In a stunning development, a recent poll suggests that Labour is poised to triumph over the Conservatives in the most rural constituencies across England, signaling a potential upheaval in traditional Tory strongholds.
According to the poll, conducted by Survation on behalf of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), Conservative support has plummeted by 25 points since the 2019 election. Only 34 percent of voters in the 100 most rural constituencies expressed their intention to vote for the Conservative Party, a significant decline from previous levels of support.
The Conservatives, who currently hold 96 out of the 100 most rural seats, are now facing the prospect of losing more than half of them to Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Notable Tory figures such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, Jeremy Hunt, Thérèse Coffey, Andrea Leadsom, Mel Stride, Mark Harper, and Liam Fox are among those at risk of losing their seats.
In contrast, Labour has experienced a surge in support, with its popularity rising from 20 percent in 2019 to 37 percent at the beginning of this year. This shift gives Labour a narrow lead in territories traditionally dominated by the Conservative Party.
Despite the decline in Conservative support, a significant portion of rural voters remain undecided, comprising almost 35 percent of respondents. Victoria Vyvyan, president of the CLA, emphasized that these voters feel disconnected from central government and are seeking a party that will prioritize the needs of rural communities.
Vyvyan urged political parties to present robust plans for rural economic growth, emphasizing that the support of rural voters is up for grabs for whichever party demonstrates a genuine understanding and commitment to addressing their concerns.
While support for the Liberal Democrats has remained relatively stable at 14 percent, neither Labour nor the Conservatives are perceived as fully understanding or respecting rural communities, according to the poll.
The CLA has outlined several key priorities for parties seeking to win over rural voters, including investing in sustainable farming practices, providing affordable housing, tackling rural crime, and improving infrastructure in rural areas.
As dissatisfaction grows among rural communities, the CLA warns that neglecting their concerns could lead to increased unrest, similar to protests seen in other European countries. However, Vyvyan expressed optimism that with the right policies in place, the concerns of rural voters can be addressed effectively, averting potential unrest in England’s countryside.