Boris Johnson has opened up a commanding lead over Jeremy Corbyn on the NHS despite the Labour leader’s attempt to ‘weaponise’ claims last week that the Health Service would be carved up by Donald Trump.
Mr Johnson’s Conservatives now hold a six-point lead when voters are asked which party would be best for the NHS, after years of Labour traditionally being the most trusted party on health.
The lead appears to vindicate Tory strategists’ decision to ‘fight on Corbyn’s own turf’ by highlighting the extra £34 billion-a-year in funding for the NHS that the Government has pledged by 2024.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a point at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge on Thursday. And a poll shows 40 per cent feel Conservatives are best for the NHS, above Labour
Labour has traditionally been the more trusted party for health. In the most complex General Election, tactical voting and Brexit allegiances are expected, according to experts
It comes after Mr Corbyn seized on remarks by President Trump last week when he said that ‘certain aspects’ of the prospective post-Brexit trade deal with Washington would be problematic. Labour claimed it was an indication that public services such as the NHS would be sold off to US firms as the price of a deal, something which Mr Johnson strongly denied.
The Deltapoll survey gives the Conservatives an overall 12-point lead over Labour, with the Tories now on 40 per cent and Mr Corbyn’s party on 28 per cent.
In the most complex General Election battle for a generation – widespread tactical voting is expected and Brexit allegiances cut across traditional party loyalties – experts say it is almost impossible to turn simple vote shares into Commons seats.
But a uniform national swing at the Election in line with our poll would give Mr Johnson a majority of 64, with the Tories on 357, Labour on 208, the SNP on 21 and Others on 64.
When voters are quizzed about the leadership qualities of Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn, which in previous Elections has been a reliably strong indicator of the final result, Mr Johnson has a commanding lead: 68 per cent of people think that Mr Corbyn is doing badly, compared with 25 per cent who think he is doing well – a dire rating of minus 43. Mr Johnson, however, edges into positive territory, with a rating of plus two.
The Prime Minister also receives strong backing in the poll for his Brexit strategy, the reason he was forced to trigger the Election in the first place, in an attempt to end the gridlock in the Commons that prevented his deal with the EU being passed. A total of 51 per cent of voters say the Conservatives are best for Brexit, compared with just 26 per cent for Labour.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson drinks from an NHS mug during his visit to Watford General Hospital, following recent announcements on new funding for the NHS
Former Brexiteer Mr Corbyn has struggled to align his private views with those of his predominantly pro-Remain MPs.
A regional breakdown of voting intention suggests that Mr Johnson is already making inroads into traditional opposition heartlands.
The Tories are ahead by 34 per cent to 31 per cent in London, which is routinely referred to as a Labour city, and an astonishing 49 per cent to 17 per cent in Wales.
The only region in which the Tories trail Labour is the North, where Mr Johnson needs to pick up seats to compensate for expected losses to the Liberal Democrats in the South West and to the SNP in Scotland. Our poll puts Nicola Sturgeon’s party on 27 per cent north of the border, with the Tories on 24 and Labour on 22.
However, Deltapoll says small sample sizes in the regions mean the results should be treated with some caution.
Mr Farage’s threat on Friday to wreck Mr Johnson’s Election hopes by standing a Brexit Party candidate in every seat unless he agrees to scrap the withdrawal agreement he struck with Brussels forced the Prime Minister to repeat his vow not to strike a deal with Mr Farage.
The poll shows that if the Brexit Party was not an option for voters, the Conservative lead would stretch to 16 points, with the Tories up to 46 per cent and Labour also up, but only to 30 per cent.
Currently, fewer than one in ten voters say they plan to vote tactically but that figure is expected to rise as Remain and Leave supporters step up their campaigns.
Despite fears in Downing Street that the Conservatives could be punished for calling the Election, a total of 56 per cent support the poll on December 12, against 27 per cent who oppose it.
lDeltapoll interviewed 1,500 British adults online between October 31 and November 2, 2019. Data has been weighted to be representative of the British adult population as a whole.
No party in history has come back from such dismal ratings on leadership to win
By Joe Twyman, Co-Founder of Deltapoll
And we’re off! The third national Election campaign in five years has finally begun and the Conservatives look to be in a strong position in the polls.
But there is a long way to go and the battle that Boris Johnson faces to stay in power has really only just begun.
The polls have been moving in the Conservatives’ favour since Mr Johnson became Prime Minister, and Deltapoll’s latest results in today’s Mail on Sunday have the Conservatives on 40 per cent, slightly down on their share of the vote in the 2017 Election, but well ahead of Labour on 28 per cent.
Behind the headline figures the situation continues to look good for the Conservatives generally, and Boris Johnson in particular, based on the underlying data. Nearly half (48 per cent) of people say the Prime Minister is doing well in his job compared to only a quarter (25 per cent) who say the same for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Similarly, when given the choice between the two main parties, the Conservatives are seen as the best party, by some distance, to deal with the issue of Brexit and to manage the economy.
It has never been the case in the history of British politics that a party has come from behind on both leadership and economic management ratings to win the most seats at a General Election, so the data is on Mr Johnson’s side.
With six weeks to go, however, things could all change. We are only at the very start of the campaign and polls are not a prediction, only ever a snapshot of public opinion at that specific moment – and they are all subject to a margin of error.
The graphic above shows how UK voters back Prime Minister Boris Johnson over Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
The 2017 General Election demonstrated just what a potential difference the campaign can make to the end result.
The Conservatives enjoyed a large lead in the polls over Labour at the start of that campaign, but while Mr Corbyn exceeded expectations and the Labour Party’s position improved, Theresa May was to be found wanting.
This time around, the situation is different. While both leadership candidates were relatively unknown in 2017, Mr Corbyn has now been in the job for more than four years and Mr Johnson has been among the best-known politicians in Britain for much longer, albeit not as Prime Minister.
Jeremy Corbyn has held his post for more than four years and Boris Johnson has been among the best-known politicians, making for an extremely tense general election
Will Mr Corbyn be able to turn around Labour’s fortunes in 2019 the way he did two years ago?
Will the Conservatives make the same sort of mistakes as previously? Only time will tell.
Throughout the campaign, Deltapoll and The Mail on Sunday will be tracking all the key results to see the direction in which things are moving and identify the important trends – separating the turning points from the talking points.
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