Shadow ministers cautioned that the leading position of the Labour Party in the polls might still crumble.

Chief strategist utilizes examples from around the globe to caution against complacency, stressing that “polls do not foresee the future”.

The Labour party’s chief campaign strategist, Morgan McSweeney, has informed shadow ministers that the party’s lead in the polls could crumble in the weeks leading up to the general election. He urged them not to be complacent in the upcoming election year.

McSweeney recently delivered a presentation to the shadow cabinet, showcasing what occurred prior to eight different elections worldwide. In each instance, the frontrunner lost after their poll lead disappeared close to the vote.

The Guardian has obtained a copy of the presentation, which aimed to instill discipline as the party enters the election year with a significant 18-point lead in the polls. Labour leader Keir Starmer will reiterate this message in a speech on Thursday, outlining Labour’s plans for the final months leading up to the general election, possibly scheduled for May.

In his presentation, McSweeney cautioned, “Polls do not predict the future; nobody has voted in the general election; change won’t happen unless people vote for it.”

According to an attendee, the Labour campaign chief compared focusing on polls to driving while constantly looking in the rear-view mirror. Another participant stated, “It demonstrated what complacency looked like in other countries: a Labour defeat.”

McSweeney’s message aims to maintain party unity behind the strategy he has outlined together with party leader Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves.

The plan involves demonstrating the party’s credibility to voters by refusing to make election promises unless they are fully funded, while also ruling out major changes to income or wealth taxes. The support for this strategy will likely be tested in the coming weeks as shadow ministers vie to have their plans included in the party’s election manifesto, scheduled for completion by the end of this month.

Some senior figures within the party believe that given the party’s strong lead heading into 2024, Starmer should make more daring policy choices. McSweeney’s presentation in part serves to counter this argument.

During the presentation, one of Starmer’s closest advisers, McSweeney, showcased what occurred before various elections worldwide, such as the 2019 Australian election, the 2017 Norwegian election, and the 2017 UK election.

In each case, a party entered the election with a significant poll lead, only for it to diminish in the final stages of the campaign.

In Australia, Labor maintained a poll lead for over two years and had a seven-point lead at the start of the election year. However, the lead collapsed just prior to the election, resulting in an unexpected victory for the governing Liberal-National coalition. An internal party review later claimed that Labor lost because it promised radical change, allowing the coalition to argue that voting for the opposition party would be a risk.

In Norway, the opposition Labour party held a lead of approximately 20 points two years ahead of the general election but ended up losing after stating that it would increase taxes if it won, aiming to improve the country’s finances. The party’s support dropped by about 5 points during the campaign, which centered around discussions of its tax pledge.

In the UK in 2017, Theresa May experienced a similarly commanding poll lead that dissipated after promising to overhaul the country’s social care system, a move opponents claimed would force some individuals to liquidate all their assets to pay for their own care.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *