Any prospect of a General Election resolving the Brexit crisis is today thrown into deep doubt with the publication of a new poll revealing it would result in another hung Parliament and that tactical voting against Boris Johnson could mean the Conservatives lose an additional 60 seats.
The YouGov survey of more than 2,000 voters shows the Conservative lead has been halved in the past fortnight to seven points, with their vote share falling to 30 per cent - ahead of Labour on 23, the Liberal Democrats on 22 and the Brexit Party on 14.
On a uniform swing this would leave Johnson 19 seats short of Parliamentary majority with both Labour and Conservatives losing seats to the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.
But the survey found a very low proportion of people – just 51 per cent - had made up their mind with huge numbers of Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green supporters ready to switch their vote tactically to defeat a Conservative candidate.
The People’s Vote campaign, which commissioned this poll, has announced plans to give clear independent advice to people living in the 100-plus key Brexit battleground seats, as well as mobilising an army of activists and channel donations in support of the best-placed candidates for delivering a majority of MPs in favour of a final say referendum.
And today’s poll provides clear evidence that an election held in the midst of this deepening Brexit crisis could see millions of voters back a different party to their first choice, if they saw it was better placed to beat a Conservative.
In seats contested between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, 47 per cent of Labour voters and more than half of Green Party supporters would back the Lib Dems.
In seats contested between the Conservatives and Labour, 35 per cent of Liberal Democrats and 42 per cent of Green Party supporters would back Labour.
Compared to what would happen on a uniform swing, these figures suggest that tactical voting on this scale could cost the Conservatives 60 seats, with Labour gaining around 50 and the Lib Dems an additional 10.
The poll also shows a clear majority of voters opposed to either a No Deal or the kind of Brexit Deal that Johnson might try to bring back from Brussels. In both cases, a campaign to stay in the European Union would win by a decisive 55 to 45 per cent.
Nor does the poll provide much comfort for Downing Street strategists who believe they win over votes from the small proportion of Labour supporters who still want to leave the EU. Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of Labour Leave voters say they definitely would not back the Conservatives with almost half – 48 per cent – saying they would not support Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.
But there is also bad news for Jeremy Corbyn’s latest Brexit position, with voters saying by a margin of almost more than two-to-one (46 per cent to 26 per cent) that any effort by a party leader to “stay neutral” in a Brexit referendum would be “unreasonable”.
Peter Kellner, one of Britain’s most respected pollsters and an ex-president of YouGov said:
“The latest YouGov survey confirms that millions of voters could switch parties between now and the election, whenever it is held. Of the 10 million voters who currently plan to vote Tory, more than two million say they have yet to decide finally how they will vote.
“There are similar levels of fragility in Labour and Liberal Democrat support, but most of their potential vote-changers say they would “definitely NOT” vote Conservative.
“These figures do not prove that Johnson is bound to fall short of an outright majority; they do suggest that victory is emphatically not in the bag. And tactical voting could damage Johnson’s prospects fatally meaning Labour could make net gains from the Tories.”