General Election: Nigel Farage comeback 'key moment' as polls shows drop for both Tories and Labour

General Election: Nigel Farage comeback 'key moment' as polls shows drop for both Tories and Labour

We are now roughly halfway through the 2024 General Election campaign and in truth the big picture is largely unchanged.

Labour’s average poll lead stands at 21 points, which has barely moved since the campaign started.

However, underneath the headline numbers there is some change with the smaller parties.

Reform UK’s polling average has increased from 11 per cent to 14 per cent since Nigel Farage returned to lead Reform, with Labour and the Conservatives both falling back slightly, therefore leaving the gap between them the same.

The Farage comeback appears to have been a key moment of the campaign so far. Ipsos data shows around 8 in 10 Reform UK voters supported the Conservatives in 2019, with 7 in 10 Conservatives switching to Reform doing so over the issue of immigration.

His return has made it harder for the Conservatives to win some of these voters back.

They’ve not helped themselves in the campaign either, with Rishi Sunak’s decision to leave D-Day commemorations the most high-profile misstep.

Almost half (48 per cent) of the public think the Conservatives have had a bad campaign so far, including 31 per cent of 2019 Conservative voters.

What about Labour? Team Starmer will be content so far. Labour’s poll lead remains strong and the public are more likely to tell Ipsos that they have had a good campaign (36 per cent) than a bad one (25 per cent).

Last night’s debate performance will likely only reinforce this view. Our polling for this paper last month showed 47 per cent now think Labour is ready for government – a joint high for Labour under Starmer.

And yet despite Labour’s strong poll lead, approaching half still tell us they don’t know what Keir Starmer stands for.

Some 43 per cent of Labour voters say they may still change their mind. 45 per cent of this group say they would opt for the Lib Dems or Greens if they do and 12 per cent say the Conservatives or Reform UK.

It would appear Labour are potentially more politically vulnerable on their left flank than from the right. Though things may not change at all.

Which brings us to today’s manifesto launch. It is too early to know what impact this document will have but the priorities of those saying they will vote Labour are clear.

Ipsos analysis going back to the start of the year shows they prioritise the NHS (46 per cent), economy (30 per cent), cost of living (24 per cent), education (22 per cent) housing (15 per cent) and the environment (14 per cent).

Labour will hope their offer today convinces those currently intending to vote for the party that they have the right policies on the issues that matter most for them – and they don’t need to go elsewhere.

* Keiran Pedley is Director of Politics at Ipsos.