Preventing such an outcome would require an unprecedented level of tactical coordinationby Stephen Fisher / September 6, 2019 / Leave a comment
The government has lost its majority in parliament, so it is unlikely to be long before there is a general election. In the 2017 ballot the Conservatives attracted the most Leave voters while Labour was most popular among Remain voters. So what has changed in the party preferences of Leavers and Remainers, and with what implications for the next election?
The Conservatives lost many of their Leave voters to the Brexit Party at the European elections this year largely because of the government’s failure to deliver Brexit on schedule. At the same time, frustrated with the ambiguity in Labour’s position, many Labour Remain voters switched to the Liberal Democrats or Greens.
Since May (the month and the leader) the challenger parties have waned and the two main parties have recovered somewhat, but Westminster vote intentions are still closer to the multi-party competition we saw in the Euro elections than they are to the two-party dominance of 2017. The table shows how Leavers and Remainers voted two years ago, and how they intend to vote now. The rise of the Liberal Democrats and Greens has been largely confined to Remain voters, while the Brexit Party has, unsurprisingly, only really attracted those who voted Leave.
What is perhaps more surprising is just how much both main parties have suffered setbacks from both sides. Labour has fallen back almost as much among Leavers as it has among Remainers. While the largest outflow from Labour in absolute numbers is among Remain, in relative terms, labour has lost just under a third of its 2017 Remain voters, but as much as half of its former Leave voters.
Meanwhile, far from simply losing Leave voters to the Brexit Party, the Conservatives have lost almost as many Remain voters, mainly to the Lib Dems. Again, although similar absolute numbers of Leavers and Remainers have deserted the Tories since 2017, they have lost just one in six of their Leave voters, but more than a third of their Remain voters. Now, among Labour “vote intenders,” Remainers outnumber Leavers by roughly three to one. Conversely, those who now say they will vote Conservative are roughly three to one on the Leave side.
This all has obvious implications for the…