He needs the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party to lose just seven seats between them compared with the 2017 election
By John Rentoul
26 Nov. 2019
The gap between the Conservatives and Labour is closing. A Kantar poll was published today that showed the Tory lead falling from 18 points to 11, with Labour gaining 5 points since a week earlier.
An ICM poll yesterday put the Tory lead at just 7 points, the smallest from any pollster since the first week of November.
Overall, the shift has not been huge. The average Tory lead in polls taken over the past week has dropped from 14 points the previous week to 12. It seems likely that the manifesto launch on Thursday has boosted Labour, because in the four polls carried out wholly since then, the party has gained between zero and five points.
Labour supporters should also take heart from the artificial nature of some of the rise in Tory support earlier this month. After Nigel Farage announced on 11 November that the Brexit Party would be standing its candidates down in the seats won last time by the Tories, most of the pollsters changed their questions. Respondents were given the choice only of candidates actually standing in their constituency, meaning that in half the country Brexit Party supporters had to choose another party (or “don’t know”). That meant Tory support in the polls went up, but only in seats already held by the party, so the shift made no difference to the likely outcome.