55% of people expect Tories to lose seats in local elections, poll suggests

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More than half the public expects the Conservatives to lose seats at the local elections on Thursday, a poll suggests.

Some 55% of people told Ipsos UK that they thought the Tories would lose seats while just 9% thought the party would make gains.

The picture for Labour was much better, with 45% saying they expected the party to pick up council seats.

The public was also more likely to say Labour councillors were better than those from other parties at delivering local services, setting the right level of council tax and listening to the views of local residents, but a large proportion of voters said that either no party was better than the others or they did not know who would be best.

The findings of the survey, carried out between April 21 and 24, chime with the results of other polls that see Labour maintaining its double-digit lead over the Government when it comes to how people would vote in a general election.

But the Ipsos poll of 1,850 UK adults, published on Monday, found people put more weight on local factors when deciding which council candidates to vote for.

Asked what factors were “very important” when deciding who to vote for, 42% mentioned the local council’s performance in running their area and 41% mentioned the promises local parties made.

However, 33% said policies on national issues were an important factor and 31% mentioned the Government’s performance in running the UK. Only 24% said their opinion of national leaders such as Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer would factor into their local election votes.

But on specific issues that would determine how people would vote, 52% talked about the cost of living and 45% mentioned the NHS, more than any other issue.

Crime and the condition of local roads were the joint third most-mentioned issues on 38%, but were more likely to be mentioned as top priorities by older voters. Some 60% of those aged 55-75 said local roads were an important issue, with only 47% mentioning the cost of living.

Keiran Pedley, research director at Ipsos, said: “These results show how local elections are different to general elections in the minds of voters, who prioritise local issues over national ones when deciding how to vote in them.

“However, the national picture is never far away, with the cost of living and NHS still on voters’ minds as they head to the polls, especially for those aged under 55.

“Meanwhile, if the public are right, the Conservatives are likely to face a difficult set of results on Thursday, reflecting the current unpopularity of the Conservative government nationally.”