As the conflict in Eastern Europe sadly continues, the polls have tightened in the UK. As College Green Group poll watch predicted two weeks ago, the Labour lead over the Conservatives has fallen to just 2-3% according to SavantaComRes, Redfield & Wilton Strategies, and YouGov.
The Ukraine-Russia war has seen the Government gain support in the last fortnight. Having gained on average 1.5% in the polls since last Tuesday, the Government has gathered momentum whilst Labour has stagnated and lost its comparatively commanding lead.
The Conservatives stand at around 35.5% to Labour’s 39%. This would leave Labour far short of a majority. According to both Britain Predicts and Electoral Calculus (respectively), for Labour to win an outright majority, it should be between 9.5% and 11% ahead in the polls. For the Conservatives, this figure stands at just 5%. It is an uphill climb for Starmer.
In the by-election in Birmingham, Erdington that was won by Labour’s Paulette Hamilton, the party gained 5.2% whilst the Conservatives lost almost 4%.
For a party that has been in power since 2010, and led by a man still untrusted and disapproved of by the British public, this is not a bad place to be. Labour still underperformed its 2017 level of support. The 4.8% swing from Conservative to Labour in this seat would only result in Johnson losing 45 seats to Labour if replicated on a national level. One silver lining for Labour is that there was a clear loss of Liberal Democrat and Green votes – an acknowledgement from these voters that Labour is the only party that could win such a seat? Perhaps a begrudging progressive alliance may be brewing just in time for the next election.
Optimism for such an alliance may be dampened when you consider that 42% of voters now believe a Conservative-led Government would be the most probable outcome of the next general election – the first time in eight weeks. 32% expect a Labour-led Government, a slight decrease. What is the reason behind this shift? Ukraine has re-moulded the electorate’s priorities. Tough talk and decisive action are what voters remember, and the Government is certainly doing both – from Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss’ proclamations that ‘nothing is off the table’ in relation to Russia, to rapid, sweeping sanctions on Russian banks and oligarchs, the Government has seen its competency rate improve by 7% since last week. It is also noteworthy to find that just 47% of Conservative voters in 2019 think the Government is competent.
Teflon Boris? Well, the embattled Prime Minister has seen his highest approval rate since early November, according to Redfield and Wilton Strategies. With 37% approving of his performance, compared to 44% who disapprove, could the era of party-gate be behind him? Johnson has also re-taken the lead over who British voters would rather see as Prime Minister with 39% to Starmer’s 35%. According to this poll, it is curious to see that more 2019 Labour voters would rather see Johnson as Prime Minister, than 2019 Conservative voters would want to see Starmer in this role.
Considering the Government’s improved position against Labour, a hung parliament would be the most likely outcome of an election. Based on these figures, that would suggest the following results were an election held today: