Conservatives on course for landslide victory, polls suggest

Theresa May's party hold lead of between 19 and 25 percentage points

Samuel Osborne
Sunday 23 April 2017 08:15
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Theresa May is on course to win a landslide victory in June, with opinion polls putting support for her Conservative party around 50 percent, double that of Labour.

Ms May's shock decision to call a 8 June election stunned her political rivals and a string of polls suggested her gamble had paid off, with one from ComRes for the Sunday Mirror showing the party hitting 50 per cent of the vote, levels of support not seen since 1991.

The polling company said it was the first time any political party achieved 50 per cent support since April 2002 — and the first time the Tories had reached that mark since January 1991.

YouGov for The Sunday Times has the Conservatives on 48 per cent, 23 points ahead of Labour on 25 per cent while Opinium for The Observer puts the Tories on 45 per cent with a 19-point advantage over Labour on 26 per cent.

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Ms May, who was appointed Prime Minister in the turmoil following Britain's vote to leave the European Union, said she needed the election to secure her own mandate and strengthen her hand for the Brexit negotiations ahead.

She is also looking to capitalise on the disarray swirling around the Labour party, which has been plagued by internal division over its leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Voters also appear to be switching from Ukip, which helped campaign for Brexit, to the Conservatives, which will likely deliver it.

According to polls by Opinium, ComRes and YouGov, Ms May's Conservatives hold a lead of between 19 and 25 percentage points, with the party's support ranging from 45 percent to 50 percent.

"The announcement of a snap election has clearly focused the minds of the electorate," said James Crouch at pollster Opinium.

In two other polls, Ms May's Conservatives also gained ground in Scotland at the expense of the Scottish National Party, potentially weakening the nationalists' demand for another independence referendum.

Ms May has already warned her party not to take victory for granted, a message that was echoed by pollsters.

"While no political party could ever object to breaching the 50 per cent barrier for the first time this century, this spectacular headline result masks a real danger for the Tories," said ComRes Chairman Andrew Hawkins.

"The fact that six in ten voters believe Labour cannot win under Corbyn's leadership bring with it the threat of complacency among Tory voters who may be tempted to sit at home on June 8th and let others deliver the result they expect."

If the polls are correct, the Conservatives could secure a once-in-a-generation victory that will realign the British political landscape.

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