The campaign begins, turnout and an initial prediction

With the Early Election Motion passed 522-13, the election is now confirmed for June 8th, seven weeks today. Today’s Times has the second poll since the announcement:

Thats quite a move, and in fact it’s the highest vote share in any poll for a Conservative government since 1991 (during the Gulf War), and the biggest such lead since September 1987.

As I flagged yesterday, the transition from midterm mode to election mode for voters may be having an effect. It may also be notable that the only other post-announcement poll (ICM on the day) also showed a 3-point increase in the Tory lead.

This is, of course, a single poll, so we need to see some more before being sure that the move has actually gone this far. Even so, it now seems unlikely that all of the movement over the last week was just noise.

Also in the poll is further evidence of public support for holding an election, with 49 per cent (including 47 per cent of Labour voters) backing the move. Engagement versus apathy has been much discussed, though what it means for turnout is less clear. Predicting turnout accurately is sometimes harder than calling the result itself, but there are two key forces at work. On the one hand, expected landslides often depress turnout (as does voter fatigue). But on the other hand, there’s been a trend both in Britain and internationally towards higher turnout in most types of vote. So that question is open for now.

But what about the result? Last night I spoke to the BBC about the prospects for the election and although the NCP forecast model isn’t up and running yet, I repeated my earlier prediction that the likeliest outcome would be the Conservatives winning big (triple-digit majority). That was before the YouGov poll, which naturally hasn’t done anything to change my mind!

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