Sunak poll bump ‘too little, too late’ as Tories face ‘devastating’ wipeout

Rishi Sunak is on the verge of leading the Conservative Party to the worst defeat in its 346-year history, according to a new poll for The Independent.

The Techne UK survey of 5,503 voters has given Labour a 19-point lead at 40 per cent – almost twice the Tories’ 21 per cent – with just one day of campaigning left to go.

While the Conservatives have gained two points from late last week, and Labour dropped one with Reform UK also losing a point to 16 per cent, the narrowing of the polls appears to be too little, too late for Mr Sunak after a disastrous campaign.

It comes as Rishi Sunak started a 48-hour tour in the battle bus on the campaign trail by stacking shelves at Morrisons, delivering a message that only 130,000 voters were needed to stop a Labour “supermajority”.

However, according to Techne, he will only be able to rely on four in 10 Tory voters who supported Boris Johnson in the 2019 election, representing a collapse in support for the party.

While Nigel Farage’s Reform has gone slightly backwards in this poll, the data reveals that the party has taken a quarter (25 per cent) of the previous election’s Tory vote, almost four times as many as Conservative supporters who switched to Labour (7 per cent).

If this is how the election pans out, the Tories would be only the third largest party on 66 seats, behind the Lib Dems on 70, while Labour would have a majority of 284, according to Electoral Calculus. Reform would get a foothold in parliament with six seats.

Techne chief executive Michela Morizzo warned that the poll contraction in favour of the Tories is “too little, too late”.

She said: “Our last Westminster tracker poll of this general election campaign has been delivered with a very large sample audience of 5,503 potential electors. While there has over the last week to 10 days been a small contraction in the Labour lead, it is clear from our final pre-election poll that the Conservatives are heading for a defeat.

“With ‘won’t vote’ hitting an all-time high of 26 per cent of the total electorate – an incredible 44 per cent won’t vote in the age group 18-34 years – I am absolutely sure we are heading towards a significant Labour majority and change of government.

“The question is: how many Conservative voters will stay at home on Thursday? This time, more than ever, voters will decide on the route to the polling station and I feel a big uncertainty on the final results. It’s not a question about Labour, which will certainly win, but what Conservatives will do and the impact the results will have on the future of the party.”

Sunak is set to lose badly to Starmer (Getty/PA)
Sunak is set to lose badly to Starmer (Getty/PA)

The headline findings appeared to be confirmed by a Redfield and Wilton poll of 20,000 voters which also gave Labour (42 per cent) a 19-point lead over the Tories (23 per cent), with Reform on 16 per cent.

Philip van Scheltinga, Redfield and Wilton’s director of research, said: “A 19-per-cent lead for Labour just two days before election day is incredible.

“The Conservatives appear to have recovered a bit in the last week and a half, it is true, but they still have not improved relative to where they were before the election was called (their 22 per cent is one point less than they had on the first poll post-election announcement).

“Reform, meanwhile, has faltered a bit in the last week and a half, but it is still well up from where it was pre-Farage return.”

He added: “The election result will be devastating for the Conservatives. Given our polling only a week ago, it appears it could have been even worse, but that will be a very faint consolation.”

The Techne data also revealed the enormous political apathy among voters with more than a quarter (26 per cent) saying they will not vote, an increase of two points from last week. Most concerningly, almost half (44 per cent) of 18- to 34-year-olds have decided they will not vote in this general election.

Another worrying sign for the Tories is that one in five (19 per cent) of 2016 Leave voters are so disillusioned that they’ve decided not to vote. The Tories are already trailing Reform in this core group of their voters by 27 per cent to 24 per cent.

In another core group, pensioners, the Tories are trailing Labour by 33 per cent to 26 per cent – this despite claiming that Labour will start taxing pensions for the first time in history and their offering a triple lock plus state pension guarantee.

It follows a campaign littered with gaffes and missteps by the Tories, including Mr Sunak causing outrage by leaving last month’s D-Day commemorations early. The most devastating blow may have come with the gambling scandal over the election date which implicated members of Mr Sunak’s inner circle.

Attempts to scare voters over the impact of a Labour government on household finances and defence appear to have had little impact.

Leaders were preparing for a final day of campaigning on Wednesday. Sir Keir Starmer is set to attempt to seal the deal with voters with a whistlestop tour taking in Wales, Scotland and the West Midlands with a final focus on the economy.