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Could this election see the rise of the independents?

Thomas Messenger

MHP Account Director Thomas Messenger looks at how high-profile independent candidates could get on at this election.

The big day is finally here and, much like in 2017, the polls are suggesting anything from a sizeable Conservative majority to a hung Parliament. So far, so clear then.

An interesting dynamic in this campaign which we haven’t really seen before is the anticipation of and stock placed in the YouGov MRP constituency by constituency projections. This method of projecting results can provide a more accurate picture than the national polls, and gives local campaigners and candidates something concrete to cling on to in the absence of genuine constituency polling.

Due to their success in accurately projecting the 2017 election result, the YouGov MRP has somewhat dominated this election cycle.

While these projections are certainly fascinating, and the most recent update will have caused some tremors in CCHQ, the one thing they cannot accurately take account of are local-level issues. And this campaign, more than most, is dominated by local factors.

Take the high number of former MPs, many of whom are incumbents, re-standing as Independents. The most high profile of which are David Gauke and Dominic Grieve, both of whom have at least a fighting chance of holding on to their seat tonight. The YouGov MRP, as effective as it is, produces constituency projections based on national voting intentions and demographic data – therefore it is somewhat impossible to predict the impact that such candidates will have on the race.

Moreover, it’s important to remember that voters won’t just be casting a vote for a national party. While many voters I have spoken to personally have a huge issue with the national positions and leadership of the two main parties, many are promising to hold their noses and endorse their local candidate. It is telling how many leaflets in this election contain no mention of party leaders… apart from, of course, the party leaders being used by the other side as a campaigning tactic.

What this means is that, just like in 2015 and in 2017, we were suitably floored the exit poll results, something very similar could happen tonight – but could the really interesting results come through the night as 2019 sees the rise of the Independents?