West Midlands Mayoral Election Voting Intention (10-14 April 2024)

April 16, 2024
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | Elections | Keir Starmer | Local Elections | Rishi Sunak | UK Elections | Voting Intention

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The West Midlands Mayoral Election is now less than three weeks away. Incumbent Mayor Andy Street is running as the Conservative candidate, seeking a third term as Mayor, while his main challenger is Labour’s Richard Parker.

Street was first elected in 2017, winning the Mayoralty by less than 4,000 votes out of more than half a million cast. Four years later, Street’s re-election was more comfortable, as he beat the former Labour cabinet Minister Liam Byrne by 8% and almost 50,000 votes.

This week, however, our West Midlands Mayoral Voting Intention poll suggests that Street is on course to lose his reelection bid, as we find him trailing Richard Parker by 14%

Altogether, the results of our poll are as follows:

Richard Parker (Labour) 42% 
Andy Street (Conservative) 28% 
Elaine Williams (Reform UK) 13%
Siobhan Harper-Nunes (Green) 7%
Sunny Virk (Liberal Democrat) 7% 
Another candidate 2%

When those who say they do not know how they would vote in the upcoming Mayoral Election are included, Parker leads Street by 12%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 14% of the sample says they do not know how they would vote, including 9% of those who voted for Street in 2021 in the first round and just 1% of those who voted for Liam Byrne.

Altogether, Street retains the support of 60% of those who gave him their first preference vote in the 2021 election, when the election was run under a supplementary vote system. 11% of his 2021 supporters would now vote for Parker, while another 11% would vote for Elaine Williams of Reform UK.

Richard Parker, meanwhile, retains the support of 85% of those who voted for Liam Byrne as their first preference in 2021, with 12% of Byrne’s voters at that election now saying they would vote for either Siobhan Harper-Nunes (4%), Sunny Virk (4%), Williams (3%), or Street (1%).

It is worth noting that voters have a low level of familiarity with most of the candidates running for West Midlands Mayor.

Even Andy Street, the best known of the named candidates, is only ‘very’ (19%) or ‘fairly’ (28%) familiar to 47% of his electorate, while one-third of voters in the West Midlands (33%) say they are ‘not at all’ familiar with him.

A plurality (49%) of voters say they are ‘not at all’ familiar with the Labour candidate, Richard Parker, while majorities are also ‘not at all’ familiar with Sunny Virk (60%), Elaine Williams (60%), or Siobhan Harper-Nunes (63%).

When asked which issues would most determine how they would vote if a West Midlands Mayoral Election were to be held tomorrow, the economy (52%), healthcare (44%), and housing (37%) are the three most commonly cited issues.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has a net approval rating of +12%. 31% approve and 19% disapprove of his overall job performance since becoming West Midlands Mayor.

On his handling of major issues, Mayor Street holds positive net satisfaction ratings for his policies on most issues prompted, including policing/crime (+11%), transport (+6%), education (+5%), and the economy (+2%).

At the same time, voters express net dissatisfaction with the Mayor’s policies on the issues of housing (-3%) and taxation (-3%).

However, voters in the West Midlands believe the Mayor and the West Midlands Combined Authority have less power and responsibility than the Prime Minister and Westminster on the majority of policy issues.

In fact, transport is the only issue on which more voters think the Mayor and the Combined Authority have more power and responsibility than the Prime Minister and Westminster (39% to 38%). An equal number of respondents believe the national and local government have the most power and responsibility when it comes to policing (36% each).

Despite being a fellow Conservative, Street has, at times, staked out different positions for himself and his Administration when compared to the UK Government led by Rishi Sunak, most notably when it came to the decision to cancel the northern leg of HS2.

Voters in the West Midlands are split on how similar or different Street is to national Conservative politicians. 34% see Street as the same kind of Conservative as the Conservatives in Parliament, while 30% think he is a different kind of Conservative. Another 35% are unsure.

When it comes to securing funding from the central government for the area, 33% think Street has done neither a good nor a bad job securing funding and support from Westminster for the West Midlands. 24% think he has done a good job, and 21% think he has done a bad job.

While Street’s re-election prospects look slim, he is in a considerably stronger position than the Conservative Party as a whole when voters are asked how they would vote in a General Election.

Our Westminster Voting Intention poll of the West Midlands finds the Conservatives trailing Labour in the region by 28%.

Altogether, the results of our poll are as follows:

Labour 52%
Conservative 24%
Reform UK 12%
Liberal Democrat 7%
Green 5%
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 26%. After weighting by likelihood to vote, 8% of the sample say they do not know how they would vote, including 5% of those who voted Conservative in December 2019 and 5% of those who voted Labour. 

Just 51% of voters in the West Midlands who voted Conservative in 2019 say they would vote Conservative again. 20% of 2019 Conservative voters in the West Midlands now intend to vote for Reform UK, while 19% say they would vote Labour.

Prime Minister Sunak himself holds a net approval rating in the West Midlands of -19%, with 47% saying they disapprove of his overall job performance since he became Prime Minister, against 28% who approve.

On his handling of major issues, Sunak holds negative net approval ratings on every policy issue prompted, including on issues such as immigration (-34%), the NHS (-29%), housing (-24%), and the economy (-20%).

An overwhelming majority (62%) of respondents do not feel like the Government has been making a clear effort to ‘level up’ the area in which they live, a sentiment shared by majorities of those who voted Conservative in 2019 (55%) and for Andy Street for Mayor in 2021 (51%).

In October 2023, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the Government was cancelling the construction of the northern leg of HS2 connecting Birmingham and Manchester. While highly controversial at the time, a small plurality (35%) of West Midlanders now say they support the decision to cancel the Birmingham-Manchester leg of HS2, against 32% who oppose it. 

Some of the money that was initially meant for the Birmingham–Manchester section of HS2 has subsequently been reallocated as funding for several smaller scale transport projects across the country, including the Midlands Rail Hub.

39% believe this reallocation to Midlands Rail Hub was the better decision for the West Midlands, against 38% who think keeping the Birmingham-Manchester section of HS2 would have been the better decision for the region.

Finally, Keir Starmer, the Leader of the Labour Party, holds a net approval rating in the West Midlands of +6%. 36% approve and 30% disapprove of Starmer’s overall job performance since he became Labour leader.

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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