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Over A Quarter Of Tory Voters Would Not Vote For Boris Johnson's Conservatives If They Had Their 2019 Vote Again, Poll Shows

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is cheered by supporters on a visit to meet newly elected Conservative party MP for Sedgefield, Paul Howell at Sedgefield Cricket Club in County Durham, north east England on December 14, 2019, following his Conservative party's general election victory. Lindsey Parnaby/Pool via REUTERS

4 min read

More than a quarter of Conservative voters who backed Boris Johnson at the 2019 general election would change their vote if they could go back in time, new polling has shown.

The damning result for the Prime Minister comes as the cost of living crisis looks set to spiral and after the Met police launched an investigation into potential lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street, which has upset many of his backbenchers.

He was further rocked by the resignation of four senior members of his Downing Street team on Thursday, with director of policy Munira Mirza saying her departure was triggered by Johnson's failure to apologise for falsely claiming Keir Starmer failed to prosecute sex offender Jimmy Savile.

Asked if people would change the way they voted at the 2019 election if they had their time again, 28% of those who voted Conservative said they would. This was the highest of all the major political parties with 26% of Liberal Democrat voters, 21% of SNP voters and 18% of those who voted Labour wanting to change their mind.

Overall, 22% of the British public said they would change the way they voted in the 2019 General Election given the opportunity, compared to 66% who said they would not and 11% who said they didn’t know.

Johnson was elected in 2019 in a landmark victory for the party with an 80 seat majority - the largest since the days of Margaret Thatcher. They took seats from Labour that had been red for more than 70 years and Johnson’s popularity soared, with his highest personal approval rating coming in April 2020 at 66% of the public believing he was doing a good job. 

However, in the exclusive survey for PolHome carried out by Redfield & Wilton Strategies, there was concern among the public about the allegations of rule-breaking gatherings held at Downing Street, the subject of so many of Johnson's recent political problems. 

While the Conservatives have tried to push the political agenda beyond "partygate" by focusing on their domestic agenda and releasing the long-awaited Levelling Up White Paper, the public may not have moved on.

Asked to what extent the parties and other rule-breaking gatherings held at 10 Downing Street during the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns mattered to them personally, 39% said it mattered "a significant amount".

Twenty-six percent said it mattered a fair amount, 18% said a small amount, with a similar figure saying it did not matter at all (17%).

Of those who voted Conservative in 2019, 71% said the parties mattered to them either a small, fair or significant amount. Twenty-nine percent said the gatherings having taken place did not matter to them personally.

The poll also showed strong enthusiasm among the public for Johnson to publish the full report by senior civil servant Sue Gray on the parties held at 10 Downing Street during the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. 

On Monday the public were provided with a 12-page update on her inquiry, which had minimal information in relating to gatherings that the Met Police are investigating. This led Gray to say in her publication that she was limited in what she could say about those events: "it is not possible at present to provide a meaningful report setting out and analysing the extensive factual information I have been able to gather."

Just two days after the update was released, the 1,500 members of the public surveyed by Redfield & Wilton overwhelmingly said they wanted to see the report in full, with 78% saying they want to see it, 10% saying they did not want to see it, and 11% saying they didn't know. 

In the highest-ever figures for a poll commissioned by PoliticsHome, a signicant 95% of people who voted for the Scottish National Party at the last election want to see the full report, 88% of Labour voters want to see it released in full, and 74% of Conservatives think it should be published in full. 

Redfield and Wilton carried out their poll on behalf of PolHome on 2 February 2022 with a sample size of 1500 people. 

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