Will Reform UK win any seats?

Reform leader Richard Tice announced Reform would stand in 630 constituencies and that they currently have 500 candidates selected. But how will they fare?

Yesterday Nigel Farage announced he will not stand for Reform UK in the general election. Farage is the founder and honorary president of the party and there was widespread speculation he would make an eighth attempt to become an MP. Although he is stepping back from his role as a presenter on GB News to support the party throughout the campaign, his decision will be well-received by the Conservatives.


National Picture

Reform currently poll 8% nationally and are peeling off around one in six of the Conservative’s 2019 voters.


Tice described the upcoming contest as the ‘immigration election’. Immigration ranks fourth in our election issues tracker, lagging behind the cost of living, NHS / health, and the economy generally. Reform are not trying to win the election, they are attempting to mobilise a specific portion of the electorate for whom immigration is particularly salient. Many of those voters backed the Conservatives in 2019.


Our March MRP did not show Reform winning any seats, although they placed second in seven constituencies.


Each of these seven constituencies is predicted to be a comfortable Labour victory, and notional estimates on the new boundaries suggest Labour would have won all seven in 2019 (although the Conservatives won Hartlepool in a 2021 by-election).

While we did not forecast any Reform victories in March, the party will impact the election principally by taking votes from the Conservatives. Reform UK currently attracts 15-18% of 2019 Conservative voters, which is marginally fewer than those switching to Labour. We find that Reform perform best in the constituencies where the Conservatives are currently set to lose the most votes.

Our March MRP had the Conservatives winning 98 seats. When we presented respondents with a scenario in which Reform did not stand in their constituency, the Conservative seat count rose to 150. Sunak will need to squeeze the Reform vote hard, but thus far Reform have taken an aggressive tone on the Government’s record. The Brexit Party stood aside in Conservative held seats in 2019; this time around the pressure from the right is fierce.


Will Reform UK win any seats?

Reform have gathered significant attention in the national media, yet their ground campaign – and electoral performance – has been lacklustre to date. So what are the chances they win any seats?


The party acquired former Conservative MP Lee Anderson in March. Anderson won Ashfield from Labour in 2019 and holds a 12.4% majority over the Ashfield Independents. Our MRP estimates from the same month as Anderson’s defection, however, suggests Labour are on course for a comfortable win.


Richard Tice has announced he will stand in Boston and Skegness. UKIP were the runners up here in 2015 with their second strongest performance of the election, winning 33.8% of the vote. Notional estimates suggest the Conservative MP Matt Warman would have won 76.43% of the vote in 2019 and holds a 60.87% lead over Labour. Warman holds the second largest majority of any Conservative MP, trailing only Sir John Hayes in South Holland and the Deepings. Boston and Skegness is also the constituency with the highest proportion of 2016 leave voters, with an estimated 76.2% voting leave.


Our March MRP had the Conservatives holding the seat on 35%, with a 6 point lead over Labour. Reform trailed in third place on 22%. The seat is a sufficiently three-way contest that Tice will have a chance, and the demographics of the seat are favourable to Reform.


But there is a problem. Tice has nowhere close to the personal brand of Farage. This week we tested the facial recognition of the duo by showing respondents an image of the two men individually. Shown an image of Farage, 86% were able to correctly identify him. Shown an image of Tice, only 22% put a name to the face. Furthermore, just 28% know that Tice is the leader of Reform UK.



While Tice has a fighting chance, our polling has shown Farage would have been Reform's best hope of winning a seat were he to stand in Clacton. Clacton is the only seat in Britain where UKIP won a greater portion of the vote in 2015 than Boston and Skegness. It has the fourth highest proportion of leave voters of any constituency (71.8%) and the Conservative MP Giles Watling currently has the ninth largest Conservative majority (56.3%).


Our March MRP showed the Conservatives holding onto the seat by 10 points.


When we conducted a telephone poll of the constituency in January, we similarly found the incumbent Giles Watling led an unnamed Labour candidate by 8 points, with Reform trailing in third place on 18%. Yet when constituents were presented with Farage as the Reform UK candidate, the party went from merely splitting the Conservative vote to winning the seat. Half of all Conservative voters said they would vote for Farage if he were to stand as would 51% of leave voters. Replacing Anthony Mack with Nigel Farage saw twice the number of Conservatives and Leavers express the intention to vote for Reform UK. 


Farage standing would have been Reform’s best chance of winning a seat. Given he has ruled this out, Tice represents Reform’s best opportunity in Boston and Skegness. Ultimately, however, it is probable the party ends up with no MPs. 


CCHQ will be delighted Farage is not standing. His personal brand is far stronger than Tice’s and would have undoubtedly attracted outsized media attention. That said, Reform will take votes from the Conservatives and could prove decisive in a number of constituencies. The Prime Minister’s announcement might have caught Reform by surprise, but the party is still intending to stand 630 candidates. 


Our March MRP identified 89 constituencies where the Conservatives are second place and within 5 points of the winning party.  In 2019, the Conservatives won all 89 constituencies. The average Reform UK vote share in these seats is currently 8.2%, splitting the Conservative’s vote in favour of opposition parties. Farage’s decision may be favourable to the Conservatives, but the Reform UK problem persists.


Get the data

Survation conducted a constituency poll of 509 people living in Clacton aged 18+. Fieldwork was conducted between 9th - 12th January 2024. Data tables are available here. 

Survation conducted a online poll of 1,021 adults aged 18+ in the UK. Fieldwork was conducted between 21st - 23rd May 2024. Tables are available here.


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