the independent debate

Independent readers share their 2024 general election predictions following dire opinion poll

While some Independent readers are ready to say goodbye to a Conservative Government, others were not convinced of the Labour leader Keir Starmer

Friday 19 January 2024 07:00 GMT
While some were ready to say goodbye to a Conservative Government and welcome Sir Keir Starmer to Downing Street, others were not convinced of the Labour leader.
While some were ready to say goodbye to a Conservative Government and welcome Sir Keir Starmer to Downing Street, others were not convinced of the Labour leader. (PA)

According to the latest YouGov public opinion poll the Tories are supported by a mere 20 per cent of voters.

It comes as Rishi Sunak’s party descended into chaos this week, divided by his controversial Rwanda bill.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party is enjoying a commanding lead of near-unprecedented proportions in recent times.

With a general election looming over the UK, we wanted to hear your predictions for the dramatic months ahead in the political sphere.

While some were ready to say goodbye to a Conservative Government and welcome Sir Keir Starmer to Downing Street, others were not convinced of the Labour leader.

Here’s what you had to say:

‘The polls are an absolute disaster for Labour’

This seems to be rather strange and none of it makes sense.

I can see glaring assumptions being made and herds of elephants are being ignored.

The polls are an absolute disaster for Labour.

The polls have been showing 20% plus leads for months.

The sheer number of ‘Don’t knows’ and ‘will not vote’ , over and above the normal level renders any analysis of the polls meaningless. It looks the Tory voters have move from the ‘Conservative’ to the do not know column to try and oust Sunak. They may be holding out hope for a Priti Patel or another unhinged Libertarian to swiftly move in.

In any case the Tories are both pragmatic and loyal. Even if they go into the election with the hared Sunak up top, they will troop into polling booths. They might not want Sunak, but they do want the Tories to stay in power.

Labour have no idea what is going on. A 20 point lead without doing any thing at all appears so seductive and believable. When polls start to tighten as they must surely do, Labour will have no idea what to do, given they have no idea why they are twenty points ahead.

They assume that wavering Tories find the Rwanda scheme and Sunak as repugnant for the same reasons we do.

I think this is wrong.

As well as that, the left will see that 20 point lead as permission to ‘Send a message’ by voting fringe or not voting.

Theresa May suffered by being too far in front of Corbyn to be able to use fear to motivate voters. Once May dropped her social care clanger, she lost what was looking like close a three figure majority.


‘Sunak has prided himself on all the wrong points’

While it’s true that a single poll doesn’t necessarily equate to results, the question of can Sunak win? The answer is a resounding no. This isn’t by any special charisma or likability on Starmer’s part.

Sunak has prided himself on all the wrong points in an attempt to win over the UK’s far right, and effectively made himself hated by everyone else. He keeps touting the Rwanda bill as the solution to all the conservative’s problems, and while news articles point to inner party rebellions undermining his projection of power, it misses the broader point that the majority of the UK doesn’t even want it or anyone outside of his bubble thinks immigration is the single most important problem.

When Sunak kept a single seat in the House of Lords after losing 2/3, he looked at the one he kept where the overwhelming majority said it was the climate tax and what he took away from that that is “trans people and immigrants.”

Sunak absolutely can’t win due to his dedication to pick out all the most perfectly wrong topics and wrong sides of them, finding ways to annoy everybody who isn’t already a loyal conservative voter.

Their hope is by waiting for longer this will suddenly make everyone change their minds but it’s actually more likely to do the opposite because it continues to give more time for Sunak to simply open his mouth and find new ways to remind people how much they hate him. He can keep trying to cling to the idea, “It’s just a media narrative people hate me”, and if he tells people to start liking him, they will, but that has failed to persuade or convince anybody, except for Sunak himself.

Short summary, it doesn’t take any special competence or charisma on Starmer’s part, but for Starmer, simply not being Sunak is enough.


‘It’s all about Brexit’

It’s all about Brexit. The pro-Europe parties currently poll about 60% - which also ties up with Brexit/Rejoin polling. A small Labour working majority is currently the most likely outcome - and also pressures Starmer to pivot back to the SM and CU.


‘Starmer will not fix much’


1. It will take years for the country to recover from the damage caused by Brexit and the Tory “government”.

2. Starmer will not fix much but will win the next election.

3. Jenrick will position himself as leader

4. Life will continue...


‘He may as well be wearing a blue tie’

I wouldn’t trust Starmer as far as I could throw him tbh. He may as well be wearing a blue tie, but honestly, what other options are there? In my opinion the only thing possible is get Thatcher’s sibling in then get shot of him! Chance would be a fine thing, but some of his ideas are verging upon the Tory songbook and I’m pretty sure if he goes any further towards the right he will rightly get the backlash.


