May courting Labour voters?

The prime minister wants to win over Labour voters

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Can Theresa May win over Labour voters?

By Joe Harker

Theresa May is trying to charge to the centre ground of politics and is asking Labour voters who are not particularly happy with Jeremy Corybn's leadership to meet her there. She is trying to style herself as the leader of a "decent, moderate and patriotic" party that the public can get behind.

She wrote in The Observer that she wanted the Conservatives to "be a party for the whole country", though she would do well to remember one of the key points of democracy is that no single political organisation is able to represent the interests of an entire country. There are people in the UK who will not benefit from Tory policies and likely will never believe that situation could change.

Many Labour voters are young and it is one of the key demographics where the Tories are lagging behind. While many people shift politically to the right as they get older and richer it cannot be taken as a guarantee that the youth of today will eventually come round to the Conservatives.

Many among the younger generations say they will never vote Tory and attempts to win them round have come off as insincere. There is a difference between a politician wanting your vote and wanting what's best for you, much of the youth of today simply don't believe a Conservative prime minister will ever genuinely have their best interests at heart.

A recent survey by YouGov found that 21 per cent of people who voted for Labour in the 2017 general election don't know who they would choose if another vote was held tomorrow, while 31 per cent held an unfavourable view of Corbyn. Perhaps May thinks she can win over those voters who backed Labour last time but are unsure of the direction the party is currently headed in.

However, the statistics suggest that she is in charge of the wrong party if she wants to win over wavering Labour voters. Only 10 per cent of Labour voters have any sort of favourable view of May and just three per cent say they would now vote for the Tories in the event of another election. There's enough "don't knows" in the Labour camp to significantly damage the party if they all decided to vote for someone else but almost nothing to suggest that they'd look to the Tories as a credible alternative.

There is also the question of what Tory supporters would make of her attempts to court Labour votes. While they would likely love a situation where they gain large amounts of support at the expense of their biggest opponents those votes aren't going to come without some enticing policies. Tory voters might want the increase in support but would probably not approve of the shift in policy needed to win them over.

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