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A week on from Johnson being called to the Palace and so far so good

July 31st, 2019

How much of the bounce will be seen in Brecon?

It is just a week ago that TMay went to the Palace to step down as PM and for the new Tory leader, BJohnson, to be invited to succeed her.

Going back over the years new prime ministers’ taking over between general elections almost always see a boost in their party’s position in the voting intention polls. This happened with with John Major in 1990, Gordon Brown in 2007 and of course Theresa May in 2016. So the trends in the table above are not unexpected. Perhaps the biggest aspect for Johnson is that the Tories are taking votes back from the Brexit party.

Boris appears to have approached his new job in the same manner as Gordon Brown. A huge number of announcements, an impression of a lot of activity and of course seeking to maintain the media’s attention with something new every day. The polling has been good both the voting intention and the best prime minister numbers and you get the sense, just like Brown in 2007, that he is looking towards an early general election.

The only cloud on horizon is the Brecon and Radnorshire by election tomorrow where the Tories are defending a majority of 19.5%.

The big challenge here, leaving aside the fact that they Tory candidate has a criminal record, is that there is only one clear anti-Brexit party but there are two very clear options for those who are for Brexit. If Farage’s party didn’t exist or had not been in the race than the prospects for the Tories to hold the seat would have been substantially greater. But they’re not and the pro Brexit vote tomorrow will be split.

The seat is one which at the referendum in June 2016 voting went very much in line with the national split of 52 to 48.

It just might be given the publicity that that always Johnson’s been getting that that the Tories could perform better than expected and run the Lib Dems very close.

One of the factors, though, is postal voting. There are about 10,000 in the constituency and the ballot packs went out 12 days ago and most of them will, if normal patterns are being followed, would have been returned pretty quickly. That means that quite a number of voters will have made their decisions before the Boris bounce.

My guess is that both CON and the LDs will take 40%+ of the votes.

On Betfair the Tories are rated as having a 13% chance of winning a figure that has gone up markedly in the past two days.

Mike Smithson