General election 2024: Reform UK voters are not benign toward the Tories, they are belligerent

Adam McDonnellResearch Director of Political and Social Research
June 15, 2024, 9:34 AM GMT+0

Despite many Reform UK voters supporting the Tories in 2019, few could be convinced to vote Conservative this time round as they actively dislike them

YouGov’s latest voting intention figures show Reform UK ahead of the Conservatives for the first time. The party has been improving its vote share in the two weeks since Nigel Farage announced both his candidacy in Clacton and his leadership of the party.

Reform UK’s rise has come at the same time as the Tories are mired in the polls. There was speculation before the election was called that Tory support would improve during the course of a campaign, but one of the stories of the election so far is the Tory poll numbers going backwards as July 4th nears.

New YouGov data, collected after Nigel Farage re-took charge, sheds light on why this has happened. It shows that despite the large majority of Reform UK voters backing the Conservatives in 2019 (68%), very few are likely to be convinced to return to the Tories his time round.

Reform UK are standing candidates in nearly all constituencies, and the data shows that even if they were to stand down just 36% of their voters say they would switch to the Conservatives. Instead, 6% would vote Labour, the same proportion would go Lib Dem, 4% would switch to the Greens, and 12% to another party. Fully a quarter (26%) simply would not vote at this election in a scenario where Reform UK were not fielding a candidate for their seat.

Our data suggests that many Reform UK voters are not benign about the Tories – they are belligerent. Three quarters (74%) say they have an unfavourable opinion of the Conservatives with 41% being “very unfavourable”. This compares to just a fifth (22%) who are favourable to the Tories. These voters have a similar view of the Prime Minister, splitting 76% to 22% unfavourable towards Rishi Sunak.

Further, when asked whether they’d prefer a Conservative or Labour government after the next election, 75% refuse to chose one, saying either outcome would be as bad as the other. One in five (19%) say they’d prefer a Conservative government over a Labour government, while 4% say they’d prefer Labour.

Despite their rise in the polls, Reform UK voters remain realistic over their party’s chance of winning a seat in their constituency under the UK’s first past the post system. Just one in five (21%) currently think the party is likely to win in their area compared to 61% who think it is unlikely they’ll win, suggesting they are voting for the party despite limited hope of parliamentary success.

As we enter the second half of the campaign with Nigel Farage’s party surging in the polls, currently there are few votes the Tories could realistically look to squeeze from Reform UK, making the Conservative’s challenge greater still.

See the full results

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