A new YouGov poll shows how the political ground has moved in the last two years.
The poll, conducted between the 22nd and 24th September asked voters two key questions. The first asked voters to self-identify their position on the left-right scale. The poll reveals little change from two years ago, but the second question shows how politics is moving in a left-liberal direction.
Poll respondents were asked to pick from a list of four or five priorities for Britain in the next few years.
At first glance, the list order appears similar to the one produced in September 2015, but a closer inspection reveals some key differences.
Increasing NHS spending comes at the top in the most recent poll as it was picked by 53% of respondents – up a striking eleven points from the 42% in 2015.
Next up is the priority of “build more affordable homes”. This time 36% picked this as a key priority, slightly up from the 34% who picked this option in 2015.
The third most prioritised policy picked by poll respondents was to sharply reduce immigration. This was picked by 31% of respondents, however, this policy was the top priority two years ago, with 44% of respondents picking this option in 2015.
The three other big shifts in priority were: the UK should abolish tuition fees (up from 15% to 20%), the UK should give England the same devolution as the rest of the UK (down from 15% to 10%) and the UK should leave the European convention on human rights (down from 17% to 12%).
In addition, the share of respondents thinking that eliminating the deficit should be prioritised is down from 19% to 15%.
If this poll is correct, the UK’s political ground has undergone a big shift in the last two years. Helping the NHS is seen as more important than cutting the number of immigrants while the share of the voting public prioritising leaving the European convention of human rights is down, suggesting a small victory for progressive, tolerant Britain, something which can only benefit Jeremy Corbyn and Vince Cable.
On top of this, the jump in prioritising the abolition of tuition fees shows that Labour’s pledge to end tuition fees at the election is making progress. However, it is worth noting that the number of respondents prioritising leaving the EU is up by four points and that there has been no movement on increasing taxes on the wealthy and boosting the minimum wage to £9 per hour.
The stars have not fully-lined up for Britain’s left of centre, however, they are moving in the right direction.
The full results of the YouGov poll can be found here.