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Survey says PM Johnson's lead over Corbyn narrower for Thursday's polls

Thursday, December 12th 2019 - 03:43 UTC
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Brexit seems to have become a popularity contest between Johnson  and Corbyn Brexit seems to have become a popularity contest between Johnson and Corbyn

British voters are set to make history in Thursday's general election where much more than who will become Prime Minister is at stake. It is, admittedly, about deciding who will govern for the next five years, but more than that, it is about whether the nation stays or leaves the European Union and everything it entails.

The campaign was dominated by general slogans and a personality contest between the Conservative serving PM Boris Johnson and his main challenger, Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party.

For much of the four-week electoral campaign, Johnson's centre-right Conservatives were ahead of the main opposition centre-left Labour in all opinion polls, and by as much as 10 percentage points, a huge lead which, if translated into parliamentary seats on Thursday, could give the Tories a majority of around 60 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons.

But the latest extensive research conducted on the eve of the ballot by YouGov, one of the most respected British pollsters, indicates that the Conservatives' lead has been slashed, with the government projected to win only 339 of the 650 seats, a majority of only 14 MPs over all other parties.

And even this is just a very tentative prediction, for traditional party loyalties are breaking down, and the question of Brexit - as Britain's separation from the European Union is now popularly called - has divided the electorate in ways never encountered before, with four different electoral trends unfolding, which could end up in an electoral upset.

Johnson and his slogan “Get Brexit Done” to depart the EU by the end of January, traditionally draws his support from the prosperous constituencies in southern England, and especially the leafy suburbs of major cities.

Recent polls have shown most these voters to be against Brexit and might defect to the Liberal Democrats, a small centrist party which advocates staying in the EU. Dominic Raab, the current British Foreign Secretary, may well become the biggest political casualty on Thursday since he risks losing his seat on the outskirts of London to precisely such a trend, even though the Tories can still bank on strong support from the industrial Northeast where most voters are resolute Brexiteers and may well desert Labour due to its fuzzy approach at the issue.

In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon's Scottish National Party looks poised attract traditional Labour supporters on its path to a future new attempt at independence from the UK, for which staying within Europe is crucial.

But after all the political analysis, the election seems to boil down to a matter of personalities: Johnson is no primadonna, but he has his unconventional charms to take on Corbyn's sinking popularity ratings to the point of becoming the lowest ever recorded for a party leader in British general elections.

In any case, the race appears to be tight, with wafer-thin majorities deciding the outcome in various constituencies. “There are 85 seats with a margin of error of 5 per cent or less,” warned Chris Curtis, political research manager for pollsters YouGov.

Categories: Politics, International.

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