All systems go

It's only been "on" for a couple of days and yet election season feels very much in full swing already. There haven't been any new polls, but some interesting election results.
In the Unite General Secretary election, Len McCluskey narrowly held off moderate challenger Gerard Coyne, though there seems to be some controversy about the count. Stephen Bush has a good summary in the NS.
Yesterday saw the final pair of local by-elections before May 4th. Blacon in Chester was held by Labour against a 1.2 per cent swing away to the Conservatives – an encouraging result, though possibly a misleading one due to changes in candidature. Kenton East on Harrow was gained by the Conservatives on a 9.7 per cent swing. This ward is strongly Remain, which should encourage the Tories, but in any case we’ll have a better idea of local patterns after 4th May.
Today was a bit of a media bingo day for me, you can hear my thoughts on the upcoming election on the Daily Politics (below, from 34:55), Radio 4’s More or Less (from 17:50) and the FT Politics Podcast (further down).

This week’s Polling Matters is a fascinating one with Laurence Janta-Lipinski and Conor Pope of Progress discussing a number of aspects of the election, including polling accuracy, policy versus strategy, and Conor’s encounters with INLBs on the doorstep.

Elsewhere, analysis shows that being openly LGBT doesn’t seem to hurt a candidate’s chances (though being of an ethnic minority background seems to).
The first Welsh poll of the campaign is out on Monday. The last one in January had a 5 point Labour lead, though as I wrote at the tim, that looked a bit suspect because Labour seemed to be relying heavily on some very unlikely voters. Given that combined with the movement in GB polls since, you’d expect to see the Conservatives ahead, and Roger Scully’s preview calling the numbers “dramatic” doesn’t sound at all inconsistent with that.
I haven’t yet heard of any confirmed polls before Monday, but the first Sunday papers after an election being called are usually a good bet…
Correction: An earlier version of this briefing said that the YouGov/ITV Wales/Cardiff University poll was to be published on Wednesday. It’s actually scheduled for Monday.

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