General Election 'tough to call' - The Rugby Observer

General Election 'tough to call'

Rugby Editorial 9th Jan, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

THE FORTHCOMING General Election is likely to be one of the most unpredictable of all time according to a leading politics professor at Warwick University.

The latest opinion polls show Labour with the slenderest of margins nationally and Dr Alex Smith, assistant professor of sociology and senior research fellow at the university, told the Observer voters faced their toughest choice for decades.

Conservative MP Mark Pawsey won the Rugby seat with a healthy 6,000 majority at the 2010 election.

But Dr Smith said there could effectively be a second tier of marginal seats in the 2015 election where even reasonably healthy Conservative leads could be vulnerable.

He said this was because UKIP would take votes away from the Conservatives, putting some of their ‘safe’ seats at risk.

Dr Smith said: “It is set to be one of the most unpredictable elections in recent years.

“Voters are being presented with a difficult choice between a Government which is now associated with austerity and Government cuts and an opposition whose leadership lacks credibility.

“I doubt we will see a lot of UKIP seats won, in fact I think they will have a tough enough time holding on to the two they have gained nationally in by-elections.

“But what will be interesting is to see the extent they effectively help Labour by taking votes away from the Conservatives.

“So in a number of the seats which may be considered ‘safe’, which includes some in Warwickshire, we may actually see the margin cut considerably.

“For that reason the Conservatives will have to make sure they make the effort beyond just marginal seats if they want to try and make sure seats are not stolen away from them.”

Dr Smith said voters should prepare themselves for a vociferous election campaign as each party geared up for a closely fought election.

But he said there was still a good chance a Conservative Government could be returned on May 7 and that it would be a mistake to write off David Cameron too soon.

“It is very difficult to call,” he continued. “I think the closer we get to the election the more likely people are to make their decision on something elementary, like how plausible the leaders of the respective parties are.

“For that reason I think it a Conservative Government is a reasonably likely outcome.

“Because of the unpredictability it’s very likely to be going to be a very loud election campaign.”

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