Mid Bedfordshire By-Election Update
Survation conducted a telephone survey of 559 Mid Bedfordshire constituents on behalf of Labour Together between the 12th and 15th of September. The poll shows that the Conservative vote share at the Mid-beds by-election may collapse some 50% from that achieved by Nadine Dorries at the 2019 General Election, putting the seat in play for either the Labour Party or the Lib Dems. The manner that tactical voting plays out looks certain to determine whether the Conservatives can cling on, or not.
Headline voting intention suggests a very close race between the Conservatives (29%) and Labour (29%), with the Liberal Democrats third with a 22% share.
Less than half (48%) of 2019 CON voters are likely to support the Conservative candidate, Festus Akinbusoye, in this by-election, and so with just over a month left until polling day, the tactical voting trend among the opposition parties will be key. Currently, 29% of those expressing a party preference indicate that they are not voting for their first choice party, rather are voting in order to keep another party out.
Tactically vote – but for whom?
A key question for this sizable group of the electorate therefore is “which party is best placed to win”? The polling shows that the Liberal Democrats have done a slightly better job so far in attracting 2019 Conservative voters than has Labour, however the party has the challenge of coming from a smaller base of prior support – just 13% of Mid-Beds voted Lib Dem in 2019, compared to 22% of the constituency voting Labour. Were this election to be held tomorrow, Labour’s neck and neck polling status with the Conservatives would make a tactical Labour vote look more sensible to defeat the Conservatives.
Unsurprisingly, the majority (68%) of those who report that they will vote tactically are doing so in order to keep the Conservatives out. This makes up a fifth (19%) of all voters who expressed a vote choice in our poll.
While one in four tactical voters are also reporting doing so to keep the Labour party out, the vast majority of those (85%) are 2019 CON voters.
Given the climate in Mid Beds, in order to cling on, it would make sense for the Conservatives to mobilise their 2019 cohort to the polls on the 19th of October in order to avoid a low turnout-based defeat. Those intending to vote for the party next month are more likely to provide a likelihood to vote lower than 5 (20%) than supporters of the other two main contestants.
On the question of who is best placed to win the seat against the Tories, those who are voting tactically against the Conservatives (caution small numbers) are split between Labour (51%) and the Lib Dems (40%). Given this, both parties have an opportunity to make their case to those who have not already decided their vote. This group makes up a large share of the electorate, as almost 1 in 3 (29%) of those likely to vote on the 19th of October are yet to decide which party to support.
These figures won’t look like the final figures…
42% of those currently undecided told us they are certain to vote (10 out of 10) in the upcoming election, and so we would expect meaningful movement away from these headline figures come polling day.
Get the data
Survation interviewed 559 people aged 18 plus, living in the Mid Bedfordshire constituency. Interviews were mainly conducted by telephone, with a small online boost. Further details and full data tables can be viewed here.