After what had been a fairly inactive 6 months of polling, the fallout from Chequers and the publication of the government’s Brexit white paper have sparked a significant change in the Westminster voting intention.
Between January and July, the polls had been shifting at a gingerly pace. Whilst support for Labour dropped a couple of percentage points, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats witnessed a narrow increase by about one per cent each, placing the Conservatives narrowly in the lead.
However, with the emergence of Chequers- the landscape shifted seismically. A once reliable lead turned into a fall as the Conservatives retreated to 36% in a few polls, one of the lowest levels since the 2017 general election. Unsurprisingly, Labour has picked up the pace, leading the way in a sequence of polls for the first time since February. Yet, it is not just the Labour Party who have reaped the benefits of a Conservative slump. After six months, UKIP finally topped 5% in each of the last five published polls.
After months of dreary shifts, the current data certainly resembles a striking change, although, its nothing to write home about. Indeed, the current state of affairs may just resemble a temporary ‘blip’. After all, with an absence of factional conflict during the summer, the Conservative’s could well witness an improvement in public perception.
Of course, this marked change could well foreshadow an autumnal spate of political turbulence as Theresa May and the EU seek to broker a Brexit deal. Voters, even today, remain equally split over the decision to leave.
Since 2017, the amount of people who believe that Brexit was a wrong decision has gradually increased, but with no sign of an overall consensus. Even worse for the prime minister, polls which aim to chart opinions on what should happen next paints even more division.
Indeed, a recent poll by Deltapoll found that when asking the public: ‘What do you think should happen next?’
- 27% responded: ‘Brexit should be abandoned altogether’
- 9% responded: ‘Negotiators should try to get the Prime Minister’s deal agreed because it is the only remaining chance of fetting Brexit through’
- 20% responded: ‘Delay Article 50 to postpone Brexit and give the Prime Minister as much time as needed to come up with a more acceptable plan.’
- 24%: ‘Refuse to make any more concessions with the EU and leave without a Brexit deal if necessary’
- 15%: ‘Don’t know’
Analysis of the responses suggests that no course of action has the support of even a third of voters. This will undoubtedly cause further issues for Theresa May who already struggles to quell the fierce infighting within her own party. It seems that whatever her move, it will not be enough to please a majority of public opinion.