Two-thirds of voters want change of government at election, major poll suggests

Rishi Sunak is already under pressure for failing to turn around the Tories’ opinion poll deficit.

Sophie Wingate
Thursday 01 February 2024 00:01 GMT
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Nearly two-thirds of people want a change of government at the general election this year, a major opinion poll has suggested, deepening the Tories’ electoral woes.

A Focaldata survey of almost 25,000 people, carried out on behalf of the Best for Britain campaign group, indicated that less than a quarter – or 24% – think Rishi Sunak’s Government should stay in place.

Change is the most popular option across all demographics, including age, gender, ethnicity, religion and income level.

This includes cohorts traditionally more likely to vote Conservative, such as the over-65s and top earners with salaries of more than £100,000 a year, according to the poll.

Support for change is also consistent in all UK nations and regions. In north-east and north-west England, 66% of people say it is time, while the region with the least support for change, the East of England, still saw 56% in favour.

Even among Britons who say they will back the Tory candidate in their area, one fifth say they want a different Westminster government, pointing to Mr Sunak’s personal unpopularity, the research suggested.

The Prime Minister is under intense pressure as he has failed to close the opinion poll gap of around 20 points with Labour, and has faced calls from Tory former Cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke to move aside for a new leader or risk an electoral “massacre”.

According to Best for Britain’s analysis of the new poll, 56% of those who do not know how they will vote want to see a new government, suggesting that potentially two million voters who seek change are unsure how to cast their ballot to achieve it.

The anti-Brexit-turned-internationalist organisation referred those people to its tactical vote site.

Chief executive Naomi Smith said: “It is now painfully obvious that after 14 years of failure, chaos and scandal, time could soon be up for this Government, but this polling shows that millions who want change still don’t know how they should vote to get it.

“That is why we will ensure that people have the information they need to make their vote count and finally rid us of this hopeless government.”

Another recent poll, reported by The Telegraph, also predicted doom for Mr Sunak, suggesting the Tories are on course for a 1997-style wipeout in the election expected later this year and due by January 2025.

The YouGov survey of 14,000 people indicated that the Prime Minister’s party could hold on to as few as 169 seats, with Sir Keir Starmer entering Downing Street with 385 Labour seats.

Mr Sunak sought to play down the findings at the time, while the Conservatives’ elections guru Isaac Levido told MPs to ignore the survey, commissioned by a group of Tory donors, as he said it was aimed at “undermining this Government”.

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