Rishi SunakRome today

Amid the fallout from “Partygate” and the controversial “fiscal event,” the Conservative party faces a challenging year marked by a decline in average poll standings to 26 per cent.

Despite initial attempts at recovery, including a surge in support in the first half of the year, the party’s standing plummeted following the endorsement of the privileges committee’s report on Boris Johnson’s statements regarding Partygate in June.

Subsequent “relaunches” and “resets” during the autumn failed to reverse the trend, with Reform UK emerging as a significant challenger, securing a notable 9 per cent polling rating.

Reform UK’s rise is particularly evident among 2016 Leave voters, with nearly one in five now supporting the party. Concurrently, the Conservatives witness a decrease in support within this group, falling below 40 percent for the first time. Notably, a considerable segment of 2019 Conservative voters is now divided, with 16 per cent leaning towards Reform and 17 per cent towards Labour.

While the exact reasons for Reform’s appeal are challenging to pinpoint, it may be capitalizing on discontent surrounding issues like immigration, the economy, and the health service. Disenchanted 2019 Tory voters, feeling ideologically distant from Labour, see in Reform a broader platform for protest.

Despite expectations that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s popularity might rejuvenate the Conservative Party, this has not materialized. Prime Minister Johnson’s popularity has dwindled throughout the year, and Labour maintains a consistent lead of over 15 points, briefly falling below the 20-point mark in March.

Surprisingly, Labour’s support has not surged in response to Conservative setbacks. Instead, the party’s backing has dipped by four points compared to last year, reaching its lowest level since Liz Truss assumed the role of Prime Minister. Even the initial boost in Keir Starmer’s ratings, favourably compared to Truss, has diminished, with the Labour leader consistently trailing behind his party.

The current political landscape suggests that Labour’s strength lies more in exploiting disenchantment with the Conservatives than in generating genuine enthusiasm for its offerings. As Reform UK gains ground, the Conservative party finds itself fighting on two fronts, raising questions about the stability of the pro-Brexit coalition that secured Johnson’s victory in 2019.

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