Cross-party calls for tactical voting as poll shows narrowing race between Tories and Labour

Posted On: 
8th December 2019

A group of cross-party opposition campaigners are urging the public to vote tactically to deny Boris Johnson a parliamentary majority amid new poll analysis that the race is narrowing.

The data comes as Mr Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn make a final plea to voters ahead of the 12 December election.
Credit: 
PA

The rallying cry from Labour, the Lib Dems and SNP comes as a Best for Britain poll of 30,000 voters shows the Prime Minister’s predicted 82-seat majority has been halved to 40 in the last two weeks.

With days to go before polling stations open, the pro-EU group also found tactical voting in 36 key seats by around 40,000 people could deny the Conservatives a majority government.

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The move instead, it estimates, would return 309 Tory MPs - just 16 short of the number needed for a Conservative majority, while Labour would bag 255 seats, SNP with 49 and the Lib Dems would gain 14 MPs.

The new data is a stark contrast to the YouGov MRP poll nearly two weeks ago which predicted the Conservatives are set to win 359 seats - up 42 on their 2017 result - with Labour plummeting to just 211.

Naomi Smith, Best for Britain’s chief executive, said: “This election is on a knife-edge, and, if enough Remainers hold their nose and vote for the candidate with the best chance of stopping the Tories, we’re heading for a hung Parliament and a final-say referendum.”

Meanwhile, seat projections for the Sunday Times by Datapraxis revealed today that the Conservatives are on track to win a majority of 38.

The figure, based on 500,000 YouGov interviews, found the Tories are expected to win 344 seats, while Labour are on track for 221. 

The Liberal Democrats are predicted to win two extra seats with 14 MPs, and the SNP expected to increase their seats to 47.

Polling for the Sunday Telegraph by Savanta ComRes shows the Tories have a narrowed eight-point lead over Labour at 41% to 33% respectively.

The Conservatives dropped one point while the official opposition climbed one point compared to midweek polling, but the Lib Dems stayed on 12% of the vote share.

According to Electoral Calculus, if the same vote shares were replicated on polling day it would give the Conservatives a majority of 14 MPs.

Head of Politics at Savanta ComRes Chris Hopkins said: “The margins are incredibly tight at this stage of the election, where the Conservative lead over Labour dropping or increasing by one or two points could be the difference between a hung parliament and a sizeable Conservative majority.”

The tightening polls comes as senior opposition figures, including SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, called for voters to consider voting tactically to deprive Mr Johnson of a majority.

"Voters can stop a Boris Johnson government if they choose to vote tactically," she told the Observer.

"In Scotland, the SNP is the challenger in every one of the Tory-held seats so by voting SNP, Scotland can play its part in locking Boris Johnson out of Downing Street.

"In the rest of the UK, it is time to put national interest before tribal party interest so that collectively we can deliver a progressive parliament, focused on protecting our health service, ending austerity, eradicating poverty, delivering justice for women, pensioners and for Scotland, securing the ability to choose our future."

Meanwhile, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson told the paper she was working to win votes for her party, but added: "I understand tactical voting is part of our system, because it’s a rubbish voting system.

"One way people can use that system to deliver more of what they want is to consider voting tactically." The data comes as Mr Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn make a final plea to voters ahead of the 12 December election.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister told the public they faced a historic election that will “shape future decades” as he urged them to block a “Corbyn-Sturgeon nightmare alliance”.

He said: “Now, in 2019 we face another of these historic elections.  Like 1906, 1945 and 1979 the impact of this election will be felt for decades to come.  But unlike those elections, in 2019 it is not a single party that has lost its way, but the entire Parliament.”

He added: “If we don’t win, then on Friday 13th the Corbyn-Sturgeon nightmare alliance will become a reality.  Jeremy Corbyn would be Prime Minister, propped up by Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, the Liberal Democrats, and other minor parties.  It is closer than many people think …

“And this would mean another broken hung Parliament with every day next year a Groundhog Day in Parliament. We would be straight back to MPs screaming at each other every day about the referendum, arguing over political process and arcane constitutional traditions while the NHS, crime, and our schools would all be ignored.

“2020 would be the year of politicians arguing over two more chaotic referendums - one on Brexit and one on Scotland...This would be a total nightmare.”

Meanwhile the Labour leader plugged the election as a fight to save the NHS.

“This election is a fight for the survival of our NHS as a free public service that puts patients before profits. Next Thursday, the NHS is on the ballot paper,” he said. 

“Millions of people will have a choice about whether to see off the threat posed by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives to their local hospital and GP surgery, already stretched to breaking point by a decade of Tory austerity and privatisation.

He added: “My parents’ generation fought hard to establish a universal health service, owned and run by the public. They left it in our trust. It’s our duty to defend it. On Thursday, you have the chance to do just that. Vote Labour for our NHS.”