There is a ghost which is stalking this election in the media coverage, and it is the spirit of 2017. Everywhere one looks right leaning journalists are fretting and not quite believing the polls. The spirit of Election 2017 and a good ghost for Labour it is too – “Oh Jeremy Corbyn !”.
Everywhere one looks the written media is observing this election as a closish horse race “You can’t rely on labour leavers to not revert to type” twitter journalists type. “I’ve found Brexit party switchers in Workington and they are ALL from the Conservatives” rings Goodall. 2017, a haunted spirit of an election for the Conservatives hangs heavy in everyone’s mind where Corbyn seemingly did the impossible and reduced May’s seats.
I think this phantom haunts me too as this piece- which is based on an attempt to see objective truth and clarity through the murky and muddied polling light has me instinctively disbelieving my own conclusions. But yet it is there – now onto what those Will o the wisp polls, the best light to guide us but occasionally lead us into a murky betting grave are saying:
The simple polling evidence points to a Tory % of somewhere between 35 and 41% whilst Labour is between 25 and 30%. Regional polling suggests the Tories are losing votes in the south whilst gaining or at least holding steady in the north and midlands. Based on where the marginals lie that’s a deal you’d take at CCHQ. Candidates who have made any sort of questionable utterance on Twitter are being dealt with ruthlessly before media stories can gain traction – Anthony Calvert and Nick Conrad have been politically dealt with quickly and efficiently. They’ll certainly ship some seats in Scotland to a well revived SNP – but Sturgeon comes with her own unhelpful demands from Labour’s perspective…
The Lib Dems are seemingly doing well with individual southern constituency surveys in the south, but beware these do not have the greatest predictive powers – I note the Lib Dem candidate and John Redwood were both named in a Wokingham one commissioned which showed Redwood narrowly hanging on.
Now I’m not saying the Lib Dems aren’t doing well in the home stockbroker belt, they are – but the swings needed for them to capture these seats on a significant scale aren’t being borne out by the polling right now. The swings needed to take out Raab in Esher and Walton and Guildford are to put it mildly ‘large’ – far beyond Con Gain Bolsover in the East midlands as an example … It will be a good night for them just not as good as Jo’s forays into Kensington early on in the campaign might suggest.
The Labour vote, I think is where the narrative isn’t quite matching up to anecdata. It is plummeting not just in the Midlands and the north, but also interestingly central London. They appear to have become a remain party to leavers and a leave party to remainers. This is the opposite of and the biggest change to 2017 where they pulled the trick of appearing to be a leave party to leavers and a remain party to remainers.
Who will they swing to though ? The remainers look to have a ready home in the Lib Dems but the Labour leavers, well perhaps they will simply sit this one out. It’s hard to find an unenthused staying at home Labour voter as a journalist, and easy to find a vocal Con -> Brexit switcher. Add to this the anti-semitism rows, splits and ex Labour MPs urging a vote for Johnson and in short this looks like it could be a very bad night for Labour indeed. They are not dealing with questionable candidates anything like as well as the Tories, Sultana is still running in Coventry South last time I checked – a marked contrast to Broadland and Wakefield for the Tories.
The ghost of 2017 haunts everyone, but with under a month to go till the election and a lifetime of not changing his spots behind him a macabre poltergeist of election future likely awaits Corbyn’s Labour.