A new Survation poll conducted for the Daily Mail has revealed that the Conservatives are on course to take the constituency of Batley and Spen from Labour on 1 July, leading Keir Starmer’s struggling party by six points.
The seat has backed Labour since 1997 when it was won by left-wing MP Mike Wood, but looks to be another part of the so-called Red Wall ripe for the taking.
The by-election was called when incumbent Labour MP Tracy Brabin was elected West Yorkshire Mayor, opening the way for a highly competitive race.
This site reported back in May how firebrand veteran left-winger George Galloway had entered the fray in an open bid to undermine the failed leadership of Labour boss Keir Starmer, and the Survation poll shows that he is indeed causing a headache by taking six percent of the vote – the Tory candidate’s exact margin of potential victory.
Survation’s polling of the Conservative vote in Hartlepool proved to be quite accurate ahead of the early May by-election – giving the Tories 49% and 50% in two polls, with the party eventually scoring 52%.
But their numbers were too optimistic for Labour, with just 29% of voters backing them in their former stronghold while Survation had the party on 42% and 33% in their two major polls.
Following the Hartlepool drubbing, a source close to Starmer said: “The message from voters is clear and we have heard it – Labour has not yet changed nearly enough for voters to place their trust in us.”
Little has apparently changed in the month and a half since, with 55% of Batley voters saying Boris Johnson would make the best Prime Minister compared to just 18% who back Starmer, and with 40% saying Boris is best for the North compared to just 32% for Sir Keir.
Voters back Boris over Starmer on Brexit policy, coronavirus, the economy, and the NHS.
They also think Johnson is stronger, more trustworthy, more intelligent, more charismatic, and has more of a clear stand – with Starmer only coming out ahead when Batley voters were asked who better understands workers.
49% also said they’d be more likely to vote Labour if the party was led by Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, and only 10% said the change at the top would make them less likely to back the party.