The Conservative Party could lose up to 30 parliamentary seats and over 1.1 million votes if it bulldozes ahead with plans to redefine marriage, a new poll shows.
The poll, conducted by ComRes, shows that the party’s support for gay marriage is alienating former Tory voters.
For every disaffected Tory supporter attracted back to the party, it loses almost three because of its stance on the issue.
An analysis of the polling figures shows that the Tories stand to lose anywhere between eight and 30 Parliamentary seats, and could lose more than 1.1 million votes in a general election.
In The Sun today, Trevor Kavanagh says Tory supporters are “deserting in droves over [David Cameron’s] irrelevant campaign for gay marriage” and other unpopular issues.
At the weekend, anxious Tory backbench MPs said they had received an “avalanche” of letters from disgruntled constituents who opposed the plans.
One MP said: “We’re worried we’ll haemorrhage votes unless Cameron backs down. These protests are not from the usual suspects of complainants. These are from quiet, unassuming Tory supporters telling us, do this and we won’t vote for you again.”
The Mail on Sunday reported that the Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin has privately told Tory backbenchers that the plan to redefine marriage will be “kicked into the long grass”. However, the paper also reported: “Number 10 sources insisted Mr Cameron remained fully committed to the proposal.”
Meanwhile, in Scotland, a “Vote for Marriage” leaflet is being sent to every household in Glasgow, paid for by the Scotland for Marriage group.
The leaflet tells voters why redefining marriage is an issue relevant to the local elections, which takes place on Thursday 3 May.
And it urges voters to ask local election candidates whether they support or oppose the redefinition of marriage.
Scotland for Marriage is also sending advertising vans, featuring the “Vote for Marriage” slogan, to key locations in Scotland this week.