Suddenly this election becomes a lot more difficult to call – maybe not a CON landslide after all

Suddenly this election becomes a lot more difficult to call – maybe not a CON landslide after all


Will TMay get her landslide or could the result be a lot tighter?

The launching of the Conservative manifesto on Thursday has changed the whole narrative of this election.

From a situation where the only real outcome that appeared possible was a very substantial Conservative majority, certainly more than 100, we now have the first post manifesto polls with the gap closing sharply.

It was very bold of the Prime Minister and her team to include items within the manifesto that were not going to appeal to large numbers and would be controversial. The thinking appeared to be that having this there with the specifics spelled out would make things easier to enact and implement after the election.

What were particularly bold were the measures that seemed to hurt that key Conservative voting group, the oldies – a segment who have been sheltered from many of the welfare cuts that younger generations are having to deal with. This was a very clear signal from Mrs May that she was going to be different.

The exemption of Scotland from the ending of winter fuel allowance for wealthy pensioners looked very tricky. Also closing down other areas of public spending such as free school meals for the for the 4-7 year olds hasn’t polled very well at all.

    Maybe this is all part of Lynton Crosby’s cunning plan? Those 20%+ poll leads could have impacted on turnout and he needs the perception to be that this is close.

    The message that’s going to key voters in the marginals is that if the Tories lost just six seats then Mr. Corbyn could end up as PM. But Project Fear GE2017-style needs the numbers to back it up.

It has been widely assumed for months that Mr. Crosby has some hard-hitting ads such as reminding voters of the Birmingham IRA bombings all ready for this moment. These will of course highlight the stances at the time of Mr. McDonnell and Mr. Corbyn.

At least the final two and half weeks are going to be much more interesting than appeared likely.

Mike Smithson

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