Can Labour win the election?

Unite leader Len McCluskey in two minds

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Does Labour stand a chance?

Unite leader Len McCluskey said in an interview with Politico that a "successful" campaign would be one in which Labour holds onto 200 seats.

Unison boss Dave Prentis fired back on Twitter, saying that "Success = a Labour government. That's what care workers, nurses and teaching assistants need."

McCluskey retracted the comments saying if he was doing the interview now, his stance would be the opposite as he was full of confidence.

According to the UK Polling Report, Kantar has topline figures of CON 47%(+3), LAB 29%(+1), LDEM 8%(-3), UKIP 6%(-2) while Panelbase has topline figures of CON 47%(-1), LAB 33%(+2), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 5%(nc).

The 33% that Labour have in the Panelbase poll is the highest the party has scored in the campaign so far. But how can Labour be polling at about the same as 2015 given their division, Corbyn’s poor ratings and so on?

Part of it seems to be that substantial numbers of voters who don’t like Jeremy Corbyn seem to be voting for Labour anyway. For example, 17% of current Labour voters would like the Conservative party to win the election. Presumably they are Labour supporters who don’t want a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn, but are voting for the party – perhaps through party loyalty, support for their local candidate, to ensure an viable opposition, or to give Labour a bigger base to recover from.

That combination of holding onto some unhappy Labour voters who don’t like Corbyn and gaining some new voters from the Greens and non-voters mean the Labour vote may not be collapsing in the way some expected.

Of course, it may also be that the publicity of the manifesto leak and launch is giving Labour a temporary boost, that the Conservatives and the hostile media have not yet turned their full cannons upon Jeremy Corbyn, or that the polls haven’t done enough to address over-estimates of Labour support.

Pledges to re-nationalise rail and energy companies, invest in new council homes and raise taxes on high earners all proved to be popular with the electorate.

Writing on Polling Report, Anthony J Wells, research director at YouGov, said: “Overall the pattern seems to be a slight narrowing of the Tory lead, but it’s a case of a truly humongous lead becoming merely a towering one: a lead of 14 to 18 points will still deliver a very hefty majority.

“The election also seems to be becoming more and more of a two-horse race. Ukip’s support fell sharply at the start of the campaign and only seems to have gotten worse since then, and while many expected the Liberal Democrats to increase their support during the campaign, it has yet to happen. If anything, Lib Dem support seems to be being further squeezed.”

Despite the small rise in Labour’s support, Mr Corbyn’s own ratings remain low. ORB found that only 26 per cent of the public approve of the Labour leader compared to 49 per cent who disapprove.

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