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Seven million could vote tactically at next General Election mainly to target Tories

The next General Election is expected in spring or autumn 2024  (PA Wire)
The next General Election is expected in spring or autumn 2024 (PA Wire)

Around seven million people could vote tactically at the next General Election, a new poll suggested on Thursday.

The Ipsos survey for The Standard found that one in three (34 per cent) say they are likely to vote for a party which is not their first choice to keep another party out.

Eighteen per cent state that they are “very likely” to do so.

But some of these people will almost certainly end up not voting in this way or at all, given turnout rates.

So drilling down further into the figures, 21 per cent of adults who are deemed likely to vote (those who say they are 9/10 certain to cast a ballot at the next election, and usually vote) go on to state that they are “very likely” to do so tactically.

This equates to 13 per cent of adults overall, and around 6.7 million people in Britain.

Allowing for a margin of error, the figure could range between 5.2 million to 8.3 million.

Although not directly comparable, the month before the December 2019 General Election 14 per cent of voters said they were voting tactically, suggesting that slightly more are considering the prospect now, with the next election expected in spring or autumn 2024.

Tactical voting could swing a number of key marginal seats.

The likelihood of tactical voting is higher among Labour supporters, at 44 per cent, and those of the Liberal Democrats/other parties, 45 per cent, but just 22 per cent for Tory backers.

The Conservatives are the main targets of the practice, with two thirds saying it is likely they will vote tactically stating that it is to keep out the Tories.

In contrast, 22 per cent cite to keep out Labour, six per cent the Lib-Dems, and four per cent the Scottish National Party (mainly in Scotland).

Just over two thirds of supporters of parties other than the Tories and Labour who might vote tactically say they would do so to keep out Rishi Sunak’s party, and 27 per cent Sir Keir Starmer’s.

More people think there would be chaos under a Conservative government with no majority (54 per cent) than under a Labour one (41 per cent) with such a political make-up in the Commons.

Overall, half of adults would prefer one party to win an overall majority at the next election, 20 per cent a coalition and seven per cent a minority government.

Far more Tory and Labour supporters prefer a party to win an overall majority, 71 per cent and 62 per cent respectively, compared to just 27 per cent of those voting for the Lib-Dems or other smaller parties.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos UK, said: “After the local elections, tactical voting is becoming a key question in British politics. We aren’t in election mode yet so people’s decisions aren’t fully-formed, but at the moment it is the Conservatives who are looking most vulnerable to voters acting out of negative partisanship to keep one party out.”

He added: “Whilst their attack that a Labour-led coalition would bring chaos does have some traction among their previous supporters, overall the public are more worried about the prospects of a Conservative-led one.

“Even among the Conservatives’ own 2019 base, half think a Conservative government with no overall majority would lead to instability.”

Ipsos interviewed 1,006 adults in Britain by phone between May 10 and 16. Data are weighted. More details at www.ipsos.com