With Three Days to UK Vote, Labour Maintains 21-Point Poll Lead

(Bloomberg) -- Opinion polls in Britain are still pointing to a crushing defeat for the governing Conservatives after 14 years in power as the election campaign reaches its final days.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used a broadcast appearance on Sunday to insist everything remains in play, saying Britain is a “better place to live” than when the Conservatives took office in 2010. Asked in a BBC interview if he thought he’d still be prime minister after the July 4 vote, he replied, “Yes. I’m fighting very hard and I think people are waking up to the real danger of what a Labour government means.”

But polls since Friday morning make depressing reading for the Conservatives. While support for Labour slipped below 40% in two surveys, the Tories remained stuck at around 21%. That puts Keir Starmer on track to enter Downing Street on July 5 with a Labour majority bigger than Tony Blair won in 1997.

Bloomberg’s UK poll of polls, a rolling 14-day average using data from 11 polling companies stretching back to January 2021, shows Labour leading the Conservatives by 21 percentage points. So-called MRP modeling, based on larger surveys, on average suggest Labour is on course for 450 seats in the 650-member House of Commons, with the Conservatives reduced to around 100 — less than a third of their tally at the 2019 general election.

On Monday, the two parties will trade blows over immigration, the National Health Service and the economy, with Sunak set to warn of “a disaster from which it would take decades to recover” if an “unchecked” Labour government takes power with a “supermajority,” according to extracts of comments he’s due to make at a campaign rally. For its part, Labour will launch a poster campaign with a warning of “five more years of chaos” if the Tories are elected.

Sunak’s party has been hit in recent days by allegations that Conservative candidates and officials knew about the date of the election before Sunak made it public late last month, and then used the information to place a bet. The Metropolitan Police is investigating a “small number” of wagers. A Labour candidate was suspended for betting on himself to lose the seat he was contesting.

Labour insists there’s no room for complacency about the election, with polls showing around 10% of voters are undecided. Many of them backed the Tories in 2019. For Labour, the fear is that would-be supporters will stay at home if they think the party is heading for landslide.

“I’m assuming nothing about the result on Thursday,” Pat McFadden, Labour’s election coordinator, said in an interview with Sky News. “I think Labour has a chance, has a good possibility this time. But change will only come if people vote for it.”

A sobering fact for both parties is that their combined share of the vote has slipped to just over 60% from around 80% three years ago, suggesting voters aren’t enthused by the two traditional parties of power.

They’ve lost support to smaller parties, notably Nigel Farage’s populist anti-immigration Reform UK, which is polling around 16% and projected by MRP polls to win a handful of seats in Parliament.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Starmer warned that a failure to address the disillusionment in British politics could lead to a rise in the hard right, as seen in France and other European nations. Pledging “deeds, not words” to stave off the threat in Britain, he said: “it’s based on this disaffection, this sense that politics cannot be a force for good and you can’t trust politicians.”

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