JACK DOYLE analyses the lie of the land as the election looms

If Tory voters stay at home, Jeremy Corbyn could snatch victory: JACK DOYLE analyses the lie of the land as the election looms

The mood in Tory high command is generally positive, but there’s a nightmare scenario that keeps Boris Johnson’s senior strategists awake at night.

A series of factors could conspire to deny Mr Johnson a majority and result in Jeremy Corbyn walking into No10 on Friday.

First there is complacency. The polls vary considerably depending on the pollster – from comfortable Tory leads of more than ten points, which would likely produce a solid majority, to several showing a far less comfortable margin of around six points – deep into hung parliament terrority.

The plain fact is that Mr Johnson HAS to get a majority. Without one, he is poleaxed – the DUP’s opposition to his Brexit deal means he hasn’t got anyone to form a coalition with. The PM is pictured visiting Grimsby Fish Market and holding a cod

If the polls in the coming days – in particular tonight’s latest YouGov survey, which correctly predicted the outcome in 2017 – suggest Mr Johnson will win a majority, Tory voters could assume the result is in the bag.

Would they then relax and not bother to turn out? And what about undecided voters, might they take heed of hardline Remainers’ warnings about the dangers of a ‘Brexit landslide’ and act accordingly? 

Next there is the weather. Rain’s predicted for Thursday, and there’s the chance of snow in Scotland. This could mean older, less mobile, Tory voters stay at home. Especially if they see polls pointing to a majority for Boris Johnson.

So either the Tories win a majority or it will be Mr Corbyn in No 10. A leaked Tory memo even suggests that the Labour leader could become prime minister without gaining a single seat. He is pictured outside Wolverhampton’s Molineux stadium last night with Labour candidate Eleanor Smith

If these two factors combine on any scale, Tory turnout could be significantly suppressed.

On top of this is another great unknown: the influence of tactical voting by Remainers determined to block Brexit. 

Yesterday the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain released detailed seat-by-seat polling which reveals just how tight the margins in this election are.

The results show that as few as 40,000 votes concentrated in 36 marginals will make the difference between success and oblivion for Mr Johnson. 

Best for Britain has placed numbers on a tactical-voting website to help Remain-supporting voters in knife-edge seats pick the party most likely to stop the Tories.

Their aim is a hung parliament with a Labour government propped up by a series of smaller parties, including the Lib Dems and the SNP, which back a second Brexit referendum.

The worry for the Tories is that there are more marginals compared to previous elections – and some are extremely marginal. Best for Britain predicts that just 2,500 tactical votes in each would be enough to stop the Tories winning them.

Finally, there is the Brexit Party. Under pressure from his own supporters and donors, early in the campaign Nigel Farage withdrew all his candidates in Tory-held seats.

By doing so, he acknowledged that support for the Brexit Party will split the Leave vote and could let in Labour. But the Brexit Party still has more than 250 candidates standing.

The results show that as few as 40,000 votes concentrated in 36 marginals will make the difference between success and oblivion for Mr Johnson. The PM is pictured aboard his campaign plane travelling to Birmingham

It’s for all these reasons that Mr Johnson keeps urging his supporters to get out and vote on Thursday. And there is one other reason.

The plain fact is that Mr Johnson HAS to get a majority. Without one, he is poleaxed – the DUP’s opposition to his Brexit deal means he hasn’t got anyone to form a coalition with. So either the Tories win a majority or it will be Mr Corbyn in No 10.

A leaked Tory memo even suggests that the Labour leader could become prime minister without gaining a single seat. Dated December 7 and seen by the Daily Telegraph, it says the chances of a Labour-led coalition have been ‘seriously underestimated’.

This is because the SNP, Liberal Democrats and other minor parties would need to gain only 12 seats to kick Mr Johnson out of Downing Street.

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