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Reform overtakes Tories in new poll

(Photo: Getty)

Here we go. This evening the Reform party has overtaken the Tories according to a new YouGov poll. The survey for the Times found that support for Nigel Farage’s party has increased by two points in the past few days to 19 per cent, with the Tories one point behind on 18 per cent. The fieldwork took place after Conservative party released its manifesto on Tuesday – therefore suggesting that the launch failed to improve Tory fortunes. The poll puts Labour on 37 per cent, meaning Keir Starmer is on course for a super majority.

So, what will this poll mean for Tory morale? As I wrote in Sunday’s Election Insider email, many Conservative candidates have seen it as a matter of when not if Reform overtook their party after Farage announced his return to frontline politics. It means it won’t come as a huge surprise to already down beat Conservatives. However, it will still deal a big blow to the party – and add to a sense of despair amongst Tories that half way into the campaign the polls are looking worse than when they started – rather than narrowing. Expect more candidates to sound alarm over the state of play as they worry the party could be reduced to double figures come 4 July – particularly if more polls show the same. Given the mixed polling on Reform so far, there will also likely now be a debate as to how various pollsters are weighting the Reform vote – with Farage accusing some of underreporting – and some Tories are sceptical whether it is as big as various polls make out.

Yet there is one ray of light in the findings. It found that 80 per cent of those backing Reform believe a very large majority for Keir Starmer would be ‘a bad thing for the country’. That suggests the Tories could be on to something with their latest messaging. In recent days, Sunak has warned against giving Labour a blank cheque while the Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has said it is time to stop Labour winning a super majority. If they can land the message with Reform voters that a vote for Reform will mean just this then some could yet switch to Tory. However, this is no sure thing – and Farage and his supporters will cease on the latest polling as evidence for his claim that his party is best placed to provide opposition to a Starmer-led Labour government.