The UK is grinding closer to this year’s general election and new polling shows the Conservative Party continuing to fall, but also Nigel Farage’s Reform UK achieving new levels of predicted support.
Pollsters continue to say the United Kingdom’s left-wing opposition Labour Party is predicted an overwhelming win at the national elections expected later this year — serious antisemitism problems notwithstanding — and the presently governing Conservatives continuing to dwindle. Yet new figures form Savanta pollsters show the right-insurgent Reform UK Party — better known to most as Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party — is picking up steam.
🚨NEW Westminster Voting Intention
📈18pt Labour lead
🌹Lab 44 (+2)
🌳Con 26 (-2)
🔶LD 10 (=)
➡️Reform 10 (+2)
🌍Green 4 (=)
🎗️SNP 3 (=)
⬜️Other 4 (-1)
2,097 UK adults, 23-25 February
(chg 16-18 February) pic.twitter.com/7aUSZJmdRb
— Savanta UK (@Savanta_UK) February 28, 2024
While the Tories enjoyed 43 per cent of the popular vote in the 2019 general election, Savanta finds they are due just 26 per cent now, a figure that other pollsters which have rated them even lower recently might call generous. By comparison, Labour won 32 per cent in the last general election.
Reform UK is now on ten per cent, up from eight per cent in the previous poll, and the highest finding for the insurgent party yet recorded by Savanta. This, a spokesman for the pollster reported by The Daily Telegraph notes, has “the potential to really hurt the Conservatives at the next election”, as Reform squeezes the Tories from the right.
Savanta is just the latest pollster to put Reform into double digits.
Not that this relatively high polling means an imminent electoral breakthrough for Reform, however, as the UK’s political system skews heavily towards the legacy national parties on one hand, and insurgent parties with a strong local focus on the other. The Scottish Nationalists, for instance, barely touch four per cent nationally — well shy of what Reform could hope to achieve at the ballot box — but are totally focussed on Scottish seats, and won a huge 48 seats with that highly concentrated support.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 27, 2024
The ever-worse Conservative polling comes amid the unforced error in the past week of giving up the moral high ground on the left’s longstanding antisemitism problem, by walking into a foreseeable trap on alleged Islamophobia. During a debate on the influence of Islamist extremists on UK politics, with the speaker of the House of Commons claiming he broke with precedent to protect members from becoming victims to terrorist killers over a controversial vote on Gaza, the Conservatives suspended one of their parliamentarians for discussing the issue.
The move also stands to potentially benefit Reform UK as rumours swirl that the MP in question, Lee Anderson, may defect to the Farage-founded party. Anderson has conceded his use of language was “clumsy” but has refused to apologise as ordered, insisting the basic facts of what he was expressing was correct.
Mr Farage himself had characterised the Conservative infighting over the status of Anderson as the Tories as destroying the party. He said the row didn’t seem to be going away and that: “seeing Tory MPs and Peers lining up to condemn Anderson, others lining up to say ‘for goodness sake, reinstate the whip’, they do appear to be, as a party, literally tearing themselves to pieces over this.”
— GB News (@GBNEWS) February 27, 2024