Could the polls understate impact of tactical voting in this election?

PUBLISHED: 15:50 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:50 22 November 2019

A man holds a 'Stop Brexit' sign aboard a campaign bus travelling down Whitehall. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

A man holds a 'Stop Brexit' sign aboard a campaign bus travelling down Whitehall. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

The polls are currently favouring Boris Johnson - but is it currently ignoring the impact of tactical voting?

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When the Remain vs Leave question is now asked in polls - either directly or in the form of "was Britain right or wrong to vote for Brexit?" - there is a clear majority of 6-10% in favour of Remain. But in opinion polls for this general election, the pro-Brexit Tories are well ahead of 'Remainish' Labour and the Brexit Alliance is level with, or out-polling, the non-coalition of Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens and the independents.

What do TNE readers think explains this? Just public antipathy towards Jeremy Corbyn, or a very British belief in fair play - that at heart we know that leaving is wrong but we are going to vote to get it done in order to respect the referendum result?

Or could it be (fingers crossed) that as last time, the polls are underestimating the amount of tactical voting which will happen and 'shy Remainers' will deny the Tories another majority?

Charles Eadie

The election is intended as a useful distraction. If both public and protagonists become obsessed with two parallel fights - Leave vs Remain and Tories vs Labour vs Lib Dems - this will obscure what really matters: All the positives of the European Union which, since the 2016 referendum campaign, have remained unsaid and forgotten.

Just take the European Court of Justice, which Leavers and the Tories have been successfully demonising for almost four years. If voters were told about ECJ rulings, based on EU law, in defence of workers, women, minorities and the vulnerable, the Brexiters' edifice of lies would crumble and collapse.

But this is not being done. It is not even being attempted. This is where the solution lies, but instead the Lib Dems are so busy fighting Johnson and Corbyn that they cannot even see the light, even though it's shining right in their faces.

Paul Smith, Coltishall

Jeremy Richardson ("Don't just blame the Brits for the Brexit mess", TNE #169) suggests "Brussels" should take a share of the responsibility for Brexit.

No form of government is perfect, and despite the claims of some Brexiters, most Remainers would not give the EU more than Jeremy Corbyn's seven out of 10 score. However, they would probably say the same (or worse) of Westminster or English local government.

The question is not whether any of them is perfect, but how we can improve them in a reasonable timescale. The EU has reformed, but very slowly: Whether Westminster ever will is a moot question.

On the real issues, Richardson is curiously vague. The House of Commons library estimates that since the Maastricht Treaty, the EU has passed more than 5,000 laws and regulations. Of these, the UK government has voted against fewer than 80, including some which might have been popular with UK voters. I regularly ask Brexiters which laws and regulations they disapprove of. I never get an answer.

It may be political reality, but it is perverse to claim that we want to take control back from a body which does things which we mostly approve of, in order to give more control to a body we clearly distrust, and which sometimes actively tries to obstruct them.

Stephen McNair

- Send your letters for publication to letters@theneweuropean.co.uk and read more by buying Thursday's newspaper each week.

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