As we enter the final stage of the General Election campaign, a synchronised sigh of relief was let out from journalists, pundits and politicos in Westminster. Whoever said six weeks was too short for a General Election campaign could not have predicted the roller coaster, we as a country, were about to embark on.
The catalyst for this election was, the now-infamous, opinion poll that put the Conservatives twenty points ahead of Labour. Six weeks ago, Theresa May was regarded as a strong leader and the Conservatives saw their opportunity; solidify their majority, obliterate Labour and ensure they were the governing party past 2022. Now, the day before the country goes to the polls, the picture is quite different.
The Prime Minister will be reliving the day she stepped up to the lectern outside 10 Downing Street to tell the country that she had decided to call a General Election. From that moment, the campaign has seemingly gone downhill for Theresa May, as her party and the public start to question her strength as a leader.
Regardless, the Conservatives have been on the attack from the get go, targeting key marginal Labour seats with small majorities, voting Leave in the EU referendum. Labour on the other hand have been seeking to retain their own seats. Laura Kuenssberg’s stats this morning, paint this in glaring light;
“Jeremy Corbyn has been to 63 seats – 27 Labour including 20 safe seats, 34 Tory seats, 1 SNP and 1 Liberal Democrat. By contrast, Theresa May has visited 62 seats – 41 of them Labour, 15 Tory, 5 SNP and 1 Liberal Democrat. She has been to no safe Tory seat other than her own constituency.”
In some ways the General Election has worked in Corbyn’s favour and allowed him to step into his element. He is a campaigner by nature and with the campaign machine of Labour HQ behind him, Corbyn has brought the UK’s second major party hot on the tails of the Conservatives, according to some major polls. Despite this, his campaign has struggled when key policies have crumbled under scrutiny, particularly on education spending, policing and security.
The public have taken the opportunity to take on party leaders, pressuring them to give answers about how they are going to help those most in need across the country. The NHS, housing and public services have been at the forefront of the questions that parties, candidates and leaders have had to address. In this respect, the Conservatives massively underestimated the ground-swell that was to come over the election campaign, as all of the other parties took them to task on these issues. Ultimately, this tactic combined with the u-turn over the ‘Dementia Tax’ has put the Conservatives in a far weaker position than at the start of the campaign.
For an election that was supposedly to strengthen the Conservatives hand in the Brexit negotiations, this election had nothing to do with Brexit. Likewise any hope that the Liberal Democrats had back in April that this election could force the Government to alter its position on Brexit faded pretty quickly. Considering how big an issue it is, Brexit has often not been the headline issue.
Unprecedentedly, the barbaric terror attacks in Manchester and London that have taken place during the election campaign have changed the dialogue significantly, bringing national security to the forefront of many voters’ minds. It is likely to loom large in many minds in polling booths tomorrow.
Any guess at the result from tomorrow’s vote at this point is just that; a guess. The polls can’t agree and neither can the pundits. But, the time for winning over undecided voters is now over and the parties will be focussed on turning out their supporters between now and 10pm on Thursday. Some of the initial results will indicate how things will play out throughout the night. Nuneaton, a crucial bellwether, was retained by the Conservatives in 2015, and by a bigger margin than many had predicted they could. The result set the tone for the night, and is once again expected shortly after 1am. Also during this time we will have Darlington and Tooting coming through. Both are big Tory target seats and wins here will indicate a big Conservative majority.
Corbyn will be hoping that young people will have learnt their lesson the hard way following the EU referendum, and will come out in bigger numbers than usual at this election. May on the other hand will be praying that her calculated gamble pays off at the end of the day and that she secures a significantly increased. Otherwise, her card is marked and she will have to answer some very difficult questions from her party.
Interel’s plan on election night
We will have a team up all night following the results as they come in, and will be closely monitoring any developments. Be sure to follow us @InterelUK for our thoughts on the night as it unfolds. If you would like to contact a member of our staff during the night, or would like to be included on our mail outs of election coverage, please email Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org. We will:
- Send out a bulletin shortly after the exit poll is announced at 10pm
- Send out a morning bulletin with an overview of the results and sectoral analysis
- Sending out a final roundup at the end of the day
This is as well as the usual bespoke monitoring we will be doing, whilst keeping in touch with our clients throughout the day.
Key Constituencies to watch on election night
With 650 constituencies being contested, following the election can at times feel a little overwhelming. We have focused on 12 constituencies, all marginal seats, which are reflective of the various political contests taking place all over the country. They are also indicative of what the final result might be as they are the kind of seats either party needs to be winning to secure the result they want. It would be well worth keeping an eye on these seats on election night.
Constituencies are listed by the time we are expecting the results to come through, starting with the earliest, ending with the latest.