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Why a 1997 style landslide or even a 1983 style landslide might not happen, but maybe a 2005 style majority of 66 could

April 23rd, 2017

Judging by the polls, the political mood, the intuition of most political watchers, and pretty much everyone in the country, sans the Corbynites, are expecting Mrs May’s Tories to win so comprehensively the only thing in doubt is which three figure number will be the size of the Tory majority, but today I’ll explain why that might be wrong, and why Mrs May could end up with just a modest double digit majority.

But here are the reasons why I think the Tory majority won’t be as massive as people think

1) Tory complacency

It seems every day new record breaking polls come out implying that the Tories are going win a stonking landslide on June the 8th, whilst Jeremy Corbyn and Labour would suffer less punishment if they booked 400 dominatrices concurrently that night and chose ‘mower’ as their safe word.

This is likely to depress turnout as voters, especially Tories think the result is in the bag. This could see Labour holding on to seats they should be losing if the polls are accurate because of low turnout.

2) Shy Labour voters

With Jeremy Corbyn as leader, you can see why Labour voters would be shy about admitting voting for Labour, this isn’t just conjecture on my part, there’s actual evidence for it.

ICM’s spiral of silence adjustment is reducing Tory leads on a regular basis by a few per cent each time. It is entirely possible that ICM are underestimating it because of 3)

3) The Love Labour, hate Corbyn voters.

If you’re a long standing Labour voter who hates Corbyn but like your local Labour MP, such as Wes Streeting or John Woodcock for example, who happen to be a vocal critics of Corbyn, what are you going to do? A) Let in a Tory MP, or B) back that anti-Corbyn MP? It’s B isn’t it, a no brainer as some would say.

These are the sort of people I suspect tell pollsters they won’t vote Labour as way of trying to force Corbyn out.

4) Labour could get the ‘sympathy shag vote’

This is  the antonym of 1) There are lots of voters out there who like the Labour party as an idea, as a concept, as a force for good and who whilst might not like Jeremy Corbyn want neither a result so bad that Labour can’t ever recover from/or take decades to recover from, nor do they want the Tories to have such a huge majority so they can do whatever they wish. So these voters pity Labour’s plight in the polls and give them their vote out of sympathy.

5) Whisper it very carefully, Mrs May might not actually be that popular

First of all there’s the polling that shows her popularity is equally down to her not being Jeremy Corbyn nor would she be losing the majority of the Tory gains from the Lib Dems that her election strategist found, a PM with polling leads of 25% really shouldn’t be doing that.

People compare her to Mrs Thatcher, but what has Mrs May really achieved that is comparable to Mrs Thatcher had prior to her 1983 and 1987 landslides? No war won, no massive reform of the UK, so far only a slogan, ‘Brexit means Brexit.’

Plus Mrs May’s a crap campaigner, no wonder she’s frightened to meet real voters or to debate Corbyn, given her failure to consistently crush him at PMQs. Macavity May hid during the EU referendum, as PM she can’t hide during a general election campaign. Mrs May is a crap campaigner, this is a narrative I and others expect to develop, especially if she refuses to debate Corbyn and the other party leaders.

6) Sir Lynton Crosby might not have enough time to work his magic at this general election

In 2015 Sir Lynton spent two years polling, focus grouping, and message testing the hell out of what strategies and memes would win the election, such as the long term economic plan. This election he might have only a few weeks to do all that, and his end product might not be his best or even a match to his 2015 work product.

7) Perhaps Sir Lynton is overrated and not the master strategist we think he is

Yes he did help win the 2015 general election, and oversaw Boris Johnson’s two wins as London Mayor, but he also oversaw the Tory election defeat in 2005, and the less said about the his contribution in Zac Goldsmith’s unsuccessful campaign to be London Mayor last year. Even Zac’s sister criticised the whole approach, that’s how bad a campaign it was, with many describing it as “dog-whistle racism.”

Perhaps 2015 was won purely down to Cameron’s leadership, Osborne’s magnificent stewardship of the economy, and the fear of a Labour/SNP coalition government.

8) No Lord Ashcroft constituency polling to blindside the Tory opponents this time

One Tory activist I spoke to in the aftermath of the election victory in 2015 said the party owed Lord Ashcroft a debt of gratitude for his constituency polls, which inadvertently led the Lib Dems to feel more confident (and possibly) overconfident about their chances of holding their seats from the Tories.

Whilst the polls also reinforced Labour’s belief in the ground game, where the polls indicated Labour was doing better in the Lab/Con marginals.

This allowed the Tories to campaign under the radar and win whilst their opponents believed the Ashcroft polling.

9) That expenses saga might be game changers on two levels which doesn’t help the Tories

Given allegations from last time, I suspect we won’t see Tory activists being bussed in to key seats, this  might make the Tories  to lose seats they hold and fail to take the seats they are expected to gain.

Secondly if charges are brought during the campaign, as Hillary Clinton found out, things like this can change the polls.

10) After all the polling failures in recent years, is anyone 100% confident that the polls are accurate.

Just look at that (in)famous Guardian front page from two years ago, during the last general election campaign, and the failures some pollsters had during the EU referendum, is anyone truly confident the polling problems have been entirely sorted out, especially with the reasons listed above? Last night’s polls and the reactions therein had a similar feel at times, or even the Cleggasm, and we all know how those turned out.

I expect Mrs May will win a decent majority, and I know a few PBers who last night bought the Tories at 378 seats for £30 a seat, I’ll be joining them in the morning, but if come June 9th that bet becomes a loser, it’ll be for the reasons listed above. Success equals performance minus anticipation. Right now the anticipation is for a three figure majority, anything less will feel like a disappointing night for Mrs May, she should help lower expectations.

TSE