GE2017 – Tracker – Thursday 25th May – Democracy persists

Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 387.8 – Week change = -11.3

Labour: Av u/o seats = 179.2 – Week change = +18.3

Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 12.5 – Week change = -0.3

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Spreadex | Con 383-389 (Week = -10)| Lab 172-178 (+10) | LD 13.5-16.5 (-0.5)

Sporting Index | Con 384-390 (-8) | Lab 172-178 (+12) | LD 14-17 (0)

(2015 result | Con 330 | Lab 232 | LD 8

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Local campaigning resumes today after an electoral truce in the wake of the dreadful events that took place in Manchester on Monday evening.

The callous bombing of a pop concert has claimed 22 lives; it will leave scars both physical and emotional on hundreds more.

Without doubt an act of terror of this scale changes the shape of an election: priorities change and perspectives shifts – but democracy’s persistence is democracy’s triumph.

It seems a long time ago now that Theresa May was widely ridiculed for her U-turn on Conservative manifesto commitments around social care. Reversing on the so-called ‘dementia tax’ was read as a desperate bid to mitigate Labour’s strengthening in the polls.

Indeed, the weekend saw the Labour average seats line swell to around 170 (from a low point of 156.5 in the aftermath of the local elections). Labour’s improvement squeezed the Liberal Democrats – down to under/over 12.5 seats across the board – and tempered enthusiasm for a Conservative party that previously had seemed unstoppable.

Many voices – some more rational than others – have speculated as to what the Manchester terror attack means for the parties’ election prospects. Looking at the betting, the impact for the time being is minimal. Whilst I haven’t published blog updates over recent days, I have still tracked the prices. Labour’s upwards trend continues with the current seat quotes of 179.5 (Paddy Power and Ladbrokes) and 178.5 (SkyBet) the highest of the campaign so far with the respective bookmakers.

However, the Conservatives remain in comfortable territory. Labour’s improved polling – in particular a barometer showing that party had retaken the popular vote lead in Wales – might have diluted talk of a crushing Tory landslide, but the narrowest GB poll gap we’ve seen so far still gives the Conservatives a 9pt advantage. Yes Labour numbers are improving and that might help candidates to cling on in defensive marginals, but the gains from Conservatives that Mr Corbyn would need to consider forming a government are still unlikely.

Having said that, given Labour’s national poll bounce and the remarkable swing in Wales, I make Labour a decent bet in Gower – where they are 7/2 to win with Paddy Power. The seat is an ultra-marginal having been taken by the Conservatives by just 27 votes in 2015.

Labour held Gower for pretty much the entirety of the 20th Century. The unpopularity of Mrs May’s manifesto suggests there’s a good chance they’ll get the seat back in the red column this time.

david gower 02.jpg

Gower in play

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