More than twice as many voters under the age of 45 think Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party is now “on their side”, compared with those who believe the same about Theresa May’s Tories, according to new polling that will send shockwaves through the Conservative party.
The survey for the Social Market Foundation (SMF) by Opinium shows it is not just voters in their teens and 20s but also those in their 30s and young middle age who now believe that the Tories do not speak for them.
The data, published as the Tory conference opens in Manchester, comes as senior ministers and MPs call for a fundamental rethink of the party’s offering to younger parts of the electorate following its catastrophic result in the snap general election called by the prime minister in June.
Writing on the Guardian website, Dr Phillip Lee, a government minister in the Ministry of Justice, says the Tory party is now a “huge turn-off” for most people under the age of 44. He says the party has a serious “trust problem”, adding that “more and more people see us as the party of the rich. And most people do not believe that Conservatives are on their side. This is a wake-up call.”
Among 18- to 24-year-olds, Opinium found just 15% of voters now say that the Tory party represents “people like me”. This rises to only 20% among those aged 25-34 and 21% among those between 35 and 44. Among these three age groups, the same percentage (76) think the Tories are more on the side of “richer people” than the less wealthy.
But it is the comparisons with Labour that will cause most concern in a party which under May has claimed that its priority is to help the less advantaged and privileged to progress in life.
A mere 19% of people aged 18 to 34 think the Tories are on their side compared with 53% who say Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party is. Among all voters under 45, the same proportion (19%) think the Tories are on their side against 50% who say Labour is. Even among voters aged…