Can Corbyn beat the polls?

by Berk Bektas

It’s certainly not looking good for Labour. With just under 3 weeks to go, a recent poll by ComRes puts the Tories 21 points ahead of Labour, with the Conservatives on 46%, and 25% for Labour – the biggest lead the Tories have had while in office since 1983, and just one point shy of Cameron’s 22-point lead over Gordon Brown in 2009, while in opposition.

The 4th May local elections do seem to be very critical for Corbyn’s leadership – if Labour utterly collapse and lose councils, it could spark riot within Labour, and may even have Corbynistas questioning his leadership. However, Corbyn has been here before.

Trailing in the polls, Labour did, in last years local elections, retain all its councils, whilst the Conservatives lost control of one council and Labour did edge overall 1 point ahead of the Tories, with Labour on 31% to the Tories 30%.

Obviously, the political landscape has completely changed, as a month after those elections Britain decided to vote to leave the European Union, and David Cameron resigned. Also to note is that with local elections, not every part of the UK votes, each year sees different parts of the country electing local councillors or mayors.

What is very interesting is that the Labour party has recently released a number of policies that are proving quite popular with the British public (according to a poll, also conducted by ComRes). For example, Labour are proposing to raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020, which has an approval rating of 71%. Another one being to raise the top rate of income tax from 45p on the pound to 50p on incomes over £150,000 a year; this has an approval rating of 62%. They also propose to reintroduce Free school meals for all children, paid for by a VAT on private school fees, which has a 53% approval rating in the same poll, while 35% disagree and 12% saying they don’t know.

Despite the popular policies, the polls do say the Tories have a landslide lead, and the 4th May isn’t that far off. Even Labour’s supposed safe seat, Copeland, was lost in a by-election held just 2 months ago, which is not a good sign for an opposition party – however it is fair to point out the seat has continuously had dropping support for Labour and did have a small majority of 2,564 – the Tories lost a majority of over 23,000 in the Richmond Park by-election some months ago; it’s a huge majority to lose to.

We will have to wait till the 4th May to find out if Corbyn can jump another hurdle and beat the polls. It’ll be interesting to see how the potential plummet of support for UKIP and jump in support for the Lib Dems changes voting patterns post-Brexit, and who, out of the Conservatives and the Lib Dems, gains the most out of it – do be on the look-out!

by Berk Bektas

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