Farage and Brexit party top Westminster election poll for first time

Brexit party leader Nigel Farage (centre) celebrates being elected to the European parliament. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

Survey by Opinium suggests Nigel Farage would be 20 seats short of a majority, with Conservatives reduced to 26 MPs

01 Jun 2019 | Michael Savage | The Guardian

Nigel Farage’s Brexit party has surged into first place as voters’ favourites, according to a new poll. It is the first time the party has achieved top position in a national poll. The results suggest hundreds of Conservative seats are at risk.

The Brexit party’s support increased by two points to 26% of the vote in the latest Opinium poll – for the Observer – which asked people how they would vote in the next Westminster election.

Labour is in second place on 22%, but its support has fallen by seven points over the past two weeks. The Tories are third on 17%, with their support down five points, and the Lib Dems are up five points, on 16% of the vote.

These results come after a poll last week put the Lib Dems in first place, in another sign that parties with a clear position on Brexit are gaining supportwhile the Conservatives and Labour continue to grapple with their stances on leaving the EU. Both parties are under pressure to set out their pro-Brexit or pro-Remain positions more unequivocally.

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According to a seat predictor by the Electoral Calculus website, the result would leave Farage 20 seats short of a majority, with 306 MPs. The Conservatives would be reduced to 26 MPs, suggesting they could be the minor party in a coalition with Farage. However, inconsistent swings in different seats make any such predictions very difficult.

There is good news for the Greens, who are up eight points to 11% of the vote, but not all the news for the pro-Remain parties is positive. Change UK recorded just 1% support, down two points on Opinium’s previous poll. Most Remain voters (54%) said that Change UK MPs should join the Liberal Democrats to present a united front against Brexit.

Theresa May and Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn continue to have incredibly low ratings on the question of who would make the best prime minister. Both are on only 15%, with a record 60% failing to back either party leader.

On balance, 45% of the public think May has done a bad job as prime minister, with only a quarter (24%) saying she has done a good job. Half (49%) also think that no one else in her position as prime minister would have done a better job in the circumstances that she faced.

In the Tory leadership race, Boris Johnson has the most support (24%) among Conservative voters to be the party’s next leader. The other standout choice is Michael Gove, with 14%.

Adam Drummond, from Opinium, said: “All of the big winners from the European elections have seen some sort of a boost, with the Brexit party adding another two points to move into first place, while Labour have fallen back significantly. While the Lib Dems have experienced a boost, the underreported story from the elections and since then has been the Greens, who have gained eight points since our last poll.

“While the Brexit party and the Lib Dems have been taking votes from Leavers and Remainers respectively, the Greens are unique in taking votes from both sides of the Brexit divide.

“While the usual caveats should apply about how much to read into Westminster voting intention polls, given the proximity to the European elections, the fact is that we might be less than six months out from a general election so these might become relevant very quickly.”

Opinium polled 2,005 people online from 28-30 May.

Original Link: Brexit party tops Westminster election poll for first time

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