We’ll be lucky to get clear answers from this election

By Kira Taylor |

O Come All Ye Faithful to the polls | Illustration by Nidhi Keluskar

On the surface, the numbers look simple for this general election. The Conservative Party has been averaging about 10 points ahead of Labour in the polls in the last few months.

It may be easy to draw comparisons to the 20 point lead Theresa May had going into the 2017 election, but the 2019 campaign is going to be far more complicated than an opposition closing the gap on the governing party.

…Brexit is this an odd enigma…

Most general elections are fought on economic and social policies. The Conservatives normally encourage less government spending and more individual economic achievement. Under the current leadership, Labour favour more public spending and policies “for the many”. The Liberal Democrats traditionally fall between the two.

The issue is that Brexit is more than economic and social. It’s this odd enigma that evades and encompasses all political issues. It divides down different lines, making it impossible to know which way traditional Labour and Conservative voters will go.

…focussing on the climate crisis may draw votes…

Not only that, but the Conservatives have recently dropped their austerity-style policies in favour of announcements for more spending on things like the NHS and policing.

There’s also the idea that focussing on the climate crisis may draw votes. The issue certainly appears to resonates with voters in the South West. That would be a lovely change from Brexit and would certainly be welcomed by climate scientists, but it’s unlikely to be the case nationwide. Brexit is such an emotive issue – it’s hard to avoid.

…people are saying they feel betrayed by politicians…

Climate breakdown may swing a few voters, particularly those sick of Brexit. But probably not many.

And talking of sick of Brexit? Some people may simply choose not to vote. News channels have run plenty of vox pops, with people saying they feel betrayed by politicians and will never vote again.

That won’t be helped by the Christmas cheer. Amongst shopping, parties and carols, it’s not clear if an election – no matter how important – will be the first thing on people’s minds amongst the holiday (and uni deadline) stress.

An issue for remain parties is that they’re likely to split the vote | Marco Verch Flickr

O Come All Ye Faithful to the polls – that will be the message parties will try and get across, but in short, cold days, it’s more likely to be that the weather outside is frightful.

Sorry – enough Christmas puns. Back to politics.

An issue for the Greens, Liberal Democrats, and Labour is that they’re likely to split the remain vote. That’s almost certainly going to lead to tactical voting by remainers. Whilst that works on a local level, it could mean less MPs voted into Parliament for each party, possibly stealing the chance of a majority.

…the Conservatives have seemed to stumble a bit.

The leave vote may also suffer from a split. The Brexit Party is running on a strong Brexit line and may seem more favourable to hardline leavers than a vote for the Conservatives.

There was talk about these two parties forming an alliance and working together, but Steve Baker, a big leave voice in the Conservative party, has said this won’t happen.

The other issue is that the Conservatives have seemed to stumble a bit. Their Brexit plan has been shown by an independent analysis to potentially cost the economy £70bn and The Guardian has shown that a fracking lobbyist has been hired to draw up the Conservative manifesto.

…polls are growing ever more unreliable.

Attention should be paid to the smaller parties – the Greens did well in the European elections. Alongside that, there are the MPs who’ve left or been kicked out of their parties – like Anna Soubry in The Independent Group for Change and former chancellor Philip Hammond who is running as an Independent. They will face competition from their old parties.

All this comes in an age of politics where polls are growing ever more unreliable. The last three big votes in this country have seen pollsters veer off in the wrong direction when it comes to predictions. This may be due to the political battle grounds spreading from doorsteps to social media, making campaigns ever more confusing.

I guess I could have saved all these words by saying it’s going to be complex, close and very interesting. It’s worth repeating. This election is going to be complex, close and very interesting.

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