Rishi Sunak’s threat of nuclear war failed to move voters, new poll reveals

Rishi Sunak’s attempts to kickstart the general election campaign with a threat of nuclear war and a need to have a government strong on defence and security has failed to move voters, a new poll has revealed.

The Techne UK weekly tracker poll seen by The Independent has shown that Mr Sunak’s speech at the Policy Exchange thinktank has left his party rooted on just 21 percent, unchanged from last week.

It also followed a week where pollsters - including Techne UK chief executive Michela Morizzo, Professor Sir John Curtice and Lord Hayward - all also warned that a Tory push to use “culture war” issues to win back voters would not save the Tories. Initiatives this week included tackling “woke activism” in the civil service with banning rainbow lanyards one of the measures proposed, and banning lessons about trans issues in schools.

While the tactics of Mr Sunak’s appeared to have failed Labour maintained a 23-point lead although their support fell by 1 percent to 44 percent from last week.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appears to be on his way out of 10 Downing Street (PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appears to be on his way out of 10 Downing Street (PA) (PA Wire)

Both the Lib Dems and reform UK were on 12 percent while the Greens remained the same on 6 percent.

According to Electoral Calculus, if this poll was the result of a general election, the Conservatives would be reduced to 51 seats, less than a third of their previous all time low in their 346-year history. Labour would enjoy a majority of 342.

Ms Morizzo said that nothing appears to be working for Mr Sunak in trying to shift public opinion which remains stubbornly determined to see his party booted out of office.

She said: “There very much is the feeling that the general election starter gun has been fired. With the prime minister talking some days back about the fact that there could be nuclear escalation in the world and the Labour leader coming back today with his ‘first steps’ policy pledge card, all voters could be forgiven indeed for feeling that the election is upon us already. “

Starmer launched his new pledge card (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)
Starmer launched his new pledge card (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

But she added: “It seems that the voters minds are made up and they seek a change after 14 years of Conservative rule. We all know that in politics all can happen, but this time the scenario seems to be very clear.”

The one thing that Ms Morizzo and Tory MPs believe could shift the poll is a different economic message from the party.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will try to start that turn around today with a major speech in London where he will talk about cutting taxes.

With Labour in the middle of a 48-hour campaign blitz on key battleground constituencies, privately many Conservative MPs have said they have given up or hope local factors will help them save their seats.

Added to that the polling emphasises that the Tories are coming from a long way behind.

Crucially, the Techne survey of 1,641 voters taken on Wednesday and Thursday shows that 23 percent would not vote. This includes one in 10 (10 percent) of Tory voters in 2019.

Only 42 percent of Conservative voters would still back the party and Labour leads in every age, socio economic and education level category. The 14 percent of Tories who have switched to Labour were represented yesterday by the lifelong Conservative introducing Sir Keir at his rally and two former Tory donors also speaking at the event.