‘No sign of decline’ Polling expert explains how Reform will capitalise on Tory failures

Conservatives have 'no sign of decline' says Whiteley

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Professor of Government at the University of Essex, Paul Whiteley, spoke to Express.co.uk about the latest shake-ups in the political polls which have now placed Labour ahead of the Conservatives. The political behaviourist and author of “Brexit: Why did Britain vote to leave the European Union” noted how smaller parties were also enjoying an uptick in their support and theorised frustrated Tory supporters were turning their back on the party. However, Professor Whiteley believed the Reform Party could enjoy a more long-term rise than other smaller parties.

Speaking to Express.co.uk. Professor Whiteley was asked whether the rise in support for Labour or other political parties were impactful enough to continue to the next general election.

Professor Whiteley explained: “In the case of Reform, well, it’s the inheritor, if you like, as we all know of the Brexit Party and before that UKIP.

“And there are a number of discontented conservative supporters not happy with the way that Brexit has gone, who think that Boris should simply pull the plug and that’s it.

“They are wavering towards Reform in the same way as many of them waved towards the Brexit party and UKIP in the past.

“Now, it’s not large numbers, but it is interesting that their numbers have gone up over the last month or two and there’s no sign that [Reform are] declining in the same way that the Greens are.

“So I think this is something that will continue as long as the Conservatives find themselves in problems of various kinds.”

Professor Whiteley did admit that the surge in support for the Greens was likely due to environmental events such as Cop26 which has pushed green issues to the forefront of debate.

Reform has experienced the same thing too, he says, but Professor Whiteley believed the scandals and issues surrounding the Tories are here to stay in the minds of the electorate much longer.

The voting expert also believed the North Shropshire by-election showed how the public have “forgiven” the Liberal Democrats for their coalition government a decade ago as they claw back seats from the Conservatives.

Polls have placed Labour in front of the Conservatives as disgruntled voters turn their back on the party and look elsewhere for representation.

A recent YouGov poll published on December 22 puts Labour at 36 percent and the Conservatives at 32 percent.

The Greens are currently on eight percent, having gained a point since the last survey, with Reform at five percent, down one point.

Their voting tracker also found the Reform Party and Greens saw a small uptick in support around November with Reform’s being the most notable.

YouGov’s survey of just under 2,000 people also found 34 percent of respondents believe Sir Keir Starmer would be a better prime minister than Boris Johnson.

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According to Politico’s poll of polls, Labour is placed at 39 percent with the Conservatives at 32 – a far cry from the Tories 11-point lead back in May.

The poll also puts the Greens on six percent and Reform on five percent, beating the SNP.

However, Professor Whiteley noted it was not a surprising result because of the SNP’s confinement to Scotland.

Politico also suggests support for Reform has increased from three to five percent from the beginning of December – when reports of the Conservative Christmas parties first emerged.

A recent poll by Focaldata asked almost 25,000 people across the country their voting intentions and concluded Labour would win the next election with 338 seats with the Tories on 237.

Their data also suggests Boris Johnson would lose his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat along with Alok Sharma and George Eustice.

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