General Election 2019: Who is likely to win snap December poll?

Despite much rancour and haggling, and still some confusion over the exact date, the UK is set to head to the polls for the third general election in just four-and-a-half years.

The Government's preferred date of December 12 still remains the most-likely date, after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced that he was satisfied that Labour's conditions (for a no-deal Brexit to be taken off the table) had been met and that he would back an election.

A motion in parliament, such as the unsuccessful one last night, requires a two-thirds majority to lead to a general election under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliament Act.

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Boris Johnson remains the odds-on favourite to triumph in the upcoming election, despite criticism for his abandonment of his 'do or die' promise that the UK would leave the European Union by October 31.

Boris Johnson. Picture: PA
Boris Johnson. Picture: PA
Boris Johnson. Picture: PA
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General Election 2019: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn backs early election

Tories strong favourites

Bookmakers rate the Conservatives as around a 1/8 shot to become the largest party.

Top pollster Sir John Curtice has said that the Labour decision to back an early general election could yet be a mistake, with the party currently on course for a significant defeat according to recent data.

Prof Curtice told the BBC last week:

"The truth is the Labour Party is at 25 per cent in the polls. It's been at 25 per cent in the polls ever since the spring, it's showed no signs of recovery.

"And just to remind you as to how bad that is, that is even less than Michael Foot got in 1983 which is the worst modern result for the Labour Party."

"So for the Labour Party, it is not obvious that it should be wanting to have an early election."

Labour strategy

The psephologist said that the strategy of Jeremy Corbyn's party will be to attempt to move the focus of the campaign away from Brexit.

He added: "That's certainly the Labour Party's hope because given that one of the consequences of last night vote the Conservatives are united on Brexit and the Labour Party is divided.

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"The Labour Party certainly doesn't want this election to simply focus on the issue of Brexit."

There remain, however, a number of variables that make this election significantly different from the snap poll of 2017, when Theresa May led the Conservatives to the most seats, but was unable to form a majority Tory Government.

Lib Dem resurgence and SNP revival?

The Liberal Democrats have seen a resurgence under Jo Swinson, with their unapologetically pro-Remain stance winning back some of the support they lost as a result of the coalition with the Tories.

Ms Swinson's party won 7.6 per cent of the vote at the 2017 election, with their polling in the lead-up to the vote rarely going above single figures.

This year, polling shows the party on more than double their 2017 share, with some surveys showing them as high as 26 per cent.

Also significant, and a potential barrier to a majority for Boris Johnson's party, is the SNP posting a much better showing that they managed in 2017.

Nicola Sturgeon's party lost 21 MPs in that poll, with the Scottish Tory numbers boosted by an anti-independence message.

The law of diminishing returns suggests that strategy may not be as effective this time round, especially as the party no longer has Ruth Davidson as leader, and with all of their MPs in Scotland backing Boris Johnson's Brexit plans.

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However, while their current polling lead suggest the Conservatives will remain the largest party, much can change in an election campaign - and if we have been taught anything in the last few years of British politics - it is to expect the unexpected.