‘Tories heading for electoral wipeout’

YouGov survey predicts Conservatives will lose almost every seat in the north of England, more than 70% of their seats in Yorkshire and more than half their seats in Midlands…reports Asian Lite News

The Conservatives are heading for an electoral wipeout on the scale of their 1997 defeat by Labour, the most authoritative opinion poll in five years has predicted.

The YouGov survey of 14,000 people forecasts that the Tories will retain just 169 seats, while Labour will sweep to power with 385 – giving Sir Keir Starmer a 120-seat majority.

Every Red Wall seat won from Labour by Boris Johnson in 2019 will be lost, the poll indicates, and the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, will be one of 11 Cabinet ministers to lose their seats.

The Tories will win 196 fewer seats than in 2019, more than the 178 Sir John Major lost in 1997.

The poll exposes the huge influence that Reform UK is set to have on the election result. The Right-wing party would not win any seats, but support for it would be the decisive factor in 96 Tory losses – the difference between a Labour majority and a hung Parliament.

The result would be the biggest collapse in support for a governing party since 1906, with an 11.5 per cent swing to Labour.

It would all but guarantee Sir Keir’s party at least a decade in government, as no party with such a sizeable majority has ever lost the subsequent election.

There is also bad news for the Scottish National Party, which is predicted to lose almost half of its seats to Labour, retaining only 25.

The poll – obtained using the same method that has accurately predicted the results of several recent elections – will add to pressure on Rishi Sunak to pivot to a far more conservative agenda as he faces a crucial vote on his Rwanda policy this week.

It will also be studied closely by Tory MPs who believe a change of leader before this year’s election is the only way to avoid disaster.

James Johnson, a former Number 10 pollster, said the figures suggested any possible path to victory for the Conservatives had “all but vanished”. He said the data showed the Tories were haemorrhaging the votes of Leave supporters who backed them in 2019 and would be punished by those voters “if they do not get tough on migration – fast”.

The poll was commissioned by a group of Conservative donors called the Conservative Britain Alliance and carried out by YouGov, working with Lord Frost.

It surveyed 14,000 respondents over the course of New Year – around seven times as many people as a typical poll.

Such a big sample size enabled YouGov to break down results by the constituencies in which the election will be fought using its Multi-Level Regression and Poststratification (MRP) method, which successfully forecast the 2017 and 2019 UK elections and more recently votes in Australia and Spain.

Unlike recent polls, which have given Labour an average lead of around 18 points across the electorate as a whole, the MRP poll predicts which seats will go to which party, giving a forecast of the actual election result.

It also factors in the large number of undecided voters and which way they are most likely to vote, known as electoral tightening.

The results are therefore the most credible forecast of what would actually happen if there was an election tomorrow or early this year, based on current public opinion.

The 169 seats the Conservatives are predicted to win is four more than the 165 they won in 1997. This time, however, the scale of losses would be bigger because they have more seats than in 1997.

The poll suggests the Tories are on course to hold 196 fewer seats than Boris Johnson won in 2019. Sir John Major lost 178 seats in 1997, when Sir Tony Blair won 418, giving him a majority of 179 at the start of 13 years of Labour government. 

A majority of 120 for Sir Keir would be larger than any in the last two decades and comparable to those secured by Margaret Thatcher in 1983 and 1987. The Liberal Democrats are set to win 48 seats, recovering their pre-2015 size.

The Conservatives will lose seats across the country, the poll forecasts. Labour will rebuild its Red Wall by winning back the seats taken by the Tories in the North and Midlands in 2017 and 2019.

Sunak’s party will lose almost every seat in the north of England, more than 70 per cent of their seats in Yorkshire and more than half their seats in the Midlands.

The Conservatives are also predicted to suffer heavy losses, mainly to the Liberal Democrats, in Blue Wall seats in the South of England they have held for decades.

Horsham, which the Conservatives won by 21,000 votes in 2019, and which has only ever been represented by a Tory since 1880, is expected to go to the Liberal Democrats.

The results are primarily driven by a collapse in the Conservative vote rather than a surge in Labour’s. In constituencies across England and Wales, the Labour vote is up by an average of just four per cent compared to 2019, whereas the Conservative vote is down by an average of 18 per cent.

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