I have warned against reading too much into the Polls at the early stages of this 2019 election, but the large YouGov poll released this week and broken down to regions will have been a difficult read for local Labour activists.
The chart above shows the voting intentions based on the simple Question – which Party would you vote for in an election tomorrow. The two columns show the regional result from 2017 and the percentage from that election. The Tory lead 45-22 – 15 is pretty devastating a week into the campaign.
There will be plenty of activists who as usual will simply dismiss the Poll. As I have said you should be cautious as it’s only a snapshot of the views at the time of asking. There is Still time for the polls to move. However, this would be a really complacent view just expecting the campaign to go the same way as 2017 – which of course Labour lost. I am afraid I still have to remind too many members we lost!
For the late surge we saw in 2017 to happen again it needs a number of factors to be repeated:-
– Boris Johnson to be as useless as May at campaigning. He won’t. He will be divisive but not as boring!
– The Tories campaign has to be as terrible. Early signs seem to show this is possible but surely they will get this back on track. They are not being as one dimensional and slightly more professional but it still seems they have lost the knack!
– The Tories manifesto needs to unravel as quickly as May’s did in 2017. I am assuming they wouldn’t be stupid enough to make the same mistake twice. But they have some really useless Cabinet Ministers so its a possibility they will miss the mark.
– The #Remain electorate need to feel that Corbyn is on their side like three did in 2017 and gave him the benefit of the doubt. Sadly we all feel let down by Corbyn and the lack of leadership shown on Brexit. It is clear he still wants to Brexit even if he has been forced to offer a referendum and a Remain option. His excruciating answers to questions about what he would campaign for in those circumstances are totally unconvincing
– The electorate felt Corbyn was new and fresh in 2017. His personal ratings are through the floor. There is a simple divide here. Corbynistas feel these figures will recover as the public see more of him again as the campaign progresses. They point to the Rallies. I am not convinced. Neither are the hundreds of people I have spoken to over the last few months. However, none of us absolutely know. We will have to wait until December 13th to work out who was right.
– Finally, there are claims that the Labour Manifesto won over voters. I think this is overplayed. Voter recall of policies is usually poor. However, the manifesto last time was actually quite tame and apart form a few high profile changes on nationalisation and perhaps tuition fees one that wasn’t all that Corbynite. I feel the overconfidence that arose from 2017 will lead to something this time that may frighten off more moderates. Again we will have to see.
So what might this all mean for the Loughborough marginal seat? Now we have an idea of all the candidates and some early figures we can start to see how the battle lines will look. So more this week on a more detailed look at the seat and the candidates!
Whilst the YouGov Poll above is the starting point we need to remember that the East Midlands covers a wide variety of seats – many of which are being targeted by the Tories and which were traditional Labour seats in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. On the figures above some of those would fall. However, the 45-22 headline figures don’t translate easily into the even Remain/Leave seats in middle England like Loughborough. It is all so complicated with Brexit and the rise of the other parties and at this stage so uncertain.
To add to the complexity of predicting this election we need to add in the dynamic of voter turnout in a Winter election, the plethora of Independent candidates sitting in their old seats, as well as the continued break down of Party loyalty highlighted in the local and Euro elections in 2019.
Having said that I think Loughborough will be a fairly straight fight… clouded by #Brexit only!