by Berk Bektas
The general election gets closer by the day, and the polls seem to keep the Tories way ahead – its mostly stayed the same, with the Conservatives always hitting above 40% and the Labour Party sticking to around 25%. In normal circumstances, it would seem the outcome of the election is certain, as British general election campaigns don’t drag on too long, not giving enough time to any opposition leader to close major gaps in the polls.
But this time, things are different.
Brexit will, and in many ways already has changed the political landscape of Britain for this general election and for many to come. It has inspired and angered the many; it certainly has stirred the emotions of the nation. The way in which this may favour Corbyn is the following.
What Corbyn could rely on are Conservatives voters not switching to Labour, but either abstaining out of outrage and anger over Brexit, or by voting for the Liberal Democrats due to the same rage. As mentioned on our previous blogs, in December 2016, only a few months ago, the Lib Dems overturned a majority of over 23,000 to defeat the Tories in the Richmond Park by-election out of the backlash of Brexit – people were clearly not happy, emotions have been stirred. This would not only result in potentially many key marginals between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems held by the Conservatives being lost to the Lib Dems, but let’s consider that many Labour – Conservative marginals might also see not only abstentions from Conservative voters who voted to Remain in the E.U, but they could see Conservative voters also to switch to the Lib Dems in such seats. This might even result in Labour gains in such seats if enough Conservative voters abstain or vote Lib Dem instead, as tactic voting by Lib Dems to keep Labour out is a lot less likely in this election, as again, outrage over Brexit might stop them from voting Conservative to keep Labour out.
This, in a First-Past-the-Post system, could spell disaster for the Conservatives as any lead in the polls could be due to an insurgence of voters voting for them in their safe seats which most have voters who voted to Leave the E.U. Ed Miliband saw Labour’s share of the vote increase in the 2015 General Election, but he still lost some 26 seats. UKIP got over 12% of the national vote – nearly 4 million people voted for them, but they only had one seat, losing the other they had to the Conservatives.
A split in the vote in remain seats, and the Lib Dems wiping out many Tory gains in England from the 2015 General Election could see a hung parliament, and a chance for Corbyn to grab power.
Another advantage Corbyn has is that due to such a massive lead in the polls, Tory voters might not come out on June 8th as they would assume that with such a major lead, there won’t be any point voting anyway as it seems to be in the bag already.
Seats in Scotland and Wales don’t seem to play a key role in this election as much there won’t change seemingly, the battle of key marginals in England seem to be what will determine this election. It’s all to play for on June 8th!
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