Conservatives Continue To Lead In Pre-Election British Polling

With just days to go before the election, Boris Johnson's Conservative Party appears headed for a win that should allow him to finish Brexit.

In just four days, the United Kingdom heads to the polls for its third election in four years, one in which the fate of the nation’s exit from the United Kingdom could be decided. If the polls are to be believed, Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party appear headed for a win that will increase their position in the House of Commons:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is heading into Britain’s election next week with a lead in opinion polls, but some of the surveys also suggest that his chance of winning a parliamentary majority could be too close to call.

Four opinion polls published on Saturday put the lead of Johnson’s Conservative Party over the main opposition Labour Party at between eight and 15 points, five days before the Dec. 12 national election.

At the lowest end of that range, Johnson cannot count on winning the majority in parliament he needs to take Britain out of the European Union by Jan. 31, especially if voters choose to put aside their usual allegiances to vote tactically over Brexit.

Polling firm Savanta ComRes said Johnson’s lead over Labour had shrunk to eight points from 10 in a previous poll published on Wednesday – the tightest margin of Saturday’s four surveys.

Its head of politics, Chris Hopkins, said the final few days of the campaign could be crucial.

“The margins are incredibly tight,” he said. “The Conservative lead over Labour dropping or increasing by one or two points could be the difference between a hung parliament and a sizeable Conservative majority.”

The election pits Johnson’s plan to get Brexit done next month against Labour’s call for a second referendum on a new Brexit deal under its veteran socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Looking at the poll-trackers from Politico, The Economist, and Britain Elects, the averages all have the Conservatives leading by roughly ten points. These three poll trackers all show the Conservatives garnering anywhere between 44% and 42% of the national vote, followed by Labour which is garnering between 33% and 32%. After Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the only national party with an anti-Brexit platform is polling around 12%, which is below where it stood before the election campaign began. Meanwhile, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which at one point was ahead of the Lib Dems for third place in the national polls, is down to 2-3% in national polling. Beyond that, of course, there are regional parties such as the Scottish National Party and the Democratic Unionist Party which are strong forces in their respective regions of Scotland and Northern Ireland but aren’t really having an impact on the polls nationally.

With just days to go until Election Day, it’s obviously possible that the situation surrounding the election could change in some way that could have a huge impact on the outcome. It’s also worth noting that using national polling to predict the final composition of the House of Commons is far from being an exact science. We saw this in the 2015 and 2017 General Elections and in connection with the 2016 Brexit Election when pre-election polls did not even come close to accurately predicting the outcome of the respective races. Notwithstanding all of that, though, it is beginning to look as though Boris Johnson’s election gamble will pay off and that, at the very least, he will end up with a solid enough majority to push his Brexit bill through Parliament well before the January 31st deadline.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. grumpy realist says:

    Several other factors:
    1) high percentage of “undecided” still at this point
    2) high feeling of “oh what the hell’s the use” among everyone
    3) predicted lousy weather for day of voting

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a) low turnout (<40%) and b) thin majority for the Tories.

    And then arguing for the next year over whether the government "had a mandate" to do anything.

  2. Kathy says:

    I think the proper English term for what GB is undergoing is “Balls up.”

  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    I know nothing about the UK political system, but can’t Labour form a government with the Lib Dems, SNP and Greens? Or is there a threshold issue?

  4. @Michael Reynolds:

    In the House of Commons, as it exists today, before the election, the total membership of Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, and Greens does not add up to a majority

    Additionally, the Lib Dems have made it clear they would not join a Labour coalition where Corbyn ended up as PM

  5. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:


    But I suspect most things political, in a highly charged partisan atmosphere, can be reduced to Asimov’s Black Widower Political Principle(*): Most partisans would rather live in their own Hell, than on the other parties’ acceptable Earth.

    (*) It appears in a Black Widower mystery, more or less as “People would rather live in their own Hell than the other side’s Heaven.”

  6. Terrye Cravens says:

    I don’t think most Brits really want Brexit, but at this point they do not know how to avoid it. Also the Labor Party is lead by an anti-semitic loon. BoJo the Clown might just win by virtue of the fact that he has no real opposition.

  7. An Interested Party says:

    It’s funny how Trump called Trudeau two-faced when it’s really Trump’s boy Boris Johnson laughing at Trump who is the two-faced one…quite a depressing choice for the Brits between Johnson and Corbyn…

  8. Sleeping Dog says:


    This election is Labors best opportunity to form a government in years and it is being squandered because of Corbyn. Yet labor won’t replace him after the loss. Yes, preferring to “live in their own hell.”

  9. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Both Labour and Conservatives are afflicted by “activist capture”.
    The Corbynites, primarily the Momentum activists and the more left inclined union leaderships esp McCluskey at Unite, have now gained a lock on the Party central organisation as well as dominating many constituency branches.

    So even though a majority of Labour MP’s and voters are opposed to Corbyn and the hard left, they’re now dug in like ticks.

    It will take multiple defeats and a Party purge to shift them; most Corbynites would rather lose forever than compromise with the hated centrists. (“Blairite” is their ultimate insult).

    The only hope for rehabilitation of Labour now is that the unions eventually tire of a marginalised party, the left leaderships of the unions lose credibility, and they reshape the Party.

    In a similar way, the Brexity obsessives have become the dominant force in the Conservative Party (even more so I think than Momentum in Labour, as they are stronger among the general memberships and MPs)

  10. JohnSF says:

    I was thinking that national polls might be underestimating a potential swing to LibDems in Remain voting Con/Lib marginals, but most recent local polls don’t show enough movement to cause an upset.

    In fact the “left of centre” vote bloc seems to be steady overall, with Labour advancing at LibDem expense, and “right of centre” bloc also static but with UKIP/BXP vote collapsing in favour of Conservatives, and enough “floating Leavers” inclining Con to put a enough Lab/Con marginals going Tory for a victory.
    (Massive irony alert: Remainers now hoping Farage’s BXP vote outperforms predictions!)

    Unless there is an unprecedented level of anti-Tory tactical voting by centre/left/Remain voters it looks like a Conservative win is best bet now.

    I still doubt they’ll win a double digit majority though; feeding the polls into electoral prediction models shows Con lead of 40 to 50 seats (actually down from 75 odd average predict at start of campaign).
    But my guess is still that a combination of LibDem votes, tactical voting, and Labour vote inertia, will hold Johnson to a lead of less than 20.