How would the British react to a Conservative-Reform merger?

How would the British react to a Conservative-Reform merger?

Many Britons would be delighted to see the Conservatives soundly defeated, but would also be unhappy if it meant the party was overtaken or merged with Reform UK.

The Conservatives started from the idea that a big Labor victory would disappoint a significant number of voters. Calling such a result a Labor “supermajority” – a technical term in other countries’ parliamentary systems, but not one that has relevance in Britain’s House of Commons – the Tories took to social media and the airwaves to warn that Keir Starmer would be disregarded in the absence of a significant opposition party.

However, the results of a new YouGov poll show that four in ten Britons (43%) would react positively to a very large Labor majority, while just a third would react negatively (33%) – a further 15% would not mind no way. .

Unsurprisingly, 93% of current Labor voters would feel positive about this event, as would 8% of current Tory voters. In fact, with a further 12% of those who currently intend to support the Tories saying they would react neither positively nor negatively to a Labor landslide, one in five of those who currently support Sunak’s party would not be upset by their main rivals who dominate the election. result.

While the Tories may be warning of a big Labor victory, the most upsetting outcome of the election for the public would be the Tories winning a large majority. 61% of Britons would react negatively in this eventuality, with only 16% being satisfied.

Indeed, 13% of current Tory voters would also be upset by a major Tory victory, while a further 14% would be ambivalent, meaning more than a quarter of those who support the party would not be pleased to see them earn a significant victory against the odds. .

Among those who voted Conservative in 2019, four in ten (40%) would now be unhappy to see them win a large majority.

Many would welcome a substantial Tory defeat, but fear the rise of reform in Britain

The most palatable scenario of the ten I put before the public is the prospect of the Tories winning only a small number of seats. Half (47%) would react positively to such news, while only 22% would be unhappy with a major Tory defeat – 21% would be indifferent.

Again, we can see that even among those who intend to vote for Rishi Sunak’s party, there are those who would not mind an electoral battle. One in eight current Tory voters (12%) would be happy to see the Tories lose badly, while another 18% would be neither happy nor unhappy.

Also, half of Tory voters in 2019 would be happy (25%) or indifferent to (27%) a major Tory loss.

Conversely, 74% of Labor voters would be happy to see the Tories beaten.

But should they be careful what they wish for? Nigel Farage has previously spoken of his desire to force a merger of his UK Reform party and the Conservatives in a similar fashion to Canada in 1993 when the Canadian Alliance (formerly known as the Reform Party, a fact Farage says that it is not a coincidence). ) and the Progressive Conservatives merged after a historic defeat for the latter in that year’s election. The 2024 general election – with the Tories on the cusp and UK reform with all the media momentum – could provide an opportune moment for Farage to implement his plan.

A Conservative-Reform merger would be unpalatable to half of the public: 50% if the new party were led by a former Tory and 48% if it were led by Farage. Just over a third (37-39%) would be either satisfied or neutral about such a merger.

Of those who supported the Tories in 2019, most (54-57%) would be either happy or at least unfazed by a merger. Half of those who plan to support the party this year (51%) would react negatively to a merger if the resulting party was led by Nigel Farage, but this drops to 36% if one takes the reins. of the current conservatives.

The prospect of the Conservatives being organically replaced by reform in Britain, as the Liberals were by Labor in the 1920s and 1930s, is also something the British would not like. Half (48%) would react negatively to replacing the Conservatives in the years after the election as the UK’s main right-wing party, compared with 22% who would react positively and 17% who would be neutral.

Looking shorter term, a similar percentage of 46% would be upset if Reform UK were to pick up 20-30 seats – an unlikely proposition at present, with our latest MRP suggesting the party is on course to win just five (although this in itself would still be a breakthrough for Farage).

Other party scenarios

Another party that looks like it could be on the way to a major defeat is the SNP. Our MRP shows the Scottish Nationalists down to 20 seats, although the situation in Scotland is particularly marginal, with sixteen seats in the country currently listed as ‘tossups’, and the SNP could be down as many as 11 seats in our limit estimate inferior. their.

If the SNP won only a small number of seats, Britons are twice as likely to be positive (32%) than negative (15%) about it. Another 37% are not emotional at all. Scots are more torn – 38% would be happy, but 37% negative, against a reduced level of indifference of 17%.

If the Greens made a breakthrough in this election, winning 20-30 seats, then more Britons would feel positively (40%) than negatively (27%). Another 21% have no strong feelings either way.