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Betfair still predicts the Tories

2017-06-05 16:00:00

It was a nice gesture from Corbyn, highlighting the way the Arsenal boss has overcome criticism to prove his doubters wrong. Now there are signs that Corbyn could emulate Wenger by delivering victory for his reds over Theresa May's Blues on June 8.

It’s not over yet...

According to Betfair, there's little chance of that happening: the Tories are 1.14 to win a majority and 1.07 to win most seats, while Labour is 1.88 to lose at least 30 seats and win 150-200.

On Thursday night, however, we saw the clearest indication yet that Labour could cause an upset at this election when YouGov published a poll showing them cutting the Tories' lead to five points. It was big news last weekend when Labour got within single figures of the Conservatives. Now, though, the gap between Theresa May's party (43%) and Labour (38%) is within the margin of error.

Not all the polls are as encouraging for Labour as YouGov's latest. Opinium have the Tories at ten points ahead of Labour, while ComRes have the Tories ahead by 12 and ICM give them a lead of 14. With ORB, Labour trail by six but, in all but one of these polls, they have gained points while the Conservatives have lost support.

Why are Labour gaining support?

A general election means more public scrutiny for the opposition party and a chance for voters to look closely at their policies. Many of Corbyn's policies have always been populist and, since the manifesto leak a fortnight ago, Labour has kept them in the limelight. This is reflected in polls such as one from ComRes which asks voters: "Who is best to look after the interests of hardworking families?" Corbyn outscores May by 41 to 28.

How will the terrorist attack in Manchester affect the election?

Even before Monday's attack in Manchester, the Tories were trying to paint Corbyn as a terrorist sympathiser. Ignoring that Corbyn has repeatedly condemned IRA and Loyalist bombing in Northern Ireland and that his policy of talking to Sinn Fein was the one eventually adopted by the British government to achieve the peace process. The Tory belief was that, after the horrendous attack in Manchester, all they needed to do was say the words "Corbyn" and "IRA" in the same sentence and this election would once again be a foregone conclusion.

That could yet turn out to be true: on keeping Britain safe from terrorism, 42% back May, as opposed to 16% for Corbyn, that’s according to ComRes. But Corbyn's more intricate ideas about domestic security and foreign policy could resonate with the electorate. More than a decade-and-a-half has passed, and many millions have died, since George W. Bush and Tony Blair began waging their war on terror and, by now, many people recognise that the problem is more complex than May and tough-talking hotheads in her cabinet would have us believe.

It's often been observed that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public. Maybe, but there's only so long politicians get away with treating the public like idiots. Betfair will be keeping a close eye on developments.

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