To begin with we thought that the polls underestimated Tory support. On-line polls require you to register to take place and are more dominated by Labour supporters than Tory. The telephone polls, which target people on a random basis, always had the Tories ahead.
Our other reasoning behind a Tory victory covered closet Tories; UKIPs who switch to Tory on the wasted vote theory, David Cameron’s personal ratings being way ahead of Ed Miliband combining with Kellner’s law and the Sophomore effect.
Closet Tories are those who don’t like to admit to voting Tory in public because they are worried about what their friends will think.
UKIP voters are well aware that not supporting the Tories is a vote for Labour and demographics suggested that deserting UKIPs would do more for the Tories than they would for Labour. At the last 2010 election 20% of UKIPs changed their mind at the last minute.
David Cameron’s personal ratings on economic competence were just miles ahead of Ed Miliband and Kellner’s Law says that no incumbent with strong personal ratings has ever lost an election.
The Sophomore effect observes that MPs who were new to Parliament in the previous election tend to do better than the polls because they are more energetic, younger and benefit from their £100,000 “integrating yourself in your constituency” grant that new MPs get. The Sophomore effect was always going to do the Tories more good than Labour.
So we now have the Brexit to worry about. 2017 is the date. The mood is likely to be split without any reforms, but with just a few reforms I think that there will be strong support for staying in.
Indeed, if there are signs in Europe that they understand that “enough is enough”, the Brexit will not happen. I sense that the resounding fear is really based around legislative creep and the worry that, for example, the treaty principles on the free movement of people within the union will be twisted into regulating rabbit shooting in Wales.
Comparisons with Switzerland are misplaced if the rest of Euroland decides to be spiteful and punish the UK for exiting with high trade tariffs and operational restraints on trade with Europe. I suspect the French would lead the charge here.
The French election is in April 2017 and the prospect of a swing to the right should help Euroland take a more pragmatic approach to commerce, lessen the drive for Socialist inspired centralised control and boost the attractiveness of staying in the European Community.
So I conclude that the prospect of a Brexit is low.
But it will have the effect of giving UKIP their day on the political stage, a rejection of their ideas and then a migration of UKIPs back to their previous political allegiances, which I think will help the Tories more than Labour.
John Royden, Research Officer