Only half of those who intend to vote Lib Dem say the party “definitely” has their vote

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
November 26, 2019, 9:42 AM GMT+0

The Conservative vote is the firmest, with seven in ten ruling out a change of heart

The big unknown of the general election is how extensive the disruption caused by the Brexit Party and Liberal Democrats ends up being. Between them they are siphoning off voters from each end of the Leave/Remain spectrum.

The parties emerged as serious electoral threats at the European Parliament elections and, while they are now both much diminished, they could have a huge impact on the final result.

We can get a measure of the situation from traditional voting intention results. But these can only show who a person will vote for when pressed to make a single choice. They cannot show how many parties that person might be seriously considering, and therefore how firm the overall voting figures are.

Now the results of a new YouGov survey find that the Conservative vote is noticeably firmer than Labour’s. Some 71% of those who currently intend to back the Tories say they will “definitely” vote for the party, but this figure falls to 62% for those currently backing Labour,

The silver lining to this cloud for Labour is that their figure is higher than their Lib Dem rivals, with just half (53%) definitely committed to casting their ballot for Jo Swinson’s party.

Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Remain vote

With the Conservatives having been much more successful in uniting the Leave vote under their banner, coupled with the Brexit Party’s decision to stand down in a swathe of constituencies, the struggle between Labour and the Lib Dems is by far the most vital dynamic in the election at the moment.

The results show that just over a third (37%) of those who currently intend to vote Labour voters say they could end up backing the Lib Dems, while 41% of current Lib Dem voters say they might change to Labour.

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Lib Dem success ultimately hinges on drawing Remain-backing voters from the two main parties.

At present it looks like half of such voters could be persuaded, with 50% of Conservative/Remain voters and 49% of Labour/Remain voters saying they might vote for the Lib Dems (or stronger).

But looking at the results from another angle indicates that the pool of poachable voters is probably much smaller. Only 20% of Conservative/Remain voters say they “probably won’t” or “definitely won’t” vote for the Tories, as do 11% of Labour/Remain voters for Corbyn’s party.

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And looking at the strength of their commitment to vote for a particular party, three times as many Conservative/Remain voters say they will “definitely” vote for the Conservatives as say the same for the Lib Dems (32% versus 11%).

This gap is wider still among Labour/Remain voters, with this group six times as likely to say they will “definitely” vote Labour (42%) than Lib Dem (7%).

Who are Labour Leave voters considering voting for?

The figures also show the extent to which the Labour/Leave vote is up for grabs. Almost half (49%) say the will or might vote for another party, while fully a third (34%) say they “definitely won’t” vote for Labour. This is compared to just 13% of Conservative/Remain voters who are dead set against voting for the Tories.

While Labour remains the favoured party among Labour/Leave voters, with 49% saying they will or might vote for them, other parties are also strongly considered. Four in ten (42%) say they will or might vote for the Conservatives, and 29% say they will or could vote Brexit Party.

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