Tories face Blue Wall collapse

  • Research
  • 18 March 2024

More in Common Election Battleground Series - March 2024

Key Insights

  • Headline seat projections: More in Common polled 39 seats using new parliamentary constituency boundaries in the so-called ‘Blue Wall’. In 2019, the share of the vote in these seats was Conservative 51%, Labour 20% and Liberal Democrat 25%. In 2024 that vote share has shifted to Conservatives on 32%, Labour on 33% and the Liberal Democrats on 20% - putting the Labour Party ahead in the historically solid Conservative Blue Wall. On a straight swing, the Conservatives would lose half of these seats - including Cabinet Office and Northern Ireland Office Minister Steve Baker, Trade Minister Greg Hands and Children’s Minister David Johnston. The Tories would also lose all of their inner London seats including Chelsea and Fulham and the Cities of London and Westminster. 
  • Potential impact of tactical voting: However, if just one in four voted tactically, the Conservatives would lose 27 seats of the 37 they are defending, including the seats of the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Policing Minister Chris Philip. Former Prime Minister Theresa May’s seat of Maidenhead, who has announced she is standing down, would also fall to Labour.
  • Tory Brand: The Tories’ collapse in the Blue Wall is in part due to them having regained their ‘nasty party’ image with significant numbers of voters choosing the words ‘uncaring’ and ‘divided’ to describe the party as opposed to Labour or the Liberal Democrats. When compared to the national average, Blue Wall voters are more likely to think that the Tory Party is more right wing than their personal politics.
  • Rwanda: With the Rwanda policy returning to the Commons, Conservative MPs will want to consider how the policy is acting as a drag on their brand. Blue wall voters want the Conservatives to get a grip on immigration. But Rwanda ranks seventh out of eight options on measures tested on how to stop the boats. Voters are more likely to think it will be ineffective than effective, and twice as likely to think it will be bad rather than good value for money.
  • European Court of Human Rights: Blue Wall voters are twice as likely to think we should stay in the European Court of Human Rights rather than leaving it, and a plurality think that it’s not a price worth paying to implement the Rwanda scheme.  
  • Nigel Farage: Blue Wall voters don’t want to see the Tories offering Farage a senior role in the Conservative Party.
  • European Court of Human Rights vs Tory Party: Blue Wall voters have a much more positive view about the European Court of Human Rights (+8 approval rating) than they have about the Conservative party (-26 approval rating). 

Perceptions of the Conservative Party 

Polling shows the clear risks of the Conservatives regaining their nasty party image - almost half of Blue Wall voters (46 per cent) associate the word ‘uncaring’ most with the Conservative party, three times larger than the proportion of Blue Wall voters who most associate it with the Labour Party (15 per cent). 

There is also a prevailing sense among Blue Wall voters that the Conservative party is divided. Again, almost half of Blue Wall voters (47 per cent) associate the word ‘divided’ most with the Conservative party - only 22 per cent most associated the word ‘divided’ with the Labour Party. 

A significant minority of Blue Wall voters (41 per cent) also consider the Conservative Party to be ‘too right wing’ compared to their personal politics - including over a fifth who say it is ‘far too right wing’ (21 per cent). This is a larger proportion of Blue Wall voters than those who hold a similar view about whether the Labour Party is too left wing - only a third (32 per cent) of Blue Wall voters think the Labour Party is too left wing. 

When compared to the national average, Blue Wall voters are more likely to think that the Tory Party is more right wing than their personal politics (nationally 35 per cent of the public think the Conservatives are too right wing for their personal politicals, while 41 per cent of Blue Wall voters hold that view) and slightly more likely than the national average to think the Labour Party is too left wing compared to their own politics (nationally 28 per cent of the public think that Labour is too left wing; a slightly higher proportion of Blue Wall voters, 32 per cent, hold that view). 

This suggests that a turn to the right for the Conservatives risks damaging their standing among Blue Wall voters.

Voting intention / swing projection

Voting intention in the Blue Wall is roughly in line with the swing More in Common and other pollsters are seeing at a national level. Support for the Conservative party in the Blue Wall has fallen 19 points since 2019 (down from 51% to 32%), support for Labour has risen by 13 points (from 20% to 33%), support for the Liberal Democrats has fallen by 5 points (from 25% to 20%), support for the Green Party has grown slightly (from 2% to 5%) and support for Reform UK now stands at 10%. 

With Labour pulling ahead, the Conservatives are on track to lose half of these seats (19 out of 37 polled). This includes all Conservative seats in inner London.

And if tactical voting comes into play in the Blue wall, the swing could be much more damaging, if not disastrous, for the Conservatives. Around one in five Blue Wall voters (22 per cent) say they would vote for a candidate more likely to win, even if they were not their preferred candidate. This could put many more seats at risk - if one in ten of those whose chosen party is set to come third voted tactically, we predict the Conservatives would lose 22 out of 37 seats polled, and if this increased to one in five the number of predicted losses rises to 24. If the proportion voting tactically reached a quarter, the Conservatives could lose over two thirds of these seats (27 of 37 seats polled). This includes seats currently held by key figures in the party, like Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May.

Asylum and Rwanda

Rwanda ranks low on the list of policies tested on stopping the boats: out of a list of eight possible policies to stop channel crossings, the Rwanda policy ranked seventh. Stronger action tackling people smugglers is the only policy option which commands majority support (57 per cent). While more support the Rwanda plan (46 per cent) than not (32 per cent), Blue wall voters are more likely to think it is ineffective (48 per cent) than effective (38 per cent). Blue Wall voters are also more than twice as likely to think that the Rwanda plan is bad value for money (48 per cent say bad value for more money versus 22 per cent who say good value for money). This broadly reflects national trends. 

