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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Uncertain Election

There is, today, the usual last minute campaigning going on, and in Young Dave’s case, it was going on all through last night as well. But the polls are not showing the Tories pulling away – so much for Cameron’s declaration of “having the momentum” – with the only movement in the YouGov tracker being Labour regaining ground at the expense of the Lib Dems.

In fact, that Tory rating of 35% would be nowhere near enough to get them a majority in the next Parliament, unless they performed significantly better in marginal seats, which could be a big ask if the Lib Dem vote holds up in contests where they are the main opposition. And then there is the postal vote.

Nobody seems to be mentioning postal voting, even though, as I pointed out a while back, there is apparently a lot more of it going on this time round. Now add in those newly registered voters, many of whom are younger and maybe less likely to take any notice of Tory cheerleading from the Fourth Estate, and you have the potential for real uncertainty.

Tory supporters like to cling to the idea that opinion polls understate their vote share, but this time round, that idea might just apply to one or both of their main adversaries. And today is the last day for publishing those polls – not allowed on polling day – with the fieldwork coming from Monday and early Tuesday.

Which means that any late movement in support, as in 1992, may not get picked up. Meanwhile, all the parties can do is to keep pressing on, under the pretence that they are ones in touch with reality.

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