Overall majority in 2015? Would A Labour Policy That Favoured Public Ownership of Privately Owned Rail Networks Help Electorally?
Survation Ltd
  • In new, targeted constituency telephone research by Survation on behalf of the RMT, voters rejected private rail franchise operators in key Conservative held 2015 battleground seats required for a Labour 2015 majority.
  • A clear majority of Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP voters reject the current status quo based on perception of lower fare prices and the hope of better service under public versus private ownership
  • Almost one half of Conservative 2010 voters would bring their local rail operator back under public ownership at the next opportunity

It has been previously established in polling by Survation, YouGov and others that continued private ownership of the UK’s train operating companies is unpopular.

In this research Survation were interested as to what extent changing government policy in the UK in this area would assist a party electorally that advocated change from the current status quo specifically in the type of seats essential to Labour’s pursuit of an overall majority in 2015. 4 key marginal Conservative/Labour "battleground" seats of 

Crawley (CON), Stevenage (CON), Reading West (CON) and Milton Keynes South (CON)

Combined Voting Intention Across the 4 Seats (with comparison to 2010)
CON 34% (-8)
LAB 38% (+6)
LD 2% (-15)
UKIP 19% (+15)
AP 7% (+3)

Currently Labour have a lead of 4 points across the four seats polled. Were the election tomorrow, this would be enough to probably win some, but not all, of the four (as Labour’s vote is not distributed exactly evenly across all four seats). However, just a 2 point swing nationally from Labour to the Conservatives would be enough to put these potential gains in doubt. As these seats are potentially such tight marginals, every possible 1% increase to Labour’s vote here would make a big difference.

After asking constituents about their personal usage levels of their own area’s train operator, Survation asked “ If your local train operator were under public rather than private ownership, do you think it would be better or worse run than it is today?”
  • 74% of respondents expressing an opinion (removing "don't knows") did not believe their service would be worse run in public vs private hands.
  • 71% of respondents that expressed an opinion thought fare prices would be either the same or cheaper than now. Half of all respondents thought fares would be cheaper under public ownership.
  • 60% of all respondents expressing a view told Survation they wanted their own local operator to be brought back under public ownership at the next opportunity, a view shared by 62% of Lib Dem 2010 voters, 71% of Labour 2010 voters and even 47% of 2010 Conservatives.
When further questioned, even among respondents with a view that wanted to see their own operator kept in private hands, over a third nevertheless did not believe that all the UK’s railways should be under private ownership. As a contrast 93% of those that did want their current operator brought back into public ownership and had a view, want fully publicly owned rail across the country.

Between 17th-19th June Survation polled 1011 constituents by telephone in 4 key marginal Conservative/Labour "battleground" seats of Crawley (CON), Stevenage (CON), Reading West (CON) and Milton Keynes South (CON). Data gathered were weighted to the profile of all adults across the 4 seats and data were weighted by age, gender and an adjustment made to account for relative constituency size. Full tables are here.

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Survation Ltd  Registered in England & Wales Number 07143509


Survation are a member of The British Polling Council and abide by its rules


Survation Ltd  Registered in England & Wales Number 07143509

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