In poll after poll since the result of the referendum on the European union was announced the Conservative Party has shown a strong and increasing lead over Labour. The most recent – conducted by the pollster ICM for the Guardian – gave the Conservatives a 14-point lead over Labour. Just let that sink in. 14 points. That’s more even than the lead Blair achieved over Major in the historic landslide of 1997.
The obvious question is where are all these votes coming from and if this is sustainable. Most pundits seem place all the blame on Corbyn. And it is undoubtedly true, to an extent. But when you look at the polling figures over the last few months, however, what stands out dramatically is not a Labour decline, but a UKIP decline. The majority of the Conservatives increased poll lead over Labour since the referendum can be ascribed to thier decline in the polls.
When comparing the average of the 10 most recent polls to the 10 polls before the referendum, the Conservatives are up by 6%, whilst Labour are down 2.3% and UKIP are down 4.6% (Their support has declined by over 25%). It is likely too, that much of Labours decline has moved to the Liberal Democrats who are up by 1.4%, and so the Conservative surge looks to have been even more dependent on UKIPs slump.
This is important because UKIP’s decline is likely to be far more sustainable than Labours. In the end all Labour need to do get a competent leader (I say all, though it looks like Corbyn is here to stay). UKIP on the other hand are facing a twin pincer movement on their support. First, despite their best efforts, they have remained to a large extent a one issue platform. Britain outside of the EU leaves little purpose for the party. And second, though UKIP does have some talented individuals who are not called Nigel, Farage is by far UKIPs most recognisable face and without him, the party are unlikely to be able to get as much publicity as they previously did.
It looks like the Conservative lead is due to a sustainable UKIP slump, not a short term Labour decline, and this will only be a good think for the Tories.
The Conservative lead looks like it’s here to stay
Thomas is director of Conservatives for Liberty. Follow him on Twitter: @Thomas_Stringer
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty