Politics

‘Already baked in’ Tory position ‘stuck’ as Starmer fails to make dent – polling guru

Voters slate Boris Johnson ahead of local elections

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Boris Johnson leads his under-fire Tories into the crunch local elections amid growing fears of voter backlash towards the Prime Minister and his ruling political party. He has been coming under yet mounting pressure during recent weeks after being fined by the Metropolitan Police for being present at a Downing Street party during the first Covid lockdown in 2020. But despite the public fury surrounding Partygate, the latest opinion polls suggest the Conservative Party’s position has steadied somewhat, and Labour’s progress has stalled.

A Savanta ComRes general election voting intention poll of 2,236 UK adults from April 29-May 1 saw Labour edge up a point to 41 percent compared to a week earlier, with the Tories following suit on 35 percent.

A week earlier, the poll from the firm showed the position of Labour and the Conservatives had remained unchanged on 40 percent and 34 percent respectively.

Polling expert Sir John Curtice believes the Tory position has been “pretty much stuck” since the middle of January and is now “baked into the numbers”.

When asked whether the fury from Partygate will have an impact on the local elections, Sir John told Express.co.uk: “If people vote in line with the opinion polls, then yes, undoubtedly.

“The Tories have fallen behind Labour in the UK-wide polls for the first time in this parliament in the wake of the Owen Patterson and ‘Partygate’ affairs.

“The Tory position is pretty much stuck at around 34 percent since the middle of January or so.

“Partygate seems to be pretty much baked into the numbers now.”

Sir John also played down the amount of pressure the Tories are under heading into the local elections.

He explained Labour only has a three point swing since the last vote in in 2018 and, with voting taking place “disproportionally” in Labour territory, the potential losses of seats will be limited.

The polling expert continued: “Even if the Tories perform roughly in line with their position in the opinion polls, it’s not going to generate a lot of really bad headlines.

“Firstly, most of the seats being contested in England were last contested in 2018.

“That was Jeremy Corbyn’s best local election year and the two parties were roughly even.

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“Although at the moment Labour are six points ahead in the polls, that’s only a three point swing since 2018.

“It will generate some losses of seats but the elections are taking place, disproportionally, in Labour territory.

“London for example is very much a Labour city and it is disproportionately urban England that is voting.

“That limits the potential losses for seats because a lot of the shire Tory counties are not voting.

“Lastly, then it comes to changes of council control, in most of the councils outside of London, only one-third of the seats are up for grabs, which inevitably limits the scope for changes of control.

“I can find you four or five councils the Tories may well lose but it doesn’t look as though it is going to be very many.”

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