Blue Wall voters want a significant number of exemptions to be applied to the Rwanda scheme: this includes genuine refugees, women fleeing persecution, victims of modern slavery, children, people who supported British forces in Afghanistan, and people from countries experiencing civil war or conflict. 

Creating safe asylum routes is popular among Blue Wall voters: almost three in five (58 per cent) support the safe routes policy, while one in five (19 per cent) oppose it - support is also high among Conservative 2019 supporters (49 per cent support, while 26 per cent oppose).


Blue Wall voters are twice as likely to think we should stay in the European Court of Human Rights (55 per cent support staying in) rather than leaving it (only 28 per cent of Blue Wall voters support leaving the ECHR). This support also holds across people intending to vote Conservative.

Blue Wall voters do not think that leaving the ECHR would be a price worth paying to implement the Rwanda plan: 45 per cent say it would not be a price worth paying, compared to 36% who say it would be a price worth paying. 

It should be said that familiarity with the ECHR is low among Blue Wall voters - 50 per cent say they are not familiar with the role the ECHR plays in the UK, compared to 45 per cent who say they are familiar.

More broadly, Blue wall voters support the idea of international courts where people can appeal decisions if they think they have been treated wrongly by British courts (56 per cent support versus 29 percent oppose).

Broader views on immigration

Blue Wall voters have mixed views on immigration. They are generally positive about the impact that immigration has on Britain, but would also like the government to exert more control - on both small boats and reducing overall levels of migration. 

Blue Wall voters are narrowly more likely to think that immigrants have a positive (37 per cent) rather than negative impact (31 per cent) on the UK. More than half of Blue Wall voters (56 per cent) think the government should be doing more to reduce the number of immigrants coming to the UK - four times more than those who think the government should do less (13 per cent).

The key lens for Blue Wall voters on immigration is an economic one. They want to strike the right balance between lower levels of immigration and having the right workforce to grow the economy. Blue Wall voters are more than twice as likely to say that the government should focus on ‘ensuring the economy has the workforce it needs to grow even if that means less focus on immigration levels’ (a view supported by three in five Blue Wall voters, 61 per cent) compared to focusing on reducing immigration levels even if that means shrinking the available workforce to grow the economy (a view held by only three in ten Blue Wall voters, 30 per cent).

Views on politicians, political parties and institutions

Voters in the Blue Wall have negative views about the main political parties and the main national leaders - however, they take a less critical view than the national average. The approval ratings for the political parties and political leaders in the Blue wall are as follows: 

  • Liberal Democrats -2% 
  • Labour -4% (-6% nationally)
  • Starmer -6% (-10% nationally)
  • Davey -10%
  • Sunak -18% (-32% nationally)
  • Conservatives -26% (-35% nationally)

Given the clear electoral challenges facing Sunak in the lead up to the general election, these approval ratings are significantly better than the broader national approval picture that Sunak faces. However, to win these voters over, Sunak needs to reflect on the balance they take across a range of issues from growing the economy to stopping the boats to reducing net migration levels. 

Blue Wall voter’s verdict on Farage 

Blue Wall voters are almost twice as likely to say that the Conservative Party should not offer Nigel Farage a senior role (48 per cent) than say he should have a senior role (26 per cent). Nigel Farage holds a net negative approval rating with Blue Wall voters. At -15 per cent, this is only slightly less negative than Rishi Sunak’s approval rating.

Positive views about most institutions in the Blue Wall 

Voters in the Blue Wall have a broadly positive view about many of our national institutions - including legal institutions such as the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Voters in the Blue Wall take a more positive view about the European Court of Human Rights (+8 approval rating) than they do about the Conservative Party (-26 approval rating) 

Ed Davey underperforming 

Despite the Conservative woes the Liberal Democrats are actually falling backwards in terms of a share of the vote, and only gaining seats because the Conservatives are falling further behind. Even in seats where they are clearly second to the Conservatives their share of vote has fallen. 

This could be driven by perceived underperformance of Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey. In those seats where Liberal Democrat came second in 2019, 27% say Ed Davey is doing a bad job while only 10% say he is doing a good job and 35% don’t know.

When a series of words are tested, Blue Wall voters are more likely to associate weak with the Liberals Democrats (27% who associate weak with the Liberal Democrats compared to 19% who associate weak with the Labour Party) and are also less likely to consider the Liberal democrats competent (only 13% of Blue wall voters associate competence with the Liberal Democrats, compared to 23% who associate competence with the Conservatives and 24% who associate it with Labour). 

As such, seats that you might expect to be gains for the Lib Dems are going to Labour instead.

“Conservative support in the Blue Wall has collapsed with the result that seats that have long been considered safe for the Conservatives such as Tunbridge Wells and Mid Sussex are now at risk. It’s particularly bad news for the Chancellor with our polling finding with a modest amount of tactical voting he would find himself out of a job at the election. What’s more interesting is why the Conservative collapse has happened, Blue Wall voters are rejecting a party they see as uncaring and divided. As the Rwanda Bill returns to the House of Commons on Monday, Tory MPs will need to be alive to the fact that there is limited appetite for the Government to break international law or to undermine our position on the world stage.

Luke Tryl, UK Director, More in Common


Fieldwork: 20th February - 2nd March 2024

Method: Online survey

Sample: 1,005 adults in 39 Blue Wall seats, weighted by age/sex, ethnicity, education level, and 2019 vote

Seat selection criteria: The Conservative-held seats with the largest total swing towards Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the 2017 and 2019 General Elections

More in Common is grateful for the input and analysis of Steve Akehurst which we have drawn on in both the selection of seats and the analysis. Steve’s initial research into the Blue Wall can be found here and his recent update can be found here.

Constituency-by-constituency results

Please note actual seat dynamics may vary particularly between Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the context of a general election campaign.