New polling on Labour’s 2019 defeat reveals scale of task ahead for party

Elliot Chappell

A new poll released by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft into the reasons why Labour lost the last election has revealed the extent of the challenge facing the party.

The research revealed that defectors from Labour thought the top reasons for the defeat included Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn and that the party no longer representing its traditional voters.

Respondents were asked to identify, on a scale of one to ten, how important a number of selected factors were in explaining the outcome for Labour.

People who switched from Labour to Tory at the last election ranked Brexit top at 7.8 while Jeremy Corbyn not being an appealing leader received a rating of 7.6.

Other factors included divisions with the Labour Party (7), that the party no longer represented its traditional support base (6.9) and that Labour’s election promises were unbelievable (6.7).

Of five statements about the party, the one that respondents most agreed with was that Labour “never really understood why so many people voted to leave the EU”.

More than two thirds of all voters agreed with the above, including nearly nine out of ten of the voters that defected to the Tories in the election.

Among voters generally, Corbyn was listed as the top reason for the party’s defeat in last December’s general election with a score of 7.7.

75% of people who switched to from Labour to Tory in 2019 cited not wanting Corbyn as a Prime Minister as a reason and this was closely followed by Brexit, given as a reason by 73%.

More than half of this group of voters said that they previously identified as Labour or thought of them as their party, but did not anymore.

The top five reasons given by Labour members were: Brexit (8.7); negative coverage in the media (8.4); that voters believed Conservative lies (8.1); the electorate didn’t understand what was at stake and what a Tory government would mean for them (7.7); and voters’ bigoted views about race and immigration (6.9).

When asked why those who voted Labour did so, the most frequently given reason – by 71% of people – was that they did not want a Conservative government.

The NHS ranked second highest at 63%, while wanting a second referendum on Brexit was selected as a reason by only 40% of people.

The research commissioned by the former chairman of the Conservative Party surveyed a total of over 10,000 voters and more than 1,000 Labour Party members.

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