But unlike the voter ID proposals, we can estimate with some confidence how much effect using the later version of the register would have. It would have virtually none, for the simple reason that the increase hasn’t all been in Labour constituencies as was widely assumed, but very evenly distributed across blue and red seats across England and Wales. In both areas, the increase in registration was 4.8 per cent.
The 2010 to 2015 parliament was characterised by electoral flux, something that dominated the study of politics at the time, and was crucial in throwing off the polls. By contrast, this parliament has seen far less volatility among the smaller parties (so far), with UKIP and the Lib Dems aiming to capitalise on Brexit.
This set of bilateral battles (for votes, not just seats) is both fascinating and poorly understood. Unfortunately, the lazy assumption that Lib-Lab and UKIP-Con axes are more important than Lib-Con and UKIP-Lab persists (to some extent).
And despite getting even less attention than in the last parliament, the Green parties have withstood both Labour’s move to the left and the #LibDemFightback, and continue to poll very close to the record (for a Westminster election) 3.8% of the GB vote they won in 2015. It looks like the green base is a thing.
And finally, this has been a busy year for leadership elections in the GB-wide parties, which an average of one each. UKIP had more than its share with Diane James briefly succeeding Nigel Farage, before Paul Nuttall took the helm. That leaves the Lib Dems’ Tim Farron (of 17 months tenure) as the longest serving party leader leader of a GB-wide Westminster party.
And now for 2017…
2017 will be lively with local and mayoral elections and a number of Westminster by-elections in Britain, plus several parliamentary and presidential elections in mainland Europe.
Be sure to stay on top of the numbers with the new NCP briefing (and the highly recommended new article and poll alerts), which you can sign up for using the form below.
Happy new year!