Number of Telegraph readers who will vote Reform doubles

Since Nigel Farage's return as leader of Reform, support for the party has risen by 11 percentage points
Since Nigel Farage's return as leader of Reform, support for the party has risen by 11 percentage points - Lee Thomas

Support for Reform UK among Telegraph readers has doubled over the first three weeks of the general election campaign, polling reveals.

A survey of 1,490 readers over three days from June 6 to 9 found that the proportion planning to vote for Nigel Farage’s party has gone from 17 to 31 per cent.

Demographic breakdowns of voting intention show Reform in the lead among 50 to 65-year-olds, with a 39 per cent share – a shift from 23 per cent before Mr Farage announced he was taking over as party leader and standing as an MP.

While this is not the case for over-65s, the gap halved over the week leading up to the latest poll, conducted by the Telegraph analytics and insights team.

The crossover in support for Conservatives and Reform is substantial: just under half (49 per cent) of readers currently planning to vote Reform would cast their ballot for the Conservatives if the party weren’t fielding a candidate in their constituency.

Mr Farage’s return has had a significant impact.

In just the week since Mr Farage’s announcement, support for Reform has risen by 11 percentage points.

More than two in five readers (42 per cent) claimed they were more likely to vote for Reform now that he has taken the reins of the party from Richard Tice.

The edge he commands over his opponents is clear. Two-thirds of readers (66 per cent) agree that Mr Farage is a strong leader, three times the proportion of those who would say the same for the Prime Minister (22 per cent).

In particular, readers are convinced of his ability to mobilise the electorate.

Nigel Farage greets a supporter before he makes his speech to the crowd in Clacton
Nigel Farage greets a supporter before he makes his speech to the crowd in Clacton - Lee Thomas

While just 20 per cent believe Rishi Sunak can “connect with voters” – falling to 16 per cent for Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader – 77 per cent think Mr Farage can.

The Conservative leader is ahead of his Right-wing rival in trustworthiness only, by a margin of 48 to 38 per cent. But even here, a majority remain unconvinced that Mr Sunak is trustworthy.

The poll also reveals that whereas just shy of 8 in 10 Telegraph readers (78 per cent) backed Boris Johnson in 2019, support for the Conservatives has collapsed by 40 percentage points.

Support for the Tories has worsened since Mr Sunak called the snap poll, having dropped 8 points from 46 to 38 per cent.

However, the survey contains good news for the Prime Minister about his performance in the first head-to-head debate against Sir Keir. While only 55 per cent reported that they tuned-in, 37 per cent claimed Mr Sunak came out on top, compared to just 4 per cent for his opponent.

There is also widespread support for a number of policies put forward by the Tories among Telegraph readers – and a stark rejection of Labour proposals.

Mr Sunak said the “current confusion around definitions of sex and gender” could not continue, and as such pledged to redefine the Equality Act so that the protections it awards apply only on the basis of biological sex.

Some 85 per cent of readers declared themselves on board with this. The Liberal Democrat manifesto, for its part, includes a pledge to recognise non-binary gender identities in law.

Likewise, the introduction of a “quadruple lock”, or “triple lock plus”, which would increase the personal tax allowance for pensioners by at least 2.5 per cent or the highest of earnings or inflation so that the state pension is never taxed, has the backing of 70 per cent of readers.

A majority (55 per cent), also agree with the reintroduction of mandatory National Service, with 23 per cent disagreeing and 19 per cent unsure.

The position is clear once again when it comes to Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private school fees. The policy – which could see up to 40,000 fee-paying pupils flock to the state sector, threatening to overwhelm the best schools in some areas – was rejected by 73 per cent of readers.