LONDON — The Conservative Party enjoys a 17% lead over Labour following Theresa May’s landmark Brexit speech, according to a new YouGov poll for the Times newspaper.
May’s party is in an incredibly comfortable position. 42% said that they plan to vote for the Tories at the next election, up three per cent from YouGov’s last poll, while Labour has slumped by three per cent, to 25%.
To put the nature of the Tory lead into context, the party led Ed Miliband’s Labour by just three per cent in a poll published at this stage in the last electoral cycle, meaning the party is currently 14% better off.
Furthermore, research by academic Matt Goodwin and others suggests that Labour must lead the Tories by at least 12% in order to form a majority at the next election. On this basis, Corbyn’s Labour is 29% points behind where it needs to be. As the chart below shows, the Tories have consistently enjoyed big leads over Labour since the summer.
In her speech in Westminster on Tuesday, the prime minister outlined her vision for a “global Brexit” which would embark on a hard divorce from the European Union but remain a “best friend” to the 28-nation bloc. Her government intends to take Britain out of the single market, customs union, and European Court of Justice (ECJ).
May’s vision for a “global Britain” was received well by Brits. Over half (55%) said the prime minister’s Brexit plan would be good for Britain, with just 19% saying it wouldn’t. A clear majority of respondents have faith in May to deliver on her plan when it comes to negotiations, too. Nearly half (47% ) told YouGov they had “a fair amount/a lot” of confidence” in May to secure the deal she wants in Brexit negotiations, with 28% having little or no confidence.
A major takeaway from May’s speech was her uncoded warning to Brussels that giving Britain a bad deal would harm the interests of the 28-nation bloc. She said:
“Britain wants to remain a good friend and neighbour to Europe. Yet I know there are some voices calling for a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path.
“That would be an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe. And it would not be the act of a friend. Britain would not — indeed we could not — accept such an approach. And while I am confident that this scenario need never arise — while I am sure a positive agreement can be reached — I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.”
Brits appear to agree. Asked who needs who more, 34% said that the EU needs the UK more, compared to just 19% who claimed that the UK needs the EU more. May’s confidence, although viewed as bullish and unrealistic by many Remainers and observers elsewhere in Europe, is shared by a large number of British people.
Here is how voter intention broke down:
CONSERVATIVE: 42% (+3)
LABOUR: 25% (-3)
UKIP: 12% (-1)
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS : 11% (-)
NOW WATCH: Theresa May: ‘No partial membership of EU’
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