Why did the Conservatives win in 2015? And will how likely is it that they will win again in 2020?
Here are two detailed answers to that first question.
The first is this chart from Number Cruncher Politics.
As the graphic explains (and their post explaining goes into further detail) there was a serious gap between what polling predicted and the votes cast. In brief summation, the Conservative vote managed to hold up better than Labour’s and they were less affected by the turbulence caused by the increasing fragmentation of party politics.
The aspect of this the result that this one chart doesn’t – and couldn’t – capture is how the First Past the Post system distorts the national popularity of the parties into the actual composition of parliament. The excellent video below, produced by Arguing From Ignorance, addresses this shortcoming.
It explains, from about 6:00, how the Spoiler Effect in particular. Tellingly, size of the Conservatives’ current majority almost exactly correlates to the number of seats in which non-Tory votes was decisively split. The prediction that the video goes on to make is that the non-Tory, third party vote (UKIP, Green, Lib-Dem) will collapse back in to the main opposition party, i.e. to Labour, in the 2020 election.
Both the chart and the video look at different aspects of the same question, which is being posed in a particular way.Whilst undoubtedly illuminating in their analysis, each accounts for the Conservative victory by explaining how, in practical terms, they secured the required seats, rather than why they were able to.
People’s voting preferences are decided more, in the final analysis, by real-life events, ideas, opinions and policies, than by their appreciation of either the electoral system, or the different parties’ electoral strategy.
Which is a long-winded way of saying that the Tories could be defeated in 2020, though it won’t be achieved by understanding past results, rather through a determination to affect future ones.