Labour continues to lead Tories in polling – but votes lost during new-referendum excursion show whole idea must be jettisoned
YouGov’s polling is considered by many to understate Labour’s support – so when even that pollster’s data started to show a solid Labour lead over the Tories, the Establishment panicked.
However, while YouGov’s latest poll of Westminster voting intention still shows Labour three points ahead, it’s not all good news for the party – and in fact contains a stark message for those who will see it.
According to YouGov, Labour stand at thirty percent, with the Tories trailing on twenty-seven, down two points compared to last week:
Labour’s share is unchanged from the previous week.
However, it is not unchanged this year – and while in earlier polls Labour trailed the Tories, they did so on a higher vote share than now. In early February, Labour stood three points higher in YouGov’s workings:
The key point in this period was not the emergence of the TIG/Change Party – which has drawn more support from the Tories than from Labour. Instead, Labour insiders – and activists in the party’s northern heartlands – believe that the crucial factor has been Labour’s decision, in line with its conference policy, to back parliamentary motions for a new referendum, combined with the public noise made by a core pro-referendum Labour MPs.
The motions were – as they were always going to be – unsuccessful in spite of Labour’s backing. But during a period of around eighty days, the polling suggests that those efforts and noise have cost Labour around two million votes.
This data meshes seamlessly with the experience of northern campaigners ‘out on the doorstep’ for next week’s local elections. Numerous members and organisers have told the SKWAWKBOX that the issue of ‘Brexit betrayal’ is increasingly a theme. One such campaigner told the SKWAWKBOX:
We’ve been warning people for ages. Labour must not be seen to be ‘trying to stop Brexit’. People up here are loyal, but if they think Labour are ignoring their vote it won’t quickly be forgiven.
We need to be absolutely unequivocal in our position on Europe. We are leaving. The only question most people care about is will Labour lead us out.
One Twitter commenter put the issue perfectly today:
Labour, rejecting even the notion of a new referendum as anything but a last resort, will win back those votes and more. Labour pushing a new vote will strengthen the right – which in turn will keep the Tories in government regardless of their differences when push comes to shove, just as the DUP has done in spite of its anger with Theresa May and as the Tinge-group has said it will do, out of self-preservation.
Labour has honoured its conference policy and rightly so – but the party has shown more than enough support for any kind of new vote to know first that it won’t get through Parliament and second that even the attempt is damaging the party.
Labour MPs and others pushing for it either don’t understand that, or don’t care – and a few no doubt even hope for it.
But it’s time for Labour to put it in the box marked ‘done’ and throw it out – publicly and noisily. The job of getting into Downing Street is just too important – the lives of thousands and the quality of life of millions depends on Labour succeeding and failure will condemn them to Tory predations whether we’re in or out of the EU.
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