LONDON — The Brexit culture war is gathering pace — and it is bad news for both the U.K.’s major parties.
According to a new tracker poll of battleground constituencies for POLITICO, Britain’s protracted exit from the European Union is continuing to polarize the electorate, making it harder for Labour and the Conservatives to reach the voters they need to take power at the next election.
With the two main parties all-but tied on around 40 percent of the vote in recent polls, both are chasing two different electoral groups in marginal seats: Leave voters in places like the East Midlands and North West, and Remain voters that dominate London and wealthy university towns.
The problem both parties face is how to appeal to one without alienating the other.
According to the first in a series of POLITICO-Hanbury polls in three clusters of key swing seats, the trends seen at the 2017 general election — with Leave voters moving toward the Conservatives and Remain voters opting for Labour — are continuing as the Brexit impasse continues to grip Westminster.
There is strong evidence that Brexit is playing into a wider British “culture war,” with voters in Leave and Remain areas prioritizing very different values.
The poll results suggest that Leave voters in the East Midlands and North West are moving toward the Tories and away from Labour, while Remain voters in the South East are shifting in the opposite direction.
Among Leave voters in East Midlands, Theresa May’s net satisfaction stands at -2 percent. By contrast, Jeremy Corbyn is far less popular at -69 percent.