As we start the general election campaign the overall polling position is a strong lead for the Conservative party. Most polls are showing extremely strong leads up in the high teens, a few breaking twenty.
As the polls currently stand (and, obviously, there are seven weeks to go) a Conservative majority looks very, very likely. But a word of warning in 1983 and 1997 the polls largely overstated the victorious party’s lead. And during campaigns the polls tend to narrow.
The first Welsh polls are due to be published next week.
Another factor that is unusual is that there will be local elections held in the middle of the general election campaign in recent times they’ve tended to be held on the same day as the general election. The last time this happened was in 1983 and 1987.
But the results were not good predictors for what happened a month later. In 1983’s local government election the Conservatives were 3 points ahead a month later in the general election they were 14 points ahead. Similarly in 1987 the Conservatives were 6 points ahead and a month later they were ahead by 11 points.
Moral, don’t get excited or depressed on the local council results they will mean very little on 8 June. Although they might get some party workers to renew their efforts in the big one.
Labour vulnerable in North East Wales
So which are the Welsh seats to watch on election night? With the Conservatives riding high in the polls there are six seats that they will be concentrating their efforts 4 in North East Wales namely, Alan and Deeside; Wrexham; Clwyd South and Delyn. All could be captured if the Conservatives are 10 points ahead on the day.
South Wales predictions
In South Wales Bridgend would fall if the Tory lead was 5 points as would Newport West if the lead was 10 points.
If the 20-point lead in the polls were translated to votes on the day then the 3 Labour seats in Cardiff would fall. Cardiff South and Cardiff West to the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats would be in with a shout of winning back Cardiff Central.
The hopes of other parties
Another Labour seat that is very vulnerable is Ynys Mon. Plaid Cymru would have high hopes of capturing it Labour’s Albert Owen has only a majority of 229 which makes him vulnerable. That said the last time the islanders got rid of a sitting MP was in 1951 when Megan Lloyd George lost to Cledwyn Hughes.
What if there is a change of fortune
But should the campaign itself change Labour’s fortunes, they would be chasing the Tories in Gower, which the Conservatives hold on a meager 27; Vale of Clwyd where their majority is 237. And if that miracle happened and Labour started to lead by 5 points then Cardiff North would be back in the frame.
There is an outside chance that if the Liberal Democrats see a surge in their support they might win back Brecon & Radnor and Montgomery. They would need leads of double figures but with the Conservatives riding high in the country at the moment it is unlikely.
Plaid Cymru live in hope of gaining back Ceredigion but having failed last time when the Liberal Democrats were at their lowest ebb the political tide would have to be much more favourable for them to succeed.
A golden rule for all elections, be prepared for the voters to produce a shock result somewhere on the night. That’s what makes election night such fun when we see our politicians squirm when the electors have given them a kick in the nether regions.