Predicting The 2019 General Election
Published on 31/10/19
UK General Election 2019 Analysis
Thursday 12th December 2019
It had started to feel like a little while since the British voters had been to the polls, but yet again, the probability of a snap election this winter seems to have become too overwhelming an opportunity for Labour to miss. Let’s get this straight, though: the Tory party are overwhelming favourites to win a December 2019 general election. The general feel is that people would rather see Boris Johnson stay as Prime Minister then elect Jeremy Corbyn as the new PM. And whilst the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party are offering voters something more to think of, it’s our view that these two parties are likely to fall by the wayside as the ballot box results get counted.
It would be foolish to downplay the importance Brexit will have on this vote. Many punters will see this as a defacto second referendum, with Leave voters looking to the Conservative party and the Brexit Party, whilst Remainers will be looking to vote between Labour and the Lib Dems. The one outlier that we don’t know right now could be the one thing that springs a major surprise: what is the current split as we speak between Remainers and Leavers? Nobody knows, and the polls will reflect the current national desire.
The reason the safe money is on the Conservative party is because of two reasons: firstly, they hold a 13 point advantage in the polls. Whilst the swing needed by Labour is only 7, this isn’t taking into account that a large percentage of the country just don’t see Jeremy Corbyn as a good and fit leader. Regardless of your view on the MP for Islington North and the Labour party, this is a huge hurdle to climb for someone looking to lead a country.
The second reason it looks like a win for the Tory party is the infighting amongst the Remain camp. If we were to predict anything, it would be that Labour may well gain votes, but might not gain any seats because their voter share may be chewed into by the Liberal Democrats. This is a major concern for Corbyn, and although there’s a feeling that he will try and fight this election on national issues, him and his party cannot ignore the fact that many of the voters who may swing between parties see Brexit as a key point of contention.
We’ve focused on Labour, but what are the key issues with the Conservative party, and what questions do they need to answer?
The first point for the Conservative party is the shambles of the last 3 years. Even hardened Tory voters will notice that things have been pretty shambolic ever since David Cameron agreed to an EU referendum. There’s been elections, failed votes in the Commons and a number of poor PR blunders, and these will be leant on by Labour to push doubt into the minds of swing voters across the country. The ‘strong and stable’ motto of Theresa May will no doubt be mocked, but this in combination with some pretty woeful national hiccups will make sure the Conservative campaign is at least at peak concentration when they’re touring the country.
To many, Boris Johnson is what the country has been looking for. A leader figure, and a charismatic character to get behind. But this hasn’t stopped there being some serious skeletons in his closet. There have been a number of faux pas and sticky situations that Johnson has gotten himself into, and it’s these situations that the Tory opposition will try to emphasise once more. Although Johnson is popular, he’s also divisive. And this could be a problem for some undecided voters.
The one main problem the Conservative Party have is their dedication to leaving the EU. Rightly or wrongly, Boris has made it his mantra to “get Brexit done”, and this leaves two problems for the party. Firstly, he hasn’t actually got Brexit done. He nailed his colours to the mast when promising to leave by 31st October 2019, and that didn’t happen. That’s a stick that can be used by all sides bar the Lib Dems to beat Johnson with.
Secondly, the Tory party are very unlikely to win any votes from Remain voters, so if (a very big if) the public sway has moved closer to Remain than Leave across the last 3 years, there may be a slightly sticky situation to negotiate. But you’d still imagine that the outcome regardless would be a hung Parliament – something that is reflected in the current bookies odds. No overall majority is second favourite right now at 2.10 (11/10), just behind a Tory majority at 1.90 (10/11). All is looking rosie in the garden of Tory, for now at least.
Scotland has always been a major player in deciding the course of a General Election. It is one of the main reasons that the Labour Party are unlikely to win an election, be that outright or via a hung Parliament.
Traditionally, Scotland was a Labour stronghold, helping the party win back-to-back elections in 00s. After neglecting the country and allowing the SNP to ride the wave of nationalism and support for an independence vote, the party’s stature in Scotland disappeared, leaving Labour a shadow of itself and allowing the Tory party into power through the back door. The power of the SNP will again be crucial to how this election unfolds.
Scotland voted 62% in favour of remaining in the EU. It should come as no surprise, then, that the SNP support a second referendum. The SNP are also in favour of Scottish Independence, especially in the case of Britain crashing out of the EU. These two points would make it short, short odds to see the SNP continue to capture most of the seats in Scotland. Unless Labour has something up their sleeves at the grassroots level – like manipulating the idea that the SNP has done nothing for Scotland across the last few elections.
The Brexit Party are another party that may have a say in the December General Election. Our opinion is that the party won’t win a meaningful number of seats in Parliament, if any at all. The way that the Conservatives have committed to Brexit could be seen as a tactic of winning back support at an early election by targeting Leave voters who moved from Labour, to The Brexit Party, then placing themselves in the position to campaign on the back of that, saying “we know you want to leave, and we’re listening. We will leave the EU”.
The Brexit Party, much like Brexit itself, is a protest vote. Now these protest voters are seemingly about to be appeased, but still have threat from Remain-leaning parties, you may see a quick diversion from Brexit Party to Conservative for many of Nigel Farage’s supporters. And this, for Labour, will be seen as a disaster.
For many, the environment will play a huge part in this election. There’s been a lot of talk about this being the last election where real change can be made before 2030. But don’t expect the Green Party to make some kind of serge.
There are rumours of a pact taking place between the Green Party, the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru to ‘move aside’ to improve the others chances of gaining seats in certain areas that are too close to call. This is centred around Brexit, but it would potentially give Green a bigger say (bigger than 1 seat could still only be 2 seats) when it comes to environmental policy in the future. I think a safe bet would be for the Green Party to grow from a 1 seat party to 2. Huge for them, but tiny for the election.
This election is truly tough to call in all areas but the winning party. For all of the mess, for the prolonged Brexit situation and for the gaffs of Boris, the Conservative party are the party to back – but not with your money. Such short odds won’t win you much.
If the US election and the Brexit referendum have taught us anything, though, it is that things can become entirely unpredictable. Jeremy Corbyn will be using the message of ‘taxation of the rich’ heavily this election, whilst trying to paint Johnson as ‘just another rich Tory’, If this message cuts through, it could gain traction. And luckily for Corbyn, the Conservative party won’t be able to use the line of ‘Corbyn the Leaver’ as it would attract attention from Leave voters who are uncertain of where to put their vote.
An interesting bet would be to back Labour to win via a hung parliament, because quite frankly stranger things have happened. At 7.00 (6/1) now, this price will start to come down as the election goes on. It has to. As soon as the Labour campaign hits the ground and the public debates go on, we think that number will get closer to 4.00 (3/1). So basically – get your money on that now for a Christmas surprise, and perhaps an early cash out for a guaranteed profit.
Post-election movement will be interesting too. I don’t see a situation where Jeremy Corbyn can stay on as leader of the Labour party if he loses this one. But this could be in his favour if this message is communicated across the party – win, then Labour are in power. Lose, then many centerists and Corbyn-sceptics get their wish. Some smart money may be on Corbyn to step down as leader on 12th December.
However you plan to place your money, nothing is ever certain in British politics.