Conservative Party Faces Crushing Defeat in Pre-Election Polls

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party is projected to experience its most significant electoral setback in over a century.

The UK’s ruling Conservative Party is facing a potential “electoral extinction,” according to several polls released in British media over the weekend. Amid Sunak’s low approval ratings, two polls indicated Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party is surging to third place.

An Opinium poll published in The Observer on Saturday revealed that 40% of likely voters would choose the Labour Party in the upcoming July 4 election. Another 23% said they would vote Conservative, while 14% expressed support for Reform UK candidates, outperforming the Greens (7%) and Liberal Democrats (12%).

A Telegraph poll released on the same day presented even less favorable outcomes for Sunak’s party, with 46% of likely voters favoring Labour, 21% opting for the Conservatives, and 13% choosing Reform UK. 

These results represent the Conservatives’ weakest performance in a Telegraph poll in the past five years, while Labour’s 25-point lead is the party’s largest since October 2022, when Conservative Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned following the introduction of a widely criticized mini-budget. Reform’s share in both polls marks its highest since the party’s inception in 2021.

A more comprehensive poll conducted by Survation for the Times projected Labour winning 456 out of 650 parliamentary seats, leaving the Conservatives with only 72 seats. In contrast, the Conservatives secured 365 seats in 2019, a majority of 80 seats, marking their best result since 1987.

Securing just 72 seats would represent the party’s worst outcome in its 200-year history. The Conservatives’ previous low point occurred in 1906, when under the leadership of Arthur Balfour, they won 156 seats compared to the Liberal party’s 397.

Sunak called for the election last month, preceding the release of economic data indicating that inflation was unlikely to meet his government’s target. Similar to Truss and Boris Johnson before him, Sunak has overseen a significant decline in British living standards and a rise in energy costs and inflation, both of which escalated after the UK severed ties with Russian fossil fuels in 2022.

With three weeks remaining before the election, some Conservatives have criticized Reform UK and its leader, Nigel Farage, for splitting the right-wing vote. “The only wasted vote is a Conservative vote,” Farage retorted last week, following a separate poll that positioned Reform as the country’s second-largest party. “We’re heading north and the Tories are heading south,” he continued, declaring that “the people’s revolt is just gathering momentum.”