99 Days To Go: The Most Unpredictable Election Yet!

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Who will win the 2015 General Election? The answer is probably no-one. Well at least no-one will get an outright majority. The surge in support for minor parties, plus the ‘diabolical’ electoral performance of the Lib Dems since the Coalition was formed back in 2010, means that the outcome of this year’s election is far from certain.

To a large extent, the real question of the election is not about whether Ed Miliband or David Cameron will have the keys to No. 10 after May 7th, but rather what kind of government they will lead. A hung parliament could lead to days of haggling between party leaders and senior political figures. Indeed; with the political landscape looking so uncertain, perhaps we cannot dismiss the possibility of seeing two general elections in the same year, something that has not happened in the UK since 1974.

In order to obtain an overall majority, the largest party must win at least 326 out the 650 seats. The Conservatives failed to do so in 2010, meaning that they had to negotiate a coalition agreement with the Liberal Democrats. Despite losing seats in the election, the Lib Dems moved out of opposition, jumping into bed with David Cameron and the Conservatives.

Whereas in 1978, combined support for the two main political parties was at 91%; data from last year suggests that now only two-thirds of voters support either of the two main parties, suggesting that traditional British politics is crumbling apart.

According to a recent YouGov poll, immigration, the economy and health were ranked as being the three most important issues facing the country. UKIP has definitely helped to place the first of these on the national agenda. Their success in the European elections last May shows they are addressing an issue about which the British people feel strongly. With 2 MPs already in the House of Commons, Farage and his colleagues will want to raise this figure so as to hold the balance of power, in order to bring a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU ever closer.

Unsurprisingly, the state of the economy remains a major area of dispute between Labour and the Conservatives, with last week’s clash between Ed Miliband and David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions being dominated by the ‘cost of living crisis’, something which Ed Miliband has described as a sign of “five years of failure”. One Conservative MP has accused Labour of “economic illiteracy”.

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The latest YouGov/The Sun opinion poll gives the Conservatives a narrow lead of 34%, just one percentage point ahead of Labour. UKIP are in third on 15%, with the Greens fourth on 7% and the Liberal Democrats fifth with a pathetic 6%. In Scotland, recent polling reveals that the SNP have a twenty-eight point lead over Labour, with figures suggesting 52% to the SNP compared with 24% to Labour.

Whatever one’s political stance, it is hard to deny that the next 100 days are set to be a political roller coaster. This is set to be an exciting and highly unpredictable few months!

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