Election 2017: Majority support progressive alliance against Conservatives, poll says

Tactical union of Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens widely endorsed by left-wing voters in final ORB survey

General Election 2017: The key moments

A majority of people support the idea of a progressive alliance being forged at elections by parties who oppose the Conservatives, according to a poll conducted on Wednesday for The Independent.

ORB found that 58 per cent of the public agree that parties such as Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Greens should co-operate at elections to ensure more effective opposition to the Tories, while 42 per cent disagree.

Some 78 per cent people who voted Labour in 2015 support the idea, as do 65 per cent of Lib Dem supporters then and 88 per cent of those who voted for the SNP. Perhaps surprisingly, 38 per cent of people who voted Tory last time endorse the idea.

Women (63 per cent) are more open to a progressive alliance than men (54 per cent) and there is much stronger support among young adults than old people. Seven out of 10 in the 18-34 age group back the idea but only 40 per cent of over-65s do. There is much more support among Remain voters in last year’s referendum (73 per cent) than among Leave supporters (47 per cent).

The Greens have led calls for a progressive alliance at this election but have been rebuffed by the Labour and Lib Dem leaderships, who have been accused by the Tories of planning a “coalition of chaos” with parties including the SNP in the event of a hung parliament. Grassroots support for the idea among Labour and Lib Dem grassroots members led to local pacts in several seats.

ORB’s findings were welcomed by Neal Lawson, chairman of the democratic left pressure group Compass which is running an anti-Tory tactical campaign to stop “one party rule”.

UK leaders cast their votes

He said: “With over 40 local progressive alliances where candidates have stood aside for better placed centre-left parties, there is clearly an appetite from the grassroots for this more collaborative politics. This poll shows the population as a whole is moving in this direction. Party leaders need to catch up with the people fast. If there is a hung parliament, then there could be popular support for a progressive coalition.”

Mr Lawson added: “People want progressive parties to fight the Tories not each other - a progressive alliance could still form a progressive majority government.”

If the Conservatives win the election, calls for an anti-Tory alliance at future elections are expected to grow. There is also likely to be renewed about the first-past-the-post voting system, with the smaller parties claiming that their number of votes will not translate into a fair number of seats.

Campaigners for proportional representation say the current system encourages the parties to focus on about 100 marginal seats. Some 225 constituencies have been held by the same party since 1950.

A BMG Research poll for the Electoral Reform Society found that one in three people believes their vote will not count at this election. One in five people will “hold their nose” and vote tactically, double the proportion in 2015, it found.

ORB interviewed online 2,038 people adults aged 18+ throughout the UK on 31 May and 1 June.

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