Will voting Reform put Labour in power? Check your postcode

Is a vote for Reform a vote for Labour?
Is a vote for Reform a vote for Labour?

“A vote for Reform is a vote for Labour.”

This phrase has become a centrepiece of the Conservative Party’s campaign, as it grapples with the surge in support that Nigel Farage’s party has received – seemingly at its expense.

Using constituency-level polling, our new tool looks at how Reform is currently polling in your constituency, and explores three possible scenarios which highlight whether a vote for Reform really is blocking the Tories from taking your seat.

The nature of the UK’s political system means that, although Reform is polling at around 15 per cent, it is likely to pick up just a handful of seats.

One constituency-level poll, from Survation, estimates it will secure just seven seats. Another, from Savanta, suggests it is unlikely to gain any, although this was conducted shortly before the hugely-popular Mr Farage reentered the fray.

This means that, if the Conservatives are correct, hundreds of thousands of votes cast for Reform will translate to very little electoral success.

One of the key assumptions behind the Tories’s attack line is that, if Reform was not standing, the vast majority of its voters would move to the Conservatives.

This is unlikely.

In fact, just 36 per cent of Reform voters would support the Conservatives, according to a recent poll from YouGov. The rest would support the Lib Dems or Labour (both on 6 per cent), the Greens (on 4 per cent) and one in 10 would support other parties.

A third of its voters would either not vote or are undecided, the poll suggests.

However, despite the far from united second-party choices of Reform voters, it is clear that in some seats, Reform could be having an impact on the Conservative’s fortunes.

In the scenario where 36 per cent of their votes go to the Conservatives, there are 54 seats across Great Britain where this would be enough to push them ahead of the first party.

Most of these, 40 in total, would see them overtake Labour. Twelve would come from the Liberal Democrats, and two would be from the SNP.

Across all these seats, the Conservatives are estimated to be within at least six points of the leading party.

In Bridlington and the Woods, Labour is projected to get 32.1 per cent of the vote to the Conservatives’ 31.6 per cent. With Reform averaging on 21.6 per cent, just a tiny defection from the party could help the Conservatives hold the seat.

Other seats where Reform could help steal the seat include Witney, currently held by Solicitor General Robert Courts, who is polling just two points behind the Liberal Democrats, whilst Reform enjoy 11.3 per cent of the vote.

In Suffolk Coastal, Thérèse Coffey, the former health secretary, is at risk of losing her seat by two points, where Reform enjoys the support of one in eight constituents. Victoria Prentis, the attorney general, is also in a seat, Banbury, where a third of Reform voters moving to the Conservatives could see her keep the seat.

Another scenario, more favourable to the Conservatives, would see those saying they won’t vote or “don’t know” who they’ll vote for removed from the equation.

If they voted in a similar way to those who are already decided, it would mean just over half (56 per cent) of the Reform vote would go to the Tories.

This situation would see 80 seats kept by the Tories, with Labour prevented from winning in 58 of them.

In this scenario, MPs who would keep their seats include “Minister for Common Sense” Esther McVey and Mel Stride, the Work & Pensions Secretary.

Is Reform costing the Conservatives the election?

In both scenarios, the impact of winning over Reform voters is unlikely to have any substantive impact on the general outcome of the election.

Across the two polls, the Conservatives are predicted to win just 89 seats. Labour could win 457 seats, a working majority of well over a hundred.

In our first scenario, Labour would see its seat numbers decline to 418. In our third scenario, they would drop to 399 seats – a majority higher than Boris Johnson secured in 2019.

What it would do is firmly secure the Conservatives as the main opposition party, ahead of the Liberal Democrats by a hundred seats.

In current polls, they are projected to be just 30 seats ahead of the third party.

Does Reform have a chance anywhere?

Despite the premise that Reform voters are stealing votes from the Conservatives, the party is now firmly in contention in its own right in some parts of the country.

Across 51 seats, an average of the YouGov and Survation polls suggest that Reform could be within 15 points of the lead party.

An average of the polls suggests that Reform are ahead in Ashfield, where Lee Anderson, a former Conservative, is representing the party. Similarly, they are forecast to win in Nigel Farage’s seat of Clacton.

They are just eight points behind in North West Norfolk, Great Yarmouth and Exmouth and Exeter East.

However, a large surge in seats for Reform will prove difficult. In the vast amount of seats where they are standing, they have consistent support in the mid-teens, far below the threshold generally needed to become the largest party.

In fewer than one in 20 seats do they manage to surpass 20 per cent of the vote, current polling suggests.

Mr Farage suggested recently that, given his party’s surge in the polls, a vote for the Conservatives is, in fact, the vote for Labour.

A clever retort to the Tory attack line, but so far there is only truth in this in a handful of places.