19 Jan 2022

Exclusive: ‘Red wall’ voters turn against Tories, poll suggests

Political Editor

Labour is in the lead by 11 points in “red wall” seats, according to an exclusive poll commissioned by Channel 4 News.

The poll, which was conducted by J.L. Partners, puts support for the Labour Party at 48% in these areas and the Conservative Party at 37%.

The poll of 518 people in red wall seats in the North, Midlands and Wales suggests support for Boris Johnson in the area has collapsed.

The figures suggest if an election took place now the Tories would lose all but three of their red wall seats, with just Dudley North, Bassetlaw and Great Grimsby staying Conservative.

The main reasons putting off people in these areas from voting for the Tory Party were Boris Johnson’s leadership and the parties at Number 10 during lockdown, the poll says.

Longer-term issues, including immigration and the cost of living, also played a role in voters turning away from the Tories, according to the figures.Labour is now seen as more competent and capable than the Conservatives, as well as less divided, the poll says.

Boris Johnson’s ratings have collapsed in the red wall, they now stand at -35, with more Tory 2019 voters saying he is doing badly rather than well.

In the 2019 election, the Conservatives seized 54 seats from Labour, leading to crumbling of Labour’s “red wall” of seats across the Midlands and northern England, which were considered the bedrock of the party’s support for generations.

However this poll suggests 52% of 2019 Conservative voters who had left the Tories said they would not consider voting for them again, compared to 38% for the most of last year.

Labour is now winning one in ten Conservative 2019 voters direct from the Tories, according to the figures.

One in five of the people polled also said they do not know how they would vote.

Lockdown parties

An investigation into Covid rule breaking at Downing Street is being conducted by senior civil servant Sue Gray after reports of parties at Number 10 during lockdown.

The majority of people taking part in this poll said Boris Johnson had handled the lockdown parties badly, with 73% saying they believed the parties broke lockdown rules at the time and 11% that they did not.

In regards to levelling up, people in the red wall seats were the least confident they have been since the 2019 election that it will be delivered, according to the poll.

With just one in four saying they are confident their region will improve in the coming years, the poll said.

J.L. Partners polled a representative sample on gender, age, education, social grade, 2019 vote and 2016 vote, in 45 seats in the North/Midlands that the Tories won from Labour at the 2019 election.