Sir Keir Starmer could secure a comfortable 56-seat majority for Labour and unseat Boris Johnson at the next general election, according to a new poll released on the first day of the party’s annual conference in Liverpool.
The Savanta ComRes survey of more than 6,000 voters put Labour a clear 12 points ahead of the Conservatives, on 45 per cent, with Liz Truss’s party on 33 per cent.
It suggests that there has been no “Truss bounce” for the Tories following the election of their new leader at the start of September, with the Conservative Party down two points and Labour up three compared with the previous month.
And constituency-by-constituency analysis of the results showed that the Tories could shed a massive 146 MPs, including many in key red-wall seats won by Mr Johnson in 2019.
However, the pollsters warned that Sir Keir’s chances of seizing the keys to 10 Downing Street remain “precarious”, as the loss of only a point or two in the polls could send him towards hung-parliament territory.
The seat of former prime minister Mr Johnson, Uxbridge and South Ruislip, is among those likely to fall to Labour, according to the Savanta analysis.
Other prominent Tories who could lose their place in parliament include defence secretary Ben Wallace, in Wyre and Preston North, and Northern Ireland minister and leading Brexiteer Steve Baker in Wycombe.
Former prime minister Tony Blair’s Sedgefield seat was among the red-wall constituencies that would return to the Labour fold according to the analysis, which used the MRP (multilevel regression with poststratification) method of applying polling figures at a local level.
And Sir Keir also stands to regain the totemic Workington seat – home of “Workington man”, a political caricature of the socially conservative Leave-voting working-class voters in the Midlands and North of England who switched to the Tories under Mr Johnson – as well as long-time Labour strongholds lost in 2019, such as Ashfield, Bassetlaw and Blyth Valley.
However, the polling did show some traditional bellwether constituencies – swing seats that usually fall to the eventual victor of an election – not going Labour’s way, with the Conservatives holding Dartford, Portsmouth North, Nuneaton and Great Yarmouth.
In all, Labour stands to gain 154 seats compared to its current tally, to reach a total of 353 seats, against 211 for the Tories, 48 for the SNP (up four), and 15 for the Liberal Democrats (up one), according to the MRP analysis.
The survey was completed before Friday’s sensational mini-Budget, which saw chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng borrow £45bn to fund tax cuts largely benefiting the rich and businesses.
Savanta’s political research director Chris Hopkins said: “This MRP model highlights both the potential and the precarious nature of Labour’s polling lead at the moment.
“While this model gives Labour a 56-seat majority with a 12 point lead over the Conservatives, a one-point swing the other way could reduce that majority considerably, and any bigger swing back towards Liz Truss’s party could deprive Labour of a majority at all, even if their national vote share trumps the Conservative figure by eight to nine points.
“Labour needs to hope that any Truss bounce is short-lived, and to capitalise on an economic outlook that rarely rewards governing parties at the ballot box.
“If Labour can consistently generate double-digit poll leads over the government, Keir Starmer will be well on course for Downing Street, and therefore this conference feels like a crucial moment in his leadership.
“He has an opportunity now to really differentiate Labour from the economic policies of a Truss-led government, and if he can convince voters that it is Labour, rather than the Conservatives, that has the answers to tackle the multitude of issues the country faces, the poll lead Labour have enjoyed throughout 2022 may start to feel more secure than it currently does.”
Savanta ComRes questioned 6,226 adults in Britain on 15 and 16 September