leads Sunak (34%, +3) by seven points. 25% (-4) say they don’t know.
On policy delivery, respondents in the Red Wall are most likely to say they significantly (19%) or fairly (29%) trust the Conservative Party to deliver on the coronavirus pandemic. 41% also significantly or fairly trust the party to deliver on national security and defence.
By comparison, majorities of respondents say they do not at all trust the Conservatives to deliver on the NHS (52%) and ‘Levelling Up’ (52%).
With regard to the Labour Party, respondents are most likely to say they significantly (21%) or fairly (31%) trust Labour to deliver on benefits. 51% of Red Wall voters also say the significantly or fairly trust Labour on the NHS.
On the flipside, Labour is most likely to be not at all trusted on immigration (37%) and the economy (36%).
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 except to respond to the crisis in Ukraine (on which the Conservatives lead 31% to 30%).
Labour holds leads of 25 points or more over the Conservatives when voters are asked who they trust most to support the NHS (45% to 17%), to tackle poverty (45% to 17%), to invest in ‘left behind’ areas (41% to 16%), and to ‘level up’ the area in which they live (41% to 16%).
Labour is also more trusted by Red Wall voters to manage the economy (37% to 26%).
On the cost-of-living crisis, 67% of members of the Red Wall public say no, the Government is not taking the right measures to address this crisis, down three points from the 70% who answered no to the same question in our previous Red Wall poll.
Finally, 61% 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.