Six reasons Labor can’t win the next election on its own

Tanking Conservative poll ratings and a solid – if not spectacular – performance from Labor in recent months have both contributed to the sense that Keir Starmer will lose the next election.

The winds, if popular wisdom is to be believed, have changed: just three years ago, Jeremy Corbyn led Labor to its worst defeat since 1935; Today, under Keir Starmer, the party looks set to win its first election in nearly 20 years.

Crucially, for the first time under Starmer, the public now thinks a Labor majority is the most likely outcome of the next general election, according to YouGov polling.

Starmer seems to believe it too – he is visibly more confident in public and is beginning to set out a definitive vision of what the next Labor government might look like.

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His new-found assertiveness also seems to be backed up by numbers – Labor’s leadership seems to have stabilized in the mid-20s. a model This translates to a staggering 507 seats.

But while such rising levels of support may seem unexpected, there is no guarantee they will hold up over the next 18 months, much less withstand the inevitable pressures of an election campaign.

And even if Labor manages to cling to its poll lead, the road to victory under a first term is winding and fraught with difficulty.

Thanks to our crooked and outdated electoral system, winning the popular vote is not enough to guarantee Labor a majority – or that they will even be the largest party. And with a number of smaller parties now jostling for a place in the straitjacket of our two-party system, any election is likely to produce unpredictable results.

While the polls give clear reasons for optimism, there is no room for complacency, as Starmer himself continues to warn. He must recognize that the key to a progressive victory lies in supporting pluralism, coalitions and proportional representation – without which his victory is not assured.

Below are six reasons why Labor cannot count on winning alone, and why the next general election without progressive cooperation could return a hung parliament in place of a Labor victory – or worse.

Swing labor is required

Evidence shows that First Past the Post produces unrepresentative results and, in recent years, has tilted elections towards the Conservatives because the current Conservative voting coalition is currently more efficiently distributed across the country than Labour, our electoral system making it easier for the current government to win a majority.

Labor needed about a 12% advantage on election day to secure just a majority, while the Conservatives, with a 12% lead, secured a majority of more than 100.

This means Labor will have to achieve a national swing bigger than 1945 or 1997 to gain an unprecedented 120 seats – a huge undertaking.

boundary changes

The Boundary Commission has made changes to constituencies across the UK to equalize the number of votes in each seat and is due to report its final recommendations for the 2023 boundary review in July this year.

The boundaries are subject to regular review and input from political parties, but opposition parties are duly alert for any signs of aversion.

No two ways about it – the new frontier is bad news for Labour.

As established above, first past the post already favors conservatives, but these changes could increase their favor.

Had the 2019 election been held under the proposed new boundaries, the Conservatives would have gained 6 more seats – 3 from Labour, 1 from the Lib Dems and 2 from Plaid.

These boundary changes had a larger impact on the results of previous elections, with 9 additional seats for the Conservatives in 2017, 15 in 2015 and 12 in 2010.

Under the new boundaries, Labor would have more marginal constituencies, while the Conservatives would have fewer, meaning Labor would need a bigger swing to oust the Conservatives and win a majority.

Voter ID

New rules introduced this year require people across England to show photo ID when voting in local and national elections.

There are concerns that those without ID, who are more likely to come from disproportionately marginalized communities and groups in society that are more democratically marginalized, such as the youth, will be disenfranchised by these new regulations.

These people are also more likely to be Labor voters, so many expect this to have a negative impact on the Labor vote – another win for the Conservatives.

Undecided voters

Estimates of many seats based on current polls do not factor in the large number of still undecided voters.

Analysis of these core voters by the campaign group Best for Britain found that most of them are likely to be timid Conservatives, given their age and educational profile.

Areas that now have large numbers of undecided voters – dubbed ‘swinging walls’ by the BfB – also previously had a large Conservative vote, suggesting these voters have recently drifted away from the Conservatives.

They may be undecided for now, but they won’t stay that way: 85% of them say they will vote in the next general election.

Given their demographic makeup, it is possible that they will turn to the Conservatives, which would reduce Labour’s seat numbers and create a hung parliament.

Lack of enthusiasm for labour

Although Rishi Sunak’s personal poll ratings have plummeted in recent weeks amid further abuse allegations for his party, there is little evidence that the public is particularly enthusiastic about supporting Labour.

This suggests that any rise in government support could be decisive.

The prime minister’s ratings are poor, with 55% dissatisfied with his performance and only 26% satisfied, an Ipsos Mori poll found last week.

However, Starmer still has a net negative approval rating, with 37% satisfied and 40% dissatisfied.

Compass polls in December showed Labor’s lead was soft and built on shaky foundations.

63% of pollsters said Labour’s current poll lead was more about anti-government sentiment than enthusiastic support for the opposition – meanwhile, just 11% said Labour’s lead was based on support for the party itself.

Governments reclaim electoral grounds

We are currently in the mid-terms, and still probably at least a year away (maybe even two) from the next general election.

Things have been bad for the government for the last year or so – very bad – but there are signs in the polls that we’ve already passed the nadir of their unpopularity.

Invariably, governments regain ground as general elections approach, and if the Conservatives just focus on preventing things from getting worse, they may be able to successfully claim this as a capability against global factors.

According to some organisations, Reform UK is currently voting in double digits, but many of these voters are likely to switch to the Conservatives during the election campaign.

Remember – in June 2019 the Conservatives won 9% of the national vote in the European Parliament elections, but six months later they won a landslide in the general election.

The Conservative Party is a brutal election-winning machine and arguably the world’s most successful political party, so there is every reason to doubt they will do better in the general election than current polls suggest.