Two-thirds of voters want early election, megapoll shows

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Nearly two-thirds of voters want Rishi Sunak to hold an early election by May as Britons increasingly want to have their say on the direction of the country, major new polling shows.

A poll of more than 10,000 people reveals that just one in six – 17 per cent – believe the Prime Minister should wait until autumn to go to the polls, with more than a third – 36 per cent – saying an election should take place as soon as possible.

The survey by Focaldata, shows the scale of the challenge Mr Sunak faces in trying to win round the electorate, with voters stating that they believed Sir Keir Starmer would make the best prime minister when given the choice in 390 constituencies, including the Tory leader’s own Richmond and Northallerton seat in North Yorkshire.

Just four constituencies, Braintree, Castle Point, Clacton and North Bedfordshire backed Mr Sunak as making the best prime minister, while 238 seats said they did not know.

It comes as speculation has grown that Mr Sunak could opt for a spring election after he set an earlier than expected date for the Budget of 6 March.

According to the figures, 35 per cent of respondents said they would vote Labour at the next election, with just 19 per cent planning to vote Conservative, while as many as 15 per cent said they were still undecided.

The scale of undecided voters provides the Prime Minister with a glimmer of hope that he can turn his fortunes around ahead of the next election, despite the Conservatives remaining 17 to 18 percentage points behind Labour in national polls.

When examined more closely, the data shows that the “narrow path to victory” often spoken about by Mr Sunak remains as the majority of undecided voters lean more heavily towards voting Tory.

Of the 15 per cent who say they are still undecided, 38 per cent said they voted Conservative at the 2019 election, while just 11 per cent said they backed Labour.

But what will boost Sir Keir is that he is the preferred choice over Mr Sunak for prime minister in 52 out of 57 seats in Scotland. Should Labour secure a greater share of constituencies north of the border then it will dramatically strengthen the party’s chances of securing a majority.

The megapoll also showed that in the vast majority of seats, voters wanted a closer relationship with the EU with Sir Keir as prime minister. Just 9 per cent of voters wanted a more distant relationship with Brussels.

Naomi Smith, CEO of Best for Britain, which commissioned the polling, said: “The message in our polling from voters is clear – they want an election, they think Brexit has hurt them in their pockets, and they’re prepared to vote tactically for change. Labour may be on course for a victory, but under our broken electoral system nothing can be taken for granted.”

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