- Support for the Labour Party has dropped to just 18%, pushing the party into fourth in an opinion poll for the first time.
- The result matches lowest score for the party since polling began in the 1940s.
- Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit strategy and his leadership more broadly remains under intense scrutiny.
- Labour’s shadow health spokesperson Jon Ashworth said: “If that was a result at a general election it would be devastating for the Labour Party.”
- The Conservatives were in first place despite Brexit being unresolved and the party not having a leader.
LONDON – Support for the Labour Party has fallen to its lowest level in polling history and pushed the party into fourth place for the first time, according to a new poll.
Just 18% of voters say they would vote for the party if a general election was held tomorrow, down two points on a week ago, a YouGov survey for the Times newspaper found.
Labour has only once previously scored 18% since opinion polling began in the 1940s, which was in May 2009 when former Prime Minister Gordon Brown wrestled with the global financial crisis.
Despite Theresa May’s inability to deliver Brexit and her resignation leaving the Conservatives without a leader, the party climbed two points to first place on 24%. The Brexit Party was on 23%, and the Liberal Democrats on 20%.
Voting intention: YouGov/Times Poll
Conservatives: 24% (+2)
Brexit Party: 23% (+1)
Liberal Democrats: 20% (+1)
Labour: 18% (-2)
Green: 9% (-1)
Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit strategy and his leadership more broadly remains under intense scrutiny.
Pro-European MPs are urging him to unambiguously back a second referendum and staying in the EU after swathes of Remainers abandoned the party to vote for the Liberal Democrats and the Greens in recent elections.
The new YouGov survey found that only 25% of Remain voters in 2016 now back Labour, a figure which has plummeted from 48% at the beginning of the year, and 40% who backed the party in April.
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson last week repeated his calls for Labour to formally back a second referendum, writing in the Observer that it could not afford to “sit on the fence” about the biggest issue to face the UK in a generation.
- Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Corbyn is understood to be moving towards explicitly backing a so-called “confirmatory ballot” on the UK’s EU membership.
However, other senior figures – including some in Corbyn’s office – are concerned such an approach would haemorrhage votes in Leave-voting areas where it has traditionally kept support, and cost the party the next election.
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth sought to cast doubt over the poll on Wednesday evening, telling ITV’s Peston: “I don’t believe that would be the result at a general election.”
As Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson enter the last few weeks of a gruelling leadership contest, the Conservatives have reclaimed sole first place having been tied with the Brexit Party last week.
The close levels of support among the four leading parties mean a general election would produce a highly unpredictable outcome and no party would be likely to gain a clear majority.