Opinion polls tighten ahead of general election in UK

World Today

The general election in the U.K. will go ahead as planned on Thursday. When Prime Minister Theresa May called the election, opinion polls suggested she might win in a landslide.

During the campaign, those polls have narrowed and there is a possibility that no party will win a majority.

CGTN’s John Metherell reports.

When Theresa May called her surprise snap general election, it was, she said, all about Brexit. That was before the latest deadly terrorist attack. With security now a central focus of the campaign, May’s past record is under scrutiny.

On Monday, there were calls for her to resign. Critics point out that while she served as Home Secretary for six years, the number of police officers in England and Wales fell by almost 20,000.

When she called the election, May was 25 points ahead in the opinion polls. She said giving her an increased parliamentary majority would strengthen Britain’s Brexit negotiating position. So on the road she went with her Brexit message:

“I choose to believe in Britain and that our best days lie ahead. And I do so because I’m confident that we have the vision and the plan to use this moment to build a better Britain,” she said.

For May, it appeared to be an electoral “walk in the park” and pollsters anticipated a landslide. The party of the left-leaning Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn was in disarray. May, by contrast, her party’s big selling point. Her message of ‘strong and stable government’ repeated mantra-like at every stop on the campaign trail.

Then something happened. European Union leaders in Brussels, bemused at a general election called on the eve of critical talks, said the outcome would have no bearing on Brexit negotiations. Relations ahead of the talks deteriorated badly.

“Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials,” May declared.

Threats, suggested May, deliberately timed to affect the outcome of the election. Worse, Jeremy Corbyn was proving an effective campaigner, the veteran Labour politician’s self-deprecating style winning over voters. One of Britain’s leading polling companies said the difference now lies within the margin of error.

“So it could get very messy and at a time when Theresa May and everyone else feels that we need a strong position if we’re going to negotiate with Europe. Things could get very difficult very quickly,” Joe Twyman of YouGov Polling said.

So, from dreaming of a parliamentary majority in three figures at the outset of the campaign, she’s now fighting for every vote.