POLL: Tories will struggle in an election if Brexit delayed

Trouble ahead for Boris?


Ben Walker / 07 September 2019

Recriminations may be on their way for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives if the UK’s departure from the EU is delayed, new polling suggests.

A ComRes poll commissioned by Britain Elects asked voters how they’d cast their ballots in the event of a general election being held before the UK’s departure from the EU. The results put the Conservatives ahead of Labour by 3pts.

These figures are not too dissimilar to what other pollsters are finding when posing the standard voting intention question. It should be noted ComRes tends to record higher shares for Labour than others, and it does appear here that there is an uptick in support for the Liberal Democrats.

This 3pt lead for the Conservatives doesn’t last long, however, when voters are asked how they’d vote if the UK’s departure was delayed beyond the 31st October deadline.

Labour would take 28%, ahead of the Tories who are on 26% – a 2pt gap between the top two. The Brexit Party would see a 3pt increase from the previous question to take 17%, and the Liberal Democrats would stand at 20%.

These figures suggest an electoral backlash may be in store for Boris Johnson, in what seemingly is becoming the likely scenario of Britain’s exit from the EU being delayed beyond the 31st of October and an election to be held shortly after. Voters would drift from the Tories to the Brexit Party, gifting Labour a chance at becoming the largest party with support from the Liberal Democrats.

It should be said projecting what these figures might mean in seat compositions, however, through national swing calculators, would be a fool’s errand.

Previous polling commissioned by Britain Elects and others have yielded similar findings, all of which suggest the success or failure of Boris Johnson’s career as Prime Minister will come down to his ability to deliver Brexit to a deadline repeatedly affirmed by him since his ascendancy to Downing Street.

Unless the Prime Minister is willing to overrule what Parliament has obligated him to do, we should expect the present Conservative lead in the polls to shrink.

Our ComRes survey also asked voters how they’d feel about having a general election if Parliament failed to reach a conclusion on Brexit. 50 per cent were found to be in support.

Methodology Note: ComRes surveyed 2,009 British adults on 4th – 6th September 2019. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. All questions were also weighted by 2017 past vote recall and EU Referendum past vote. Voting Intention is also weighted by likelihood to vote. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables at www.comresglobal.com