What are the General Election mathematics?
With the prolonged fox-hunting debate now down to the final day the question for general election punters and predictors is which party will benefit?
Will the number of votes gained by Labour from those opposed to hunting exceed those gained by the Tories from the pro-hunting lobby. And would these people have voted for their parties anyway? This is not an easy call and the two factions might balance each other out.
When we first looked at this in September we felt that this was good for Labour because a manifesto pledge was being met and the threatened protests could make things difficult for the Tory positioning as the party of law and order.
Now we are not so sure. The pro-hunters are so galvanised that this could give a net boost to Michael Howard? But will it just stack more votes in existing Tory seats or are their marginals where Labour could now be vulnerable?
The Lib Dems and UKIP might be affected in big hunting-based seats because a Tory General Election victory will be portrayed as the best route to over-turn the ban.
There’s also the danger of prolonged protests and a legal action challenging the whole basis of the 1949 Parliament Act. Any major legal set-back is damaging to the Government of the day and the more this is in the news the more that opposition will be aroused. It’s no wonder that Tony Blair tried to postpone the introduction of the ban until well past the General Election.
Perhaps the most damaging aspect for the Government could be the reaction of the vast majority of people who just don’t care. Why has so much political capital and time been invested in something that is so trivial?
Tony Blair’s personal equivocation has not won him any votes on either side.
The spread markets have seen a slight move against the Tories. The latest IG spreads are:- LAB 340-448: CON 200-208: LD 68-72. The SportingIndex market is back after its suspension with:- LAB 342-350: CON 205-213: LD 71-75. Their spreads are still based on a larger House of Commons so pick and mix between them because there are big differences.
Other political markets.