Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ latest voting intention poll finds the Conservative Party’s lead further reduced by half to 6%. From February through the end April and into early May, the Tories had led the Labour Party by around 20%. This significant lead, well above the overall difference in the 2019 Election, was in part due to the considerable confidence among the public in a Conservative Party that had just won a sweeping majority and to the lack of confidence in a Labour Party that had suffered its worst defeat in nearly 100 years.
However, in our last voting intention poll, we noted that 2019 Labour voters were returning to the fold. We suggested this rise in support among past Labour voters corresponded to Keir Starmer’s initial strong impression as the new leader of the Labour Party and of the Opposition. This time, we see a precipitous decline in support for the Conservatives. The full numbers of our voting intention poll from today (with their changes from 15 May in parentheses) are as follows:
Conservatives 43% (-4)
Labour 37% (+2)
Liberal Democrat 9% (–)
Scottish National Party 5% (+1)
Green 3% (–)
Plaid Cymru 0% (–)
Other 3% (+1)
Overall likelihood to vote remained largely unchanged.
It is important to note that the decline in Conservative support primarily shifted to the ‘Don’t Know’ column. That is, a higher proportion of our sample (17% compared to 13% 11 days ago) indicated that they did not know how they would vote in a General Election. While Labour’s share is higher in our final table, which does not include those who select ‘Don’t Know,’ the overall amount of support for Labour remains unchanged from May 15.
Last time, 84% of those who voted Conservative in 2019 (n = 623) said they would vote Conservative again in a General Election. This time, 75% of this group (n = 615) said they would vote Conservative. 5% more of this group meanwhile said they did not know. It should therefore be clear that the reduction in the Conservatives’ lead largely comes from voters choosing to no longer support the Conservatives rather than from voters choosing to support a different party. As such, this support could eventually return back to the Conservatives with better news in the future or without an opposition providing a viable alternative.
This conclusion may be best reflected by what respondents’ chose when asked whom they would prefer to have as Prime Minister during the coronavirus crisis. Here, Boris Johnson still leads considerably over Keir Starmer. However, the extent of Boris Johnson’s support has dropped by 5% in today’s poll, from 49% to 44%, while Starmer has stayed at 27%.
The reasons for this decline in support may, in part, be due to the controversy surrounding Senior Adviser Dominic Cumming’s controversial decision to isolate his family at a cottage on his parents’ farm in Durham. More likely, this decline may be precipitated by a majority belief in the United Kingdom that the country has not handled the coronavirus crisis well. The country has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe, and the highest death toll per capita in the world. The Government’s response to the pandemic has not been well received by the public. More on this to come soon.