In tonight’s seriously funny cry-out-loud laughing tragi-comic election round up, we peer into the upset stomach of poll statistics, ponder the consequences of Jesus Corbyn, muck out the stables of Theresa May’s strengths, wander through the Welsh Valleys of Labour expulsion, and wonder what stops Tim Farron’s head from imploding.
While there’s no way the Tories are going to do anything but come first in this Fakelection, following a few “insider” conversations over the last few hours, I’ve been crunching some numbers today….and there are a couple of surprises in there. I did promise a week ago not to take this cynical election seriously, and I won’t be that anorakey (or too serious) tonight. But bear with me – it’s interesting.
By “insider” by the way, I mean a Party official, a canvasser, and a senior figure in the market research business. All without collusion offered the view that the Conservatives are not quite as far ‘ahead’ as some polls would have you believe.
There are two things I’ve found that back them up to some extent. The first is more startling than the second, and it involves the fact that an average 97% of respondents in most surveys are saying yes, they will definitely vote. That is a staggering number. It’s a lie of course (most research is about spotting when people are telling ‘social fibs’) but usually the figure is around 80%. In recent outings, the real turnout has been 60-65%. So doing a simple, crude quotient comparison, that would suggest a turnout nearer 70% this time.
It’s all complicated by the 10-point likelihood scales used by pollsters, and the fact that Tory supporters are more diligent than Labour fans about turning up. But this case may be unique: because gut and logic suggest that the increased turnout in 2017 is being driven by a higher than average determination by the vulnerable in society to vote Labour. And at the same time, some Conservative voters will be looking at the polls and thinking, “Do I really need to bother?”
The second point is significant (or not) depending on which poll(s) you trust more than others. Some methodologies are suggesting that 16-20% of voters have yet to make up their minds. That figure too is abnormally high: but other polls show it at around 12% and falling. I understand that so far, the firming up favours Labour; but I can’t corroborate that with further sources or hard numbers.
Again, hypothetically one could choose the number 14%, and then argue that – if Labour’s “slow and steady” process of persuasion begins to gather steam – most of them will be biting the bullet to vote Labour.
So in theory, yes, Thearse May could wind up with egg on her face, which is heavily enough pancaked as it is. That’s to say, if an unexpected 10% of undecideds and an increased 5% of turnout are added together, it cuts the Tory lead down to 3%.
It’s not impossible, but it remains improbable. For a start, while I think a rising turnout will favour Labour, it’d be nowhere near enough to stop a catastrophic defeat for the Corbynistas. And secondly, I’m more inclined to look at the stark change in Brexit support since Jean-Claude the Clown and Verhofstadt the Volestrangler began their merry pavane of alternately vapid insults and frenzied threats. Almost 7 out of 10 Brits said this week they want out of the European Bunion.
Now that suggests to me that a lot of the indecision might be among wavering Remainers; and their vote will go to the Tories, not UKIP in its current state.
Over the last two days, Labour has pretty clearly gone nap on the Life of Jeremy approach to bigging up Corbyn’s appeal. He does indeed appeal to those without hope, and he is in his heart a good man in the old sense of the word. But all the stops have been pulled out to show that Jezzer could fill Wembley Stadium every day: police have blocked roads, millions are locked outside eager to get even a look at The Great Man, etc etc. Labour’s propaganda in this election suffers from the same old problem: one can see it coming a mile off.
Anyway, news is just coming in on the teleprinter to say that 5,000 pilgrims turned up to Corbyn’s latest gig, and within minutes everyone had a loaf, a bloater, and a carafe of wine. Tomorrow he will heal the obese, walk across the River Irwell and bid the lame to take up their sofas and walk. But it won’t stop him being a leper in Smuggie England.
Big Sister May, meanwhile, continues to repeat the five phrases Lynton Crosby has taught her, but occasionally she fluffs it and confuses one for another. Thus this morning she told a crowd of seven lucky handpicked inmates from the Wagtails Dog Kennel in Sleeping Chodbury that she was now “stronger than any horse in the local stable”, and “more important than any election certainly in my lifetime”. There were treble wuffs all round. She did not take questions.
Labour’s manifesto is out ahead of the Tories (so they’re in the lead at something) and it promises among several thousand other things that, under a Corbyn Government, Wales will be “protected, promoted and preserved”. Unfortunely, the Labour vote there will be savaged, relegated and destroyed. All the four main polls now concur in the view that Labour will be wiped out as a Party in the Valleeess. The last time that happened, Lloyd George was Prime Minister. A hundred years ago.
A new poll came out at 21:30 CET and put the Conservatives back at 20% ahead of Labour. Paddy Power is allegedly offering odds of 1/100 that they won’t have a majority of under 50 over all other Parties. If I was in England, I’d chuck a tenner at that. But more cautiously, Paddy Ashdown has offered to run right across the Balkans in his underpants if the Liberal Democrats get up to but not including one seat in the new Parliament. Flushed with hope down a lavatory in Grimsby, Tim Farron has told his MPs, “Go back now to your constituencies, and prepare for government. Under the Tories”.
Oh how we laughed.