It's the INLBs, stupid…

So after months of speculation, and a torrent of "but but but Fixed Term Parliament Act" tweets every time it was suggested, it's now likely that we're heading to the polls on 8th June. It isn't quite certain because the House of Commons still has to pass it with support of at least two-thirds of its total membership, which means 434 of the 650 seats. Those votes have to be ayes – an abstention is effectively a no – so Labour votes will be needed.
It's thought that the SNP MPs are planning to abstain, and there will be absentees, so maybe 100 or so Labour votes will be needed. There has been talk of Labour abstentions, but it doesn't seem to be anywhere near enough.
Normal polling schedules will presumably be upended by the election. ICM had two out today, one of which was the normal fortnightly offering showing the Conservatives with an unchanged 18 points ahead, while the second was a snap on-the-day poll showing them increasing that to 21 points. Polling that quickly is not easy to do, so should probably come with health warnings, but given that the three biggest leads that any poll has given a Conservative government have all been in the last few days, it’s fair to say that there’s now mounting evidence of an increased Tory lead.

There were also questions from ICM, YouGov and Sky Data on the election itself, all of which drew strong support across party lines. An important caveat to that is that polls tend to oversample people interested in politics, so they may be disproportionately enthusiastic. In any case, not much evidence of widespread hostility to holding it (other than from long-suffering journalists).
As for NCP’s plans for the next 50 days, there is plenty to look forward to, so please let your friends, foes, colleagues et al know about this briefing!
But a few thoughts on what might happen. Theresa May starts off with a huge lead, and the likeliest outcome is a big Tory majority, but how big and how the probabilities spread around that is the question. This will be the shortest parliament since 1974, so the traditional 4-5 year cycle hasn’t played out – it’s fair to say yesterday was a surprise. And because voters haven’t been thinking in election terms, some movement in the polls as that changes shouldn’t come as a surprise.
I’m going to have plenty to say, and plenty of data to say it with, about different sections of the electorate, but one that’s going to be crucial are what I call the INLBs. Several Labour people I’ve heard from have encountered these INLBs on the doorstep. They’re the “I’m Normally Labour But…” voters, traditional Labour supporters now wavering, many over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, others citing Brexit. Case in point, ICM’s “spiral of silence” adjustment, which assumes waverers mostly return to the party they voted for last time, results in a 21-point Conservative lead in its flash poll. Without it, it would show a 25-point Tory lead. So these people matter a lot.
Here we go…

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