Boris Johnson By FCO (CC-BY-2.0)-small

The Tories might be riding high in the polls today, but there's still 18 days to go until the General Election and that's an age in political terms.

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With his party leading in the polls, Boris Johnson probably felt very comfortable this afternoon, while unveiling his Conservative Party unleash Britain's potential manifesto.

According to one opinion poll from Opinium, the Tories have opened up a 19 point lead over the Labour Party.

Now, I've produced a graph from the Opinium data to show three sets of figures.

The light green bar on the right of each set shows the data from the previous poll on the 15th of November.

The red bar in the centre of each set represents the basic data collected for the latest poll from yesterday and the blue bar on the left of each set shows the data for the latest poll after it has taken account of where each party is standing candidates.

That means, for example, that the Brexit Party support is halved from 6% to 3% only because they are standing in about half or fewer of seats.

So, comparing the previous poll with the latest poll corrected for where the parties are standing candidates, we have the Tories increasing by three points to 47% and 19 points clear of the Labour party on 28% in second place.

The self styled 'Party of Remain', the Lib Dems, has dropped a couple of points to now sit on 12% while, as already mentioned, The Brexit Party has dropped from 6% to 3%, but only because the pollsters have taken account of Nigel Farage's party only standing in just under 300 seats.

This gives the Tories a very healthy lead that appears to be undented by the release of the rather 'adventurous' Labour Party manifesto earlier in the week.

Now the increase in Tory support looks to be an obvious and direct result of The Brexit Party standing aside.

And at present the Labour Party seems to be stuck in a rut – and although the Lib dems are pushing their Stop Brexit message as hard as they possibly can, far from gaining them ground, they are losing traction.

And Datapraxis has conducted some analysis of YouGov polls and according to them the numbers of seats won by each party would look something like this in Great Britain but excluding the 18 seats up for grabs in Northern Ireland:

This prediction gives Boris Johnson 349 seats, meaning a secure majority of 48 seats for the Conservative Party.

And that takes into account up to all of the 18 Northern Irish MPs, including the DUP, potentially refusing to support the Tories.

Labour would get 213 seats, the SNP 49, the Lib dems 14, Plaid would get 5, the Greens 1 and the last one would be taken by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle.

But nothing for Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party. Which may explain reports of the possible rebranding of his party into the 'Reform Party' to presumably stop it from becoming the exit from the scene party, should Boris get the expected results.

The only drawback is that pushing through his deal against the wishes of a very suspicious DUP would not be a frictionless move.

I think that Boris will need to work hard to convince them that his deal will be good for Northern Ireland. Because without DUP support many would question its legitimacy.

Mostly good news for Boris then, as he made his 14 minute speech outlining the contents of his party's slimline 59 page manifesto, with the central themes being that he'd get Brexit done, while spending more on public services, including 50,000 more nurses, without changing the thresholds to raise more money from income tax, national insurance contributions and VAT.

The Tory big wigs are saying that this manifesto is not designed to be a 'game-changer' and one BBC correspondent called it a sort of safety first set of policies with nothing outlandish, bold or over the top in it.

It could therefore be hard for Labour to turn this one round easily, so it might just be a case of its all now for Boris to lose.

And that has happened before.

To put it bluntly, the Tory fat lady isn't singing quite yet!

No, the time is not yet ripe for our big child Prime Minister in waiting to don his Christmas onesie and rip the glitzy wrapping from his prezzies of London bus traction engines.

No, he needs to heed the lesson from Theresa May, the Ghost of Prime Minister Past, when it comes to General Election Complacency. ***********

And the polling guru, Sir John Curtice, gives three reasons in the Telegraph as to why Boris should not yet consider himself home and dry.

The first of these is that nearly 20% of Tory support currently relies on those that voted to Remain in the 2016 EU referendum.

And with the central plank of the party being to 'get Brexit done', many of these Tory Remainers may end up moving across to the Lib Dems in the coming days.

And this could be enough to melt the Tory majority away.

Then secondly, there are the Labour Brexiteers that Boris has managed to get on board his ship.

With many of them believing in nationalising certain industries like water, mail, the utilities and rail – coupled with Jeremy Corbyn announcing his neutral stance on Brexit, we might see some of them decide in the end to vote Red on the day, anyway.

And thirdly, at the moment two thirds of leavers support the Tories but only 40% of Remainers back the Labour party.

So, if the Remainers decided to get behind Jeremy Corbyn, once again the Tory majority could be shaved down to hung parliament territory.

And this is exactly what nice old grandpa Jeremy Corbyn will be working hard to bring about, now he's got the election that he said he wanted.

Especially as the nation has welcomed with open arms his extremist, anti-Semitic, racist and misogynistic version of the Labour Party ……… oh wait, he's actually as welcome as a potential leader of this country, as Prince Andrew is as leader of a charity.

Jeremy Corbyn has several problems, the main one of which, is that he is not a trusted figure in the country at large, nor with many of his fellow politicians, even those in his own party.

He is also going to have a very hard time convincing both Remainers and Leavers, especially the Brexiteers, to back the Labour Party, based on his personal policy of remaining neutral on Brexit.

The Remainers probably would back Labour, if the party came out and swung fully behind staying in the EU. Or at the least committed fully to a second referendum loaded with a choice between Remain, or a Labour Brexit in Name Only (BRINO). Otherwise they might feel that the Lib Dems were still a better choice for them.

But as Corbyn knows, getting behind Remain would lose him many more Leave voters to either the Tories of The Brexit Party, so he would probably baulk at that one.

As for the Leavers. The realisation that the vast majority of any Labour front bench, like John McDonnell, would be campaigning hard for remain, whatever Corbyn said, as well as knowing that the likely options on any second referendum ballot paper would be for Remain or BRINO, will probably stop most Labour Leave voters supporting Corbyn this time round. Unless they're attraction to his hard left policies on such things as nationalisation and increasing the take from Inheritance Tax, outweigh the Brexit issue.

Difficult times for the Labour Party leader.

But for the Tories, this might be the time that their campaign leaders start to wrap Boris Johnson in cotton wool and get the masking tape out ready to gag him at the first sign of a Boris blunder.

In fact they may already have started that process with the decision for him not to participate in a Channel 4 debate tonight, which forced the TV channel to cut the show – and there are also big question marks over whether Boris will take part in a Channel 4 climate crisis debate called 'Emergency on Planet Earth: The Debate' in the next couple of weeks.

And my message to CCHQ is, if you want Boris to win, don't dress him up as Santa Claus handing out presents – that could really backfire!

Sources:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/11/23/three-reasons-conservatives-cannot-yet-assume-home-dry/

https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/politics/opinion-polls/news/108153/conservatives-course-48-seat-commons-majority-according

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