Chequers could cost Scots Tories eleven MPs in a general election

Chequers could cost Scots Tories eleven MPs in a general election

by Brian Monteith
article from Wednesday 12, September, 2018

SCOTTISH CONSERVATIVES face a humiliating loss of as many as eleven MPs if the UK government does not accept its proposed Chequers Deal fails to deliver the Brexit voters were expecting. 

That is the only conclusion on reviewing the polling conducted by long-established Brexit campaign group Global Britain of the top 44 Conservative marginals across Britain. Carried out by IQ Research after the Chequers plan was agreed at Cabinet, the survey of 500 electors, weighted for each individual constituency and totalling 22,000 voters, found widespread opposition to the Chequers plan – enough to convince an average of ten per cent of voters to not vote for the Conservative Party candidate. 

Worse still, voters who considered themselves ‘undecided’ about how to vote – the category most likely to decide an election outcome – were even more likely to vote against the Conservatives, standing at 14 per cent. Each seat polled had enough voters questioning their support for all the sitting Conservative members to lose.

The 44 seats polled included three Scottish divisions, Stirling, Gordon and Ayr – with each individual poll of 500 weighted voters again showing enough would be likely to vote against the Conservatives for those seats to be lost.

When asked “If your local MP supported the Chequers deal, would this make you more or less likely to vote for them in an election?” the responses were – a net 19 per cent less likely in Ayr; a net 12 per cent less likely in Gordon; and a net 18 per cent less likely in Stirling – all significantly larger margins than the percentage Conservative majorities. 

The average for those three seats of 16.3% less likely to vote Conservative suggests that if similar figures were replicated across Scotland – and given the geographical spread of the constituencies that would be a reasonable assumption to make  – any Scottish Conservative MP with a majority of less than 16 per cent would be vulnerable to defeat. Such an outcome would mean the loss of eleven of the thirteen Conservative seats – Stirling; Gordon; Ayr; Ochil; Angus; Moray; East Renfrewshire; Banff & Buchan; Aberdeen South; Dumfries & Galloway; and West Aberdeenshire.

The table below shows the thirteen Scottish Conservative constituencies ranked by the percentagemajority. The Global Britain Polling only considered Stirling (0.3 per cent majority); Gordon (4.8 per cent); and Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock (6.0 per cent) – but there are two more below seven per cent and a further three below nine per cent majorities. A swing of five per cent against the Conservatives would hand over all eight of those conservative seats to opponents. A further two would be vulnerable to a six per cent swing against them. An eight per cent swing – indicated as possible by the 16.3% netaverage of voters that are likely to not support Conservatives due to Chequers – suggests eleven seats are vulnerable.

An additional concern must be that these are the netfigures, derived from those voters opposing Chequers set against those that are more likely to support a Conservative MP over Chequers.  If those disposed towards the Chequers deal are primarily supporters of opposition parties then the net total against a Chequers-supporting Conservative MP could be far worse as such voters would be unlikely to transfer their vote to a Conservative in a General Election, whereas a Conservative supporter against Chequers might vote for another party opposing Chequers (such as UKIP) or simply not vote at all (probably more likely). Taking the raw figure, the polling revealed those less likely to support their Conservative MP were 33 per cent in Ayr; 28 per cent in Gordon and in 34 per cent in Stirling – and average of 31 per cent.

Of course, when it comes to a general election, voters weigh-up many, many issues, but it cannot be doubted that the message from this polling is clear – the proposed Chequers Deal is highly toxic to Scottish Conservative supporters. As the most important issue facing the country it has the potential to convince those voters to not vote Conservative in enough numbers to lose anything between three and eleven seats.

Given the precariousness of the UK government majority – already requiring the support of the DUP – the prospect of a Conservative Party victory in any forthcoming general election must be seen as very slim. #ChequersMeansCorbyn will become more than just another hashtag.

The full reports for Ayr, Gordon and Stirling can be found at the links below.

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock

Gordon

Stirling

Summary: 500 voters in 44 constituencies, weighted to reflect the make-up of each constituency, were surveyed by telephone following the Chequers agreement in late July and August by IQ Research.

•  Voters think that Brexit is the most important issue facing the country – and are strongly dissatisfied with the government’s handling of negotiations. 

•  Most are aware of the Chequers Brexit deal, and most also oppose it.

•  They expect it will have a negative effect on both the country, and them and their families.

•  They don’t think Chequers respects the Referendum result, and they don’t think that it’s reflective of a true Brexit.

•  Consequently, respondents say that if their local MP supported the Chequers Deal, they would be less likely to support them at the next election (an average of 10 per cent in 44 marginal British seats, and an average of 16.3 per cent in the 3 the Scottish marginals polled).

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