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Tactical voting could prevent Boris Johnson getting a majority, pollster warns

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Sajid Javid with other members of the Cabinet at Conservative Campaign Headquarters Call Centre, London, while on the election campaign trail. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

More than half of Labour Remain voters would "vote tactically" to stop a Tory victory where they live, new research shows.

Polling of more than 10,000 people carried out last week by Populus Data Solutions (PDS) shows Remain-backing voters could switch sides to prevent a Conservative MP being elected in their constituency.

Independent crossbench peer Lord Cooper of Windrush, the chair of Populus and a former head of strategy for the Conservative Party ahead of their 2015 election victory, said this presents a problem for Boris Johnson.

He added: "With less than a week to go before polling day, two plain truths emerge from analysis of the polling.

"Firstly, there is absolutely no chance whatsoever of this election producing a majority in the House of Commons either for Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister, or to pass the irresponsible and extreme elements of his agenda that worry so many mainstream voters.

"Secondly, as shown powerfully in this big new poll, if those who say they are willing in principle to vote tactically to avert hard Brexit actually do so, there is still a real chance of preventing it."

Lord Cooper had the Tory whip suspended after he said he backed the Liberal Democrats in the 2019 European Parliament elections.

Voters were asked how they would vote if the "only parties with a realistic chance" of beating the Conservatives were either Labour or the Liberal Democrats.

Would-be Labour voters have a higher propensity to flip their vote to the Lib Dems if it meant stopping a Tory MP getting elected where they live.

Of the voters who said they definitely would cast their ballot, 44% of Labour voters would vote Lib Dem to prevent a Tory MP getting in and this rises to 52% of Remain voters.

Of those who said they were certain to vote, 30% of those backing parties other than the Conservatives or Labour - such as the Liberal Democrats or Greens - would switch their vote to Labour in a bid to stop the Tories winning in their constituency.

The figure is higher for those who voted Remain in 2016, rising to 37% willing to back Mr Corbyn's party.

The previously unpublished poll, which was fielded between November 25 to December 2 and commissioned by the pro-Remain Future Campaign, also throws fresh light on the views of 2017 Labour Leave and Conservative Remain voters.

The two groups make up almost equal slices of around 8% of the electorate.

Currently, the Tories are retaining 64% of their Remain support from 2017 but a third of them are now backing broadly Remain parties such as Liberal Democrats, Labour, the Greens or the SNP.

Labour has retained 60% of its 2017 Leave vote, with a significantly smaller proportion - less than 20% - saying their first preference is to vote Conservative.

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