Of course, we all know that opinion polls have to be taken with a pinch of salt. And, anyway, the campaign hasn’t even started yet. Things can change very quickly during general election campaigns.
Nevertheless, it must be likely that the Tories will have a landslide victory in June. Bear in mind that, generally speaking, the polls have been unreliable in the recent past because they have underestimated Conservative support. The conventional theory is that the pollsters have failed to take account of the reluctance of some people to admit that they intend to do anything so anti-social as to vote for Tories.
In the last couple of days there have been some truly remarkable polls.
As Nicola Sturgeon accepts, the battle in Scotland would now appear to be a two horse race between the SNP and the Conservatives. Indeed, the latest Scottish poll suggests that Labour’s one seat in Scotland will be lost, while the Tories will go up from one to twelve seats.
Even more remarkable is the latest Welsh poll. It puts the Conservatives on 40% and Labour on 30%. If the poll is right, the Tories will have more seats in Wales than all the other parties put together. That has not happened since the middle of the nineteenth century (and the Tories last had more seats than Labour in Wales in 1922).
Then there was the Guardian’s poll of Labour marginal constituencies. Sixty five of them are predicted to change from Labour to Conservative. That poll certainly does need the pinch of salt because the sample was extremely low. But other nationwide polls tend to suggest that Labour is going to do very badly throughout the country.
It is possible that the Liberal Democrats will make some gains, but, slightly surprisingly to someone who mixes with the professional classes in London (who remain incensed by the EU referendum result and endlessly declare their intention of voting for Mr Farron’s crew), the polls do not suggest a dramatic resurgence in Liberal Democrat voting.
In short, putting all the recent polls together, the current prediction is that the Conservatives’ overall majority could increase from 17 to about 150.
That is obviously good news for Mrs May, but is it good news for all those Tory candidates in seats currently held by Labour who will find themselves members of the House of Commons on 9th June?
Suddenly becoming an MP produces a great upheaval in a person’s life. The problem is not great if the new MP is in a safe seat. But, if he or she has won a marginal constituency, there is the all too real prospect of being turfed out in five years’ time. It is true that some of the Conservative victors will benefit from boundary changes which will be made after the election (the current boundaries give Labour something like a 6% advantage over other parties). But many of them must be likely to be in the House for only five years.
I am assuming that Labour will opt for a more electable leader after the election, or that a new centre left party will emerge if Momentum insists on choosing another Corbyn. If either of those things happens, bearing in mind the undoubted fact that governments always become unpopular in time, quite a few of those new Tory MPs will find themselves back on the labour market (for real jobs) in 2022.
Re-entering the real world after five years in Parliament is hardly ever easy. I think we should applaud those Tory candidates who are prepared to put their lives on hold for the next five years.