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.
On the day Rishi Sunak becomes Britain’s new Prime Minister, our latest Red Wall poll finds Labour leading the Conservatives by 28%, twelve points less than in our previous poll one week ago. Altogether, the results of our poll (with changes from 16-17 October) are as follows:
Labour 56% (-5)
Conservative 28% (+7)
Liberal Democrat 8% (+3)
Reform UK 5% (-3)
Green 2% (-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 24%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 12% of the sample says they do not know how they would vote, including 16% 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 only 51% of those who voted Conservative say they would vote Conservative again.
Outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss’s final approval rating in the Red Wall registers at -65%, 4 points lower than her rating of -61% in the Red Wall one week ago. 74% of those in the Red Wall say they disapprove of Truss’s performance. Only 9% of respondents approve.
Among 2019 Conservative voters, a large majority (77%) disapprove of Liz Truss’s job performance as Prime Minister. Only 7% approve. Her net approval rating with 2019 Conservative voters stands at -70%, down 10 points since our last Red Wall poll a week ago.
35% approve and 24% disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance since he became Leader of the Labour Party, giving him a net approval rating of +11%, five points higher than two weeks ago.
When asked which would be a better Prime Minister between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, 38% of Red Wall voters choose Keir Starmer, 37% choose Rishi Sunak, and 25% say they don’t know. Among 2019 Conservative voters, Sunak (58%) leads Starmer (24%) by 24 points on who would be the better Prime Minister.
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.
By comparison, respondents are most likely to say they do not at all trust the Conservatives to deliver on taxation (47%), the NHS (46%), ‘Levelling Up’ (45%), and the economy (44%).
With regard to the Labour Party, respondents are most likely to say they significantly (24%) or fairly (30%) trust Labour to deliver on the NHS. Majorities of voters also significantly or fairly trust Labour on education (54%) and on benefits (53%).
On the flipside, Labour is most likely to be not at all trusted on the economy (34%) and on immigration (30%).
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 25 points or more over the Conservatives when voters are asked who they trust most to tackle poverty (46% to 16%), to support the NHS (46% to 20%), and to manage housing (43% to 18%).
Labour is also more trusted by Red Wall voters to manage the economy (40% to 23%).
On the cost-of-living crisis, 70% 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 one point from the 71% who answered no to the same question one week ago.
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.