Turnout and Tactical Voting Could Cost Brexit

YouGov’s MRP poll that polled that the Tories should expect to win their largest majority since 1987, and yet, this election race is anything but over. In the Brexit election, two major issues may, however, trip up Boris Johnson and kill off Brexit altogether.

Since that poll, there have been some crucial changes in voting intention. Between the Brexit Party’s Hartlepool announcement that they would not stand candidates in all seats and Labour’s Birmingham manifesto launch, the Tory lead was, on average, of 13%. But between Labour’s launch and now this has fallen to 9%. Pollsters predict that a lead reduced to around half-a-dozen will create a further hung parliament in Westminster. This will create chaos and ensure more dither and delay. A hung parliament will make Corbyn Prime Minister, propped up by the SNP and therefore threaten Brexit, the Union, our security and our economy.

One issue, often ignored by pollsters, is the importance of tactical voting. Remain, campaigners, including Gina Miller, have worked tirelessly to prevent Brexit and are continuing to do so in this election. They have concluded that no Remain party can win an outright majority, and they are therefore hoping that a hung parliament can halt Brexit.

Several different websites advise Remain-leaning voters on how to vote in December. They include: Remain United, tactical.vote, tacticalvote.co.uk, tactical-vote.co.uk, and getvoting.org. Gina Miller’s website, Remain United, projects that the Tories majority that YouGov possibly forecasts could reduce to 318, a net gain of one seat over what Theresa May won in 2017.

While the Conservatives will again fail to win a majority, Labour will have net losses of 20, leaving them on 242. Jo Swinson’s, Liberal Democrats will gain six, on 18. But the real winners would be the Scottish National Party who would mirror 2015 by sweeping 50 of the 59 Scottish seats.

However, tactical voting websites often confuse the electorate as much as they could support them. Take Mike Freer who will seek re-election in Finchley and Golders Green. Margaret Thatcher’s former seat is expected to be a three-way race on December 12th. But Remainer tactical voting pagers are not united in which party have the best prospect of removing the Tories. Remain United projected that Labour is currently in second place, but getvoting.org deem the Liberal Democrats, championed by Luciana Berger, as the suitable option for Remainers to coalesce behind. As The Guardian reported just yesterday, this often causes more ‘confusion and animosity’ than anything else.

On the other hand, Brexiteers do not have as many options and its most significant, Leave.EU is advocating for all Brexiteers to back Boris. With the hindsight of 2016, it is odd that Arron Banks and Dominic Cummings are in such agreement. Nonetheless, it is thanks to Nigel Farage’s decision to pull candidates in the 317-seats that the Tories won in 2017, that is hung parliament is not inevitable.

That said, as I have argued for BrexitCentral, the Brexit Party needed to stand down more candidates. If they had decided to remove candidates in the 63-seats that the Tories must gain to command a majority, then there would not be so many seats that Labour will sneak because of a Leave-split, in the former Labour heartlands. If Britons fail to unite, to counter the tactical voting of Remainers, then the United Kingdom is at risk of destroying its only chance left of leaving the EU.

However, turnout may impact the election come on December 12th. With this, I am not talking about the myth of the so-called ‘Youthquake’ but instead how Brexit-fatigue may influence who governs Britain.

That said, over three-million additional voters have been added to the register. A majority of whom are younger, left-leaning, pro-Remain students. However, The Sun has reported upon the possible criminality in some of these applications. The Sun found that in Plymouth alone, 850 applications were carried out by students who had not completed the form themselves. As much as there is a possibility that these votes may influence the election, they are likely to be confined to university towns and cities, which are not typically apart of the 120-seats that are up for grabs this election.

Two-thirds of the seats up for grabs are Brexit-backing constituencies, and that is why Brexit fatigue may decide this election. Many regard the high turnout in 2016, as what swayed the referendum in favour of Leave. Take Hartlepool, now a Tory target, where 66% of people voted in 2016, this was up from around 1/2 of the town voting in elections between 2001 and 2015. However, since the referendum, Leavers are frustrated with being ignored. In the EU Elections of May, the overall turnout barely moved, but among Remainers, it grew by 11.1%, but among Brexiteers, it fell by 6.3%. The top three seats for the highest turnouts were all in Remain-backing seats, where over 50% of voters went to the polls. The three-lowest voting seats were all pro-Brexit, and they saw just 25% turnout. If Leavers continue with this complacency, then they may cost themselves the election, and as a result, Brexiteers must convince each other to go to the polls.

Overall, Brexiteers need to be cautious of the polls, which are gradually showing the Tories lead is diminishing. Therefore, they must actively work to counter tactical voting and a resurgent Remainer vote. The only way to do this is by backing Boris and making sure they head to the polls on December 12th.

By J Walters


  1. This made me think – I hadn’t considered small ‘c’ conservatives of doing much tactical voting, it’s more of a stop-Tory quest. But don’t you think it’s interesting that Boris has pillaged so much of the Brexit Party’s vote despite Farage being so strongly against the sort of agreement Boris is working on?

    It’s fairly close ties to the EU; Farage and co. say it’s not Brexit at all. Something about Boris’ language and personality really attracts them back to the Tory party. And on tactical voting – many are switching back to the Tories to prevent a Corbyn 2nd referendum.

    I’ve written on the impact of events and trends on the next 9 days until polling day, here if you’re interested (https://cbrief.home.blog/2019/12/02/who-will-govern-after-december-12th/).


    • Well, 3/4 of no dealers back Boris according to YouGov, and if you reel off those, previously closely aligned to Farage, who back the revised WAB it means the endorsement for Boris grows. Also, Farage has supported it by standing down 317-candidates and said assurances have prompted him to. I think that this is it, the last chance to deliver Brexit. Therefore, people accept the imperfect, but ‘tolerable’ deal. On another note, if you ever wish to contribute to this blog page then please do get in touch! Thanks, Jack.


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