ANY recovery in the Conservative Party’s polling numbers under Rishi Sunak has now “probably come to a halt”, according to Sir John Curtice.
The polling expert was speaking as a new survey by GB News found the Tories have slipped even further behind Labour.
According to the survey by People’s Polling, Labour is on 46% of the national vote, the Conservative Party is on 21%, and the Liberal Democrats are on 7%.
This represents a three-point fall for Conservative and a two-point jump for Labour from last week, increasing the gap between the two parties to 25 points.
It comes hot on the heels of a resounding win for Labour in the by-election in Chester.
Commenting on what it means for the PM, Mr Curtice said: “Firstly, I have to admit I have been slightly surprised at the degree of interest in the result of a by-election in which the opposition party has effectively managed to defend their seat.
“That of course is what usually happens in by-elections when opposition parties are defending the seat.
John Curtice says it is 'tough' to suggest Rishi Sunak has 'failed his first electoral test'. Image: GB News
“I think it's a bit tough on Rishi Sunak to say he's failed his first electoral test, because the truth is he inherited a party that was 30 points behind in the polls. Things are perhaps not quite that bad.
“The truth is the by-election result was certainly broadly speaking confirmation of the message of the polls that the Labour Party is in a better position, at least at this stage in this Parliament, than it has been at this stage in any of the four previous Parliaments.
“You have to go back to the 1992 to 1997 Parliament, which of course the Conservatives lost, to find by-election performances by Labour in seats that they were trying to defend on the scale of Chester or better.
"Today's GB News People's Poll, and you other polls today, suggest the progress that Mr Sunak has made, has probably pretty firmly come to a halt.”
“But whether or not Labour end up with an overall majority, or whether they ended up as the largest party in a hung parliament, that still is very, very much up for grabs during the two years that are left.”
GB News’ poll also found that more than half of voters believe immigration is now too high - and a third would back a new political party focused on bringing levels down, a new poll reveals.
The GB News opinion poll saw 54% describe levels as “too high” - and just four per cent said they felt numbers were “too low”. Among Leavers the concern about levels of immigration appear even greater with 81% stating immigration is too high, and only 5% saying it is about right or too low.
The survey of 1,208 by PeoplePolling also asked voters whether they felt there was a need for a new party in Britain to campaign to lower the level of immigration.
Overall, 33% of the country said there was, rising to 57% of people who voted Leave in 2016.
Commenting on the findings, Professor Matthew Goodwin of the University of Kent said: “These numbers underline the very high levels of public concern over the historically unprecedented level of immigration into the country. Crucially, for Rishi Sunak, the vast majority of his voters appear utterly convinced that the numbers are too high, pointing to another problem in a long line of problems for the incumbent prime minister.
On the desire from many for a new party he said: “With rumours of an imminent return for Nigel Farage and the Reform party turning up on the volume on immigration, our numbers suggest that around one-third of Britain would be open to a new party that specifically campaigns to lower the overall level of immigration into Britain, rising to nearly 60 per cent of the country’s Leavers. There is, in short, more potential space for a Reform-type party than their current 5 per cent in the polls implies”.