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Rise of Reform could be ‘utter disaster’ for Tories, warns polling expert

14 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Professor Sir John Curtice . Photo Jeff Overs/BBC

The General Election could see a record swing to Labour while the rise in support for Nigel Farage’s Reform UK may prove to be an “utter disaster” for the Tories, polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice has said.

He commented on the potential influence of Mr Farage’s party in the wake of a poll which put Reform ahead of the Conservatives.

A YouGov survey for the Times newspaper had support for Reform at 19%, just ahead of the Tories on 18%.

‘Utter disaster’

Sir John, a professor at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, said an average of recent polls shows backing for Reform is now at about 15% or 16%, which he declared is an “utter disaster for the Conservatives”.

Speaking at an online event organised by the Fraser of Allander economic think tank at Strathclyde, he also said of the potential victory for Labour: “We at the moment are looking at swings of 15%, 16% from Conservative to Labour.

“We’ve never had a swing of that size before. We could be having the biggest swing in the post-war era from one party to another.”

Sir John said the rise of Reform is “the most important development” in the election campaign so far, noting the party’s support increased by about three or four points after Mr Farage returned as leader.

He said: “This is a real, real problem for the Conservatives because virtually all the people who are switching to Reform are 2019 Conservative voters.

“We also know from what happened in the local elections down south at the beginning of last month that if Reform were not on the ballot paper they wouldn’t be voting Labour instead.

“Any chance the Conservatives ever had when they fired the starting gun on May 22 that they might be able to narrow Labour’s lead was predicated on them being able to win back those Reform voters.

“Their failure already to squeeze the Reform vote before Farage entered was itself bad news, and then Farage has boosted it further and made things even worse.

“Basically rather than the Conservatives recovering during this campaign… you can see they are now four points lower than they were.”

Losing ground

He went on to say that Labour is “also losing ground”, but the lead Sir Keir Starmer’s party has over the Tories remains around 20 to 21 points “because both parties are losing grounds”.

With this being the first General Election to be contested by five parties across the UK, with Reform, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens running national campaigns, Sir John said the Lib Dems could be “beginning to get back some of that vote they had previously lost to Labour”.

He said: “The Conservatives and Labour are trying to knock chunks out of each other and in so doing they are probably helping the small parties out a wee bit.

“The Liberal Democrats have started to rise in the polls. It is possible that the Liberal Democrats are finally reclaiming some of their lost votes to Labour.”


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Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
1 month ago

Rise of reform could be an utter disaster for ALL of us! Yet another Party filled with self serving millionaire xenophobes! Just what working people need! Does ANYONE realise that our NHS and Hospitality and Caring Sectors would collapse without Immigrant workers? Not to mention crop gathering for our Farmers. , they are already finding it difficult to recruit workers.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
1 month ago

Originally I thought the next election would be more beneficial to Plaid Cymru than this one. However, due to the dull, boring Labour party more people are considering switching to the smaller parties as the usual alternative to labour would be the currently hated Tories. The smaller parties in this election could have more of an impact than originally foreseen.

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
1 month ago

Farage is a man full of hate for people who are not white same as Reform and his previous parties U K I P etc myself i dislike but would love to see them help to Destroy the Tories being a former miner i have nothing but CONTEMPT for Tories i am 74 nearly and i will go to my grave with a smile on my face seeing the end of the SCUM Tories the damage which Thatcher started and the destruction of Wales

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  Dai Ponty

I would say the same (except I wasn’t a miner) and feel the same as you.

Lord Custard
Lord Custard
29 days ago

The good thing is that Reform should help propel the Conservatives to an extinction level event in three weeks time!

John Ellis
John Ellis
29 days ago

The YouGov poll is just one poll, and its findings haven’t thus far been replicated elsewhere. But there seems no doubt that Farage’s coup – no problem for him, since Reform’s not a conventional political party but a limited company in which St Nige is the majority shareholder – is likely to significantly boost Reform’s ability to attract a certain sort of middle England voter. Which will make a refreshing change, since the broad left of UK and Welsh politics has been occupied by a number of political parties, while the Tories have had pretty much a monopoly of the… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by John Ellis
Adrian
Adrian
29 days ago
Reply to  John Ellis

Just to clarify, Reform, like all entities who wish to campaign for election, is registered with the Electoral Commission and complies with all required obligations of the PPERA.

John Ellis
John Ellis
29 days ago
Reply to  Adrian

Indeed – I presume that must be the case. Apparently not being a political party in the traditional and usual sense but rather a limited company effectively controlled and owned by its principle shareholder doesn’t conflict with those required obligations.

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