Therese Coffey Gets Brutal Reality Check From Polling Expert About Tory Election Chances

Sir John Curtice skewered Therese Coffey when she expressed optimism over the Tories' election chances
Sir John Curtice skewered Therese Coffey when she expressed optimism over the Tories' election chances ITV

Therese Coffey’s optimism that the Conservatives could still win back voters was crushed by a polling guru last night.

The Tory backbencher – who briefly served as the deputy PM under Liz Truss – appeared relatively dismissive about her party’s abysmal performance in the opinion polls ahead of the upcoming general election.

A YouGov poll from last week found the Tories are just on 19%, down two points on the previous week, making it their lowest-ever score with the polling firm.

But, speaking on ITV’s Robert Peston, Coffey claimed: “A lot of the polls at the moment are reporting on where it’s firm voting. There’s still a substantial number of people who voted Conservative at the last election who have not made their mind up.

“There’s no love for Keir Starmer but I’m trying to deal with reality: we have still got a mountain to climb.”

A devastating YouGov poll released this morning revealed that nearly three-quarters of those who voted for the Conservatives in 2019 do not trust them.

Polling expert, Professor Sir John Curtice, cut in: “But the truth is, when more people of one side say, ‘don’t know’, that’s a symptom of your problem. It’s not necessarily a remedy.”

He then referenced the 2015 general election, where the Lib Dems took just 8% of the vote after years in a power-sharing government with the Conservatives.

Curtice said: “I’m afraid I remember throughout the 2010 to 2015 parliament, your then Liberal Democrat coalition partners said, ‘It’s alright, it will be OK on the night, they’re just saying don’t know, they will come back to us.’

“They didn’t and you profited enormously from that.”

The Conservatives won a narrow majority with 36.9% of the vote.

Curtice said: “You’re right in that if you do succeed in beginning to think more kindly of you then they do at present, then those who say don’t know are the ones who are most likely to return to you.

“But, they aren’t guaranteed to return.”