Latest poll: Tories lose yet more ground over redefining marriage

Nov 21, 2012

Voters are turning away from the Tories in their droves, according to a new poll of 2,000 people by ComRes, reported today by the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph.

The Telegraph’s Benedict Brogan, in his respected Morning Briefing email, said: “Another poll CCHQ won’t want to see out is the one published by ComRes this morning on attitudes to gay marriage. The Mail reports that the party’s support for gay marriage will lose them votes both among their base and the wider public. Of the wider electorate, 18 pc are less likely to vote Conservative as a result, as are 36pc of the party’s voters at the last election. If this is a policy based on expediency, it is going horribly wrong.”

Overall, 62 per cent of voters say marriage should stay as it is – between a man and a woman. That number rises to 68 per cent amongst Tory voters.

Even amongst the other main parties the policy failed to enjoy popular support. More than half of Labour and Lib Dem voters (58 per cent and 52 per cent respectively) said that marriage should continue to be defined as a “life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman”.

Only 7 per cent say they are more likely to vote Tory if marriage is redefined, but 18 per cent say they are less likely to back the party. Amongst disaffected Tory voters, the picture is even worse for Mr Cameron. Of those who voted Tory in 2010 but say they may not do so next time, just 4 per cent would come back to the party because of gay marriage but a whopping 36 per cent say the policy is driving them further away.

That’s a ratio of 9:1. Back in April that ratio was 3:1. Clearly, the more people hear about the plan to redefine marriage, the less they like it.

And George Osborne’s attempt to fight back, with an article saying redefining marriage would help the Tories win the next election, went down like a lead balloon. Only 23 per cent of voters agree, but nearly twice as many (40 per cent) disagree.

Two thirds of voters (65 per cent) think David Cameron is redefining marriage for political, rather than principled, reasons – to rebrand the Tory party as “trendy and modern”.

A similar number (63 per cent) think people are reluctant to say they’re opposed to redefining marriage, for fear of being called a “bigot”.

Campaign director of C4M, Colin Hart, said: “This poll is the latest blow to a profoundly undemocratic plan that day by day is falling apart before our eyes.

“It is unpopular with voters who have never been able to cast a vote on the issue and is costing the Conservative Party votes. As Andrew Hawkins head of ComRes noted in a previous poll, this policy could cost the Tories more than a million votes and scores of seats at the next general election.

“Given the weight of polling data on this issue, the biggest Government consultation in recent years and a 600,000 strong petition opposing the redefinition of marriage, it is astonishing that the PM’s right hand man, Chancellor George Osborne has tried to put this policy at the heart of the Tory’s election strategy.

“Either Mr Osborne is deluded, or out of touch. He should concentrate on fixing Britain’s broken economy instead of trying to rip up the centuries old definition of marriage in a desperate bid to appear progressive and trendy.”