Undecided Voters Unlikely to Save The Conservatives (21-24 June)

June 28, 2024
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | GB Politics | Keir Starmer | Rishi Sunak | UK General Election 2024 | UK Politics | Voting Intention

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With less than one week to go until polling day in the UK General Election, Labour remains a massive, odds-on favourite to secure a historically large majority and return to power after 14 years in opposition.

For the Conservatives, a defeat on the scale the party suffered in 1945 or (potentially) that suffered by the Progressive Conservative Party in Canada in 1993 cannot be ruled out.

For weeks, the Conservative campaign has hoped that currently undecided voters, many of whom backed the Conservatives in 2019, could be persuaded or scared into returning to the party, if only to deny Labour a “supermajority” with which they could turn Britain into a “one party, socialist state.”

But as a recent poll, conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies on behalf of The Daily Mail reveals, the dwindling pool of undecided voters remain just as unlikely to prove the saviours of the Conservative Party as they were two weeks ago.

Overall, our poll, released on Monday, found that 10% of voters are undecided as to how they will vote in the General Election. 

Among these voters, when weighted by likelihood to vote, only 12% say they are leaning closest towards voting for the Conservatives, eight points fewer than the 20% of undecided voters who say they are leaning closest towards voting for Labour, the same number as say they are leaning closest towards voting for the liberal Democrats, and only 1% more than the 11% who say they are leaning closest towards voting for Reform UK.

In fact, almost twice as many undecided voters say they are leaning closest towards not voting than to voting for the Conservatives (23% to 12%).

While all voters give Rishi Sunak a net approval rating of -23%, undecided voters give the Prime Minister an even worse rating of -38%, with just 12% of these voters saying they approve of Sunak’s job performance against 50% who disapprove of his performance.

It should be noted that undecided voters also have a more sour view of Labour leader Keir Starmer than the overall public does.

While the Labour leader holds a net approval rating of +11% with Britons in this poll, among undecided voters that rating falls to -12%. Just 18% of undecided voters approve of Starmer’s job performance, against 30% who disapprove.

Despite their qualms about Starmer, however, undecided voters are more than twice as likely to say the Labour leader would be a better Prime Minister than Rishi Sunak (28% to 13%), although 59% don’t know who would be a better Prime Minister.

The likelihood of undecided voters breaking for the Conservatives at this late stage is further undermined by their sense, along with the electorate as a whole, that they are now worse off than they were in the past. 

Undecided voters are six points more likely than the electorate, as a whole, to say that they feel worse off now than they were a few years ago (47% to 41%) and 15 points less likely than all respondents to say that they feel better off (12% to 27%).

At the heart of the Conservatives’ inability to win over the public, and undecided voters in particular, during this campaign is a fundamental loss of credibility after 14 years in office.

When considering the state of the United Kingdom now, as compared to how it was in 2010, 57% of voters think the UK is now in a worse state than it was in 2010, against only 19% who think it is in a better state.

When responses are limited only to undecided voters, those numbers get even worse for the Conservatives. Just 7% of currently undecided voters say the UK is in a better state now than it was in 2010, while about 6-in-10 (62%) say the UK is in a worse state now than it was then.

When asked explicitly whether they agree or disagree with the statement “The Conservative Party has no credibility anymore,” 63% of all voters and 51% of undecided voters agree. Only 14% of the general public and 6% of undecided voters disagree that the Conservatives have lost their credibility.

In the final week of the election, many print newspapers will offer endorsements of the various political parties in an attempt to guide their readers’ votes on election day. Such endorsements are a staple of British General Election campaigns, although their impact—despite high-profile instances when certain papers claimed credit for the final result—in the past is a matter of some debate.  

However, the decline in influence of the traditional print media means any endorsements on this occasion are likely to have only a minimal impact, especially among undecided voters.

While just over one-third (37%) of all voters say they do not use newspapers or magazines—be it their print or online editions—for news, that figure rises to 55% among undecided voters.

Among undecided voters, the most popular publications for news are The Daily Mail (23%), The Metro (8%), The Daily Express (7%), and The Guardian (7%), suggesting that these publications might have som sway on how these undecided voters eventually cast their ballot.

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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