What the polling says six weeks ahead of the general election 2024

How do the political parties fare at the start of the campaign period?

Rishi Sunak

Polling day is six weeks away as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a snap summer election in July, so what does the polling say about the political parties’ odds at the start of the campaign period? 

Sir John Curtice, the UK’s polling guru, has said that an average of all the polls currently puts Labour on 44 per cent, and the Conservatives on 23 per cent. He offered a gloomy picture for the Tories, pointing out that it is a weaker position than in the demise of the Liz Truss period.

With a Labour lead of 21 per cent, the election expert said Sunak was either “very brave or extremely foolhardy” to call the snap election and compared his situation to that of former Tory Prime Minister John Major in 1997, when he lost heavily to Tony Blair’s Labour.

The fact that no party has ever previously succeeded in turning around from the position the Tories currently find themselves in the national polling sets the tone. 

However Curtice did also say that changes in constituency boundaries will give a slight advantage to the Conservatives, but that the brutal Tory results in the recent local elections do not bode well especially for party support in former Tory heartlands. 

Also highlighted was the fact that one in three voters are currently minded to vote for neither the Tory or Labour party. The hard-right Reform UK party is currently polled as the third most popular choice with 11% of the vote share, followed by the Lib Dems with 9% and the Greens with 6%, according to the BBC’s general election poll tracker

In terms of Rishi Sunak’s personal ratings, he continues to poll low with the public, reaching his lowest net favorability score this month of -51 per cent, the latest YouGov poll showed. Only 20% of Britons hold a positive view of him, while 71% have a negative one. Keir Starmer remains considerably more popular although still with 51% having a negative view of him and 34% a positive one.

(Image credit: Simon Walke / Number 10 Downing Street – Creative Commons)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward

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