WESTMINISTER (Labour Buzz) - The BBC’s exit poll predicts a dreadful night for Labour as Labour leavers look set to hand the election to the Tories, but all is not lost.
In 2017 election night started with a bombshell as exit polls defied expectations showing a hung parliament. This time, it’s come up with another shock, of a different kind: The Conservatives, if this, is to believed, are on for the biggest majority since the days of Margaret Thatcher.
The exit poll, conducted by Ipsos Mori, asked voters to fill in a mock exit poll as they left the polling station to show how they had just voted.
According to the results, the Conservatives are on course to win 368 MPs, 50 more than in the 2017 election, Labour will be on 191, the Lib Dems 13, SNP 55 while Plaid Cymru will have three and the Greens will still have one.
Exit polls have tended to be accurate over the past few elections and if the same is true now it shows the Conservatives on course for their biggest victory since 1987 and Labour for their worst result since 1935 losing more than 70 seats.
It’s also a shocking result for the Lib Dems who started this election claiming they could go on to form the next government.
It’s all about Brexit
Labour’s Achilles heel in this election (assuming all this turns out to be true) is Brexit. Support has collapsed in some of their traditional strongholds which voted to leave, if nothing else giving a clear answer to all those in the remain camp who demanded to know why Corbyn was reluctant to support remain.
That’s their answer in clear black and white.
Boris Johnson has hammered away at Brexit as almost his sole argument and he’s been helped by a media which appear determined that this would be the Brexit election? Everything else: the environment, healthcare, austerity, could take a back seat.
What of the youthquake
Earlier in the day there has been hopes that the 2017 Youthquake could be repeating itself and turnout is indeed high. Young people have been out in force, showing their support for Labour. Unfortunately, it’s come in seats where Labour are already doing well.
But wait on a bit…
So, if you’re supporting Labour it all seems fairly disastrous, but there are still reasons you might want to hold on.
First this poll includes 65 seats which are too close to call. It’s still a whole lot closer than anyone in the media is predicting.
It also only covers 144 polling stations and just over 22,000 interviews. It’s still a relatively small sample which leaves plenty of room for error, especially as so many of the seats appear to be so close.
Secondly, polls have been wrong before. We won’t know for sure how accurate this poll is until the results start coming in from midnight.
And last, but perhaps most important. This election is all about Brexit, but on all the key points Labour has shifted the needle distinctly to the left.
Because of them, the environment is now one of the top three issues affecting voters. The days when politicians could simply ignore climate change are gone. The Tories gave it a good go, but even they had to desperately be seen to be doing something.
People want change on all sorts things: They want an end to austerity, and they want a fairer and more balanced economy. The Tories are not going to deliver that, and they never will.
Young people a mobilising like never before. They are abandoning the Conservatives in their droves and choosing Labour.
There is complacency among many Conservatives that things will change as they age, that they will somehow forget the betrayal of their futures as soon as they have mortgages and start to build up wealth, but that ignores several key facts.
Thanks to the Tories their chances of building that wealth and ever getting a mortgage are much slimmer than they used to be.
Most of all, though, the idea that the young have always favoured the left is not quite accurate. In days gone by, the split was much more evenly balanced. The younger generation have moved decisively to the left leaving the Conservatives patching together a coalition of the elderly, the rich and the confused.
If this poll is to be believed that will be enough to carry this election, but looking to the future, time is not on their side.
(Written by Tom Cropper, edited by Michael O'Sullivan)