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Labour's vote is actually increasing under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership

Labour's vote is actually increasing in the key West Midlands general election battleground, suggesting that if the Tories win then it won't be Jeremy Corbyn's fault

More people in the key battleground of the West Midlands are planning to vote Labour on June 8 than in the 2015 general election , an exclusive survey has found.

It suggests that claims Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is destroying the Labour Party may be wide of the mark.

But the survey found support for the Conservatives has risen even more than support for Labour.

And this appears to be linked to a significant fall in the number of people who say they will vote for UKIP.

So polls which show the Tories on course to win the general election may be right - but not because Jeremy Corbyn is driving voters away from Labour.

Instead, people who backed the Brexit-supporting UK Independence Party are switching to the Conservatives.

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images
Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn waves as he departs after speaking to hundreds of people who attended an election rally

The West Midlands is described as an important election battleground because of the high number of marginal seats where Conservatives and Labour Party candidates both have a chance of winning, in places like Warwickshire, Dudley and Birmingham.

A survey conducted by Trinity Mirror newspapers including the Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Post found support for the Labour Party had actually risen slightly in the West Midlands region.

We asked thousands of visitors to our websites who they voted for in the 2015 election and how they intended to vote this time.

The survey doesn’t tell us what the overall results are likely to be in the general election on June 8, because we cannot be certain that visitors to the websites are representative of the electorate as a whole.

But they do give an indication as to whether the support for each party is increasing or falling.

We found that 33.3 per cent of readers in the West Midlands said they voted Labour in 2015 - but 34.1 per cent said they planned to vote Labour in June.

That suggests that far from collapsing, support for Labour is roughly equal to when Ed Miliband was leader, and has increased a little.

At the same time, 34.9 per cent of readers said they voted Conservative in 2015, and 39.2 per cent said they would vote Conservative this time.

That’s a significant increase, and it seems to be a result of the fall in support for UKIP.

Jeremy Corbyn at the launch in Bradford of the Labour Party manifesto for the General Election.

We found 12.6 per cent of readers voted UKIP in 2015 but just 7 per cent said they would vote UKIP in this year’s general election.

Support for the Lib Dems was up slightly, with 7.7 per cent saying they voted Lib Dem in 2015 and 8.8 per cent saying they would do the same this time.

The survey appears to confirm the findings of an analysis of the vote for a West Midlands mayor , which we published last week.

We compared the results of the mayoral vote to the results of the 2015 general election.

And we found that Conservative support had risen significantly - but not at the expense of Labour. Labour’s vote fell slightly, but the Tory gains seemed to have come at the expense of UKIP.

None of this means that Labour is on course to win the general election.

But it is significant, because it suggests that Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t driven away voters and may have attracted new ones.

The survey was carried out before the publication of Labour’s general election manifesto.

Recent national opinion polls also cast doubt on claims that Labour’s support has plummeted.

An ICM poll on May 14 said 28 per cent of voters planned to vote Labour.

A survation poll on May 13 said 30 per cent would vote Labour. A YouGov poll on May 12 said 31 per cent would vote Labour. And a Opinium poll on May 12 said 32 per cent would vote Labour.

In the 2015 general election, under Ed Miliband’s leadership, Labour got 30.4 per cent of the vote.

And in the 2010 general election, led by Gordon Brown, Labour got 29 per cent of the vote.

So if the polls are correct, it’s hard to see how Labour’s support has fallen away under Mr Corbyn.

Opinion polls have been wrong before, and they may be wrong this time. But as Labour’s senior figures say - and senior Conservatives too - the only way we’ll know for sure is when the real votes are counted.

Some critics might say that Labour should have done more to win over former UKIP voters who have switched to the Conservatives.

It does seem that Theresa May’s Conservative Party has been more successful at convincing voters that they are now the real part of Brexit.

Even some of Mr Corbyn’s strongest supporters would admit that Labour faces problems it hasn’t yet found a way to solve. But it seems unlikely they would vanish if Labour simply got a new leader.

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