At the start of lockdown Johnson’s Tories had poll leads of upto 26% – now the latest two surveys have that down at 6%

May 28th, 2020
Wikipedia chart of polling for next UK GE

At this rate crossover might happen quite soon

On the face of it the polling trends look worrying for the Conservatives and good for LAB which is seeing a lot of progress in getting the gap smaller.

However I don’t think we should read too much into this because, of course, the big difference between start of the lockdown and now is that LAB now has a new leader and not the electorally unpopular Corbyn who led the party to its worst result since 1935 at GE2019. It was almost inevitable that a new person would do better and so it has been.

For LAB the really positive thing has been the improvement in the leader ratings. Starmer has yet to go into net negative territory unlike his predecessor who during his whole four and half years in the job recorded net positive rating just once or twice.

The big question is how will this now go? Can BoJo/Dom stop any further erosion or is Starmer’s big ratings progress going to be translated into even better voting intention numbers? We don’t know which is why the polls are getting so much attention. 

The next general election is not scheduled to take place until May 2nd 2024 so less than four years to go. If Boris had gone for an election in early January the next general election who have been May 2025.  Of course the dates could be adjusted by the likely legislation that will repeal the Fixed-Term Parliament. It should be noted that it would be hard to extend the period beyond that because there are special constitutional arrangements for governments that want to use legislation to prolong their life. 


Mike Smithson