Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

The last few hours of the General Election – Dr Victoria Honeyman comments on BBC Radio York and Leeds

08 June 2017 | Rebekah Bradley

The last few hours of the General Election – Dr Victoria Honeyman comments on BBC Radio York and Leeds

On the final day of General Election campaigning Dr Victoria Honeyman appeared on BBC Radio to discuss how the campaign has gone. On BBC Radio York she discussed how Labour have done considerably better than many people expected and all that talk has become uncomfortable for the Conservative Party, who called the snap election at a time when there was high confidence Theresa May would be dominant.

“The gap appears to have closed. Some polls say 1% and others say 12%, that could be anywhere from a hung parliament to a majority of 100 seats so actually there is an enormous variety in those polls.” Victoria heeded a warning about opinion polls "because you simply don’t know whether the assumptions they make are correct, whether if someone says they are going to vote a certain way they actually will".

Asked ‘why do you think Labour have done better?’ Victoria believes it is down to Jeremy Corbyn engaging very well with the public, "people who see him seem to like him and he’s done well at the leader debates". On the other hand she suggested Theresa May has not done as well in those things. Victoria went on to highlight how Labour’s manifesto is quite similar to that of Ed Milliband’s in 2015 so not as left wing as people assumed, which has all contributed to him gaining traction where many perhaps thought the Conservatives would.

When turning up to the polling station people will vote with different things in mind, “some with Brexit as their focus, for others it will be a variety of issues, education, security, NHS so I don’t think there is one unifying issue.”

On BBC Radio Leeds at lunchtime, Victoria then chatted about people’s voting habits and how they have changed over the years, away from two party politics.

“You still get tribal voters who vote for the same party come what may, but what we see in the polls in the 1940s-1960s we had a two party system with the vast majority of people around 90 percent voting for either Labour or the Conservative Party. Now we have an awful lot more information and more parties so people don’t habitually vote for the same party as much as they did. The first past the post system however still means either Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn will be prime minister on Friday.”   

What is slightly different is that usually politicians tend to focus their attention on those more likely to vote which has traditionally been older voters. The Conservatives has continued to focus on older voters, whereas Jeremy Corbyn has focused on younger people and a push to get them out to vote, but the problem is these are the group that don’t always vote.

For Victoria, key issues this general election have been for the Conservatives and the ‘dementia tax’; for Labour the appearances of Jeremy Corbyn where he has come across more human than expected; for Tim Farron trouble around his views on Christianity and his views on homosexuality, so there have been a number of oddities throughout the campaign.

“I don’t think anyone has had a great campaign but Jeremy Corbyn has been much better by a considerable way.”

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