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Guildford Named as a ‘Knife-edge’ Seat in YouGov Poll of the ‘Blue Wall’

Published on: 31 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 31 Jul, 2021

Guildford is one of the “blue wall” Conservative seats that could be threatened by the unpopularity of Tory policies, according to a YouGov poll.

This extract from a YouGov map shows the Guildford constituency coloured pale blue and categorised as “knife-edge”. The 53 seats that make up the blue wall are defined as: currently held by the Conservatives; voted Remain in 2016; and have a higher-than-average concentration of degree holders in the population (25%+). Image YouGov

It is one of 16 South East and East of England constituencies named as at risk if an election was held tomorrow, because the overall Tory vote share has dropped eight points in the area since November 2019 when the general election was held. The Conservative majority in Guildford decreased by 10% since the previous election in 2017 when Anne Milton secured over 50% of the votes cast.

Boundary changes have also been proposed by the Boundaries Commission which could make Guildford even more marginal.

The bar graph shows the current party standings in the blue wall area compared with the position at the time of the previous general election in November 2019.

Currently, the vote intention in the blue wall stands at 44% for the Conservatives, 24% for Labour, 18% for the Liberal Democrats, 9% for the Greens, and 6% for other parties according to the YouGov poll based on a sample of 1,141 residents.

As well as Guildford, other constituencies named as at risk or “knife-edge” include the current Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s seat in nearby Esher and Walton as well as Cambridgeshire South, City of London, Westminster. Wycombe (held by former leader of the European Research Group and prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker, and Conservative since 1951), Chingford and Woodford Green (represented by former Cabinet Minister and Vote Leave campaigner Sir Iain Duncan Smith), and Chipping Barnet (another former Cabinet Minister – Theresa Villiers, held by the Conservatives since 1974).

Another finding of the poll is relatively weak support in the area for Boris Johnson. Asked, “Who would make the best prime minister?” 35% choose Boris Johnson compared to 31% for Keir Starmer. This is largely in line with the 33% and 28% respectively those figures among all Britons.

In more evidence that the blue wall is drifting away from its normally reliable Tory-supporting position only 32% believe that the government is taking the country in the right direction while nearly half, 47%, think “the wrong direction”.

55% thought the Conservative party is out of touch and perhaps most crucially in Guildford, given the unpopularity of the Local Plan, a majority (54%) believe that the government does not listen to people in their area (27% think the government does listen to them) and while they believe that more houses are needed nationally, (55% support, 37% oppose), they are less keen to see homes built in their local area (43% support, 52% oppose).

Another finding was that on climate change, YouGov found that around three-quarters (72%) of all blue wall residents believe that tackling global warming should be a top priority for the government (10% opposed the suggestion).

And blue wall residents would vote to re-join the EU in a hypothetical referendum by a slim margin: 47% say they would vote for the UK to return to the EU, while 42% say they would vote to remain outside.

Voters in these “true blue” constituencies think the government has handled Brexit badly (56% badly, 38% well), and that it was the wrong decision to leave in the first place (52% wrong, 40% right).

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Responses to Guildford Named as a ‘Knife-edge’ Seat in YouGov Poll of the ‘Blue Wall’

  1. RWL Davies Reply

    August 2, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Unless the protracted governmental “omnishambles” is resolved with a return to a fully functioning economy, Guildford will have a Lib Dem MP after the next general election with at least a 50% chance of a Labour/SNP/LibDem/PC/Green coalition government.

    What on earth could go wrong with that?

  2. Brian Creese Reply

    August 2, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    Guildford Labour has long believed that the demographic shift caused by people moving out of London to Guildford will eventually bring a Labour MP to this constituency.

    We have had excellent local candidates recently who have been very popular, but many of our supporters believe the Lib Dems are more likely to win than Labour.

    I hope the debacle of the last general election will show them that the only way to beat Tories is to vote Labour. I think these trends are clearly shown in the bar graphs above.

    Brian Creese is chair of Guildford Labour Party

  3. Stuart Barnes Reply

    August 3, 2021 at 9:16 am

    There is still time for the so called “Conservative” Party to try becoming an actual Conservative Party.

    It is obvious that if the Boris party continues to follow the ridiculous policies of the Liberals and other even further left parties, the results, as far as the voters and elections are concerned, will not be good.

  4. David Roberts Reply

    August 4, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    But, Mr Barnes, this is by far the most right-wing British government in history. Lord Liverpool’s perhaps comes closest, but was not nearly as ideological.

  5. David Pillinger Reply

    August 5, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    Brexit is coming to bite the Conservatives in seats with a high level of business and City executives and employees.

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