‘Any change is better than the current mess’

It is time for a change. The Tories are destroying themselves and the country. Time for a new chapter hopefully after the general election (sooner the better). There will be party with a clear majority to allow for a fresh start. Any change is better than the current mess.


‘Boot this awful, horrid government out’

If we listen to the polling of the last 15 months, we would be looking at a 1997 Blair landslide, if we listen to Sky’s Sam Coates it suggests Labour needs a electoral swing of historic proportions to gain power, which one is the likely scenario?

Personally all l want is for the electorate to boot this awful, horrid government out of power for a long, long time.


‘The illusion of choice’

I think it will be close, we currently have the illusion of choice with Starmer who is just a humourless version of Johnson to me.

Many people who would have voted Labour or Conservative will be voting for different players, like Lib Dem, Greens, or Reform, which may well dilute the effect of the Tory’s ineptitude.


‘An October election at the earliest’

It seems that the disgraced philanderer Johnson still has supporters in the Tory party, probably the same ones who support the return of the rather stupid Truss - no surprise there, then..... Does this gang of corrupt incompetents who have ruined Britain and its international reputation really expect to win an election, now, or for a generation to come?

I predict Sunak will hang on for as long as he can; he’s too careful to make any serious mistakes, and he loves the power and the helicopters that come with it... which suggests an October election at the earliest.


‘Better to lose to Labour than chucked by your own side’

I think the election will happen quite soon. The Tories are focused on self-canibalisation rather than running the country and Sunak is desperate to protect his image in the history books. So I think Downing St will have its ear to the ground and, if they detect that nearly enough have written a letter to Graham, Sunak will dash for the palace to ask for Parliament to be dissolved.

Better to lose an election to Labour than to be chucked on the scrap heap by your own side.


‘Closer than the pollsters are predicting’

The election will be closer than any of the pollsters are predicting. They haven’t been correct for the past 10 years and the electorate seems to have consistently pushed further to the right in what can only be considered as a collective act of self-harm.

The gerrymandering with the boundary changes doesn’t help anyone except the Conservatives. And Starmer isn’t doing himself any favours by not taking bigger steps to distinguish Labour from the Conservatives. There’ll be a lot of apathetic voters out there considering whether its even worth going out to vote.

What may be the biggest factor is the timing so here is my theory. Sunak has no mandate for the Rwanda policy. Regardless of what happens in the Commons, the House of Lords knows this, is largely against the policy and can simply slap the brakes on it for a year. Sunak will then try and call a snap election to get a mandate while also claiming how the “undemocratic Lords are obstructing the will of the people”.


‘Voters have simply switched off’

I’d suggest the opinion out there is way worse for the Conservatives than the one commissioned by right-wing Tories.

Haven’t they realised that voters have simply switched off and are no longer listening? Every household has an NHS calamity. Nobody knows where they stand with their finances. Good luck with those seats you think are safe.


To think we only had Brexit to stop the Tory Party splitting apart... now that we have left our trading partners, friends and neighbours in the EU and have only a cold, lonely future to look forward to, the Tory Party may well split into two as their minority but nasty rightwing again want total control of everything to push their narrow minded agenda on all of us.


‘Whatever happens struggling remains on the cards’

The path the Tories are walking has lost them a lot of support of the voters. The only realistic alternative, thanks to FPTP, is Labour, but Starmer is following Tory policies with a few minor changes ... and that’s it!

So, the electorate has to ask themselves, do I want to keep the blue incompetence and infighting or do I want the reds that are still drifting into the wrong direction and have no rock solid plan, more of some wishy-washy ideas.

Any other party, e.g. Lib Dems and Greens, have no chance in a FPTP system to reach government, especially with undemocratic tactical voting practice.

Neither Tories nor Labour want a change to PR (Labour had it high on their list, but Starmer pushed it off) and aren’t interested in the EU single market/custom union, when those two subjects are needed turning points for the British democracy and economy.

Whatever happens struggling remains on the cards, prosperity and proper democracy remain unreachable targets.


‘14 years of disastrous policies’

All anyone needs to do to decimate any Conservative vote is to remind the public that 14 years of disastrous policies has made the vast majority both poorer and with reduced opportunities, while a few have benefited, getting very much richer, while exploiting everyone else.

Meanwhile, it is becoming apparent that their supposed prior successes have actually produced short term but unsustainable gains, damaging the country for generations.


Some of the questions and answers have been edited for this article. You can read the full discussion in the comments section of the original article.

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