Recent opinion polls have shown very comfortable Conservative leads over Labour. For example the latest YouGov poll has a 14 point lead – with the Conservatives on 42 per cent and Labour on 28 per cent. This might have been thought to make the prospect of an early General Election tempting for Conservatives. However our latest ConHome members survey shows overwhelming opposition to the idea. 75 per cent reject the idea. Only 20.5 per cent support it and 4.6 per cent are don’t knows.
The result is even more emphatic than a month ago. In our July survey 32 per cent said that “the next Prime Minister” should call an early election. 61.5 per cent did not believe that.
We don’t ask respondents for their reasons. However one consideration is likely to be that after the EU referendum result a period of calm would be in the national interest. This point would apply particularly strongly as the process of calling an early election is rather more problematic in view of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. It would require a two thirds majority of MPs to back an early election. Or there would need to be a vote of no confidence passed and then a delay of 14 days. The Government declaring no confidence in itself would not be likely to reassure the markets.
Partisan considerations could include the expectation that Labour will lose the next General Election regardless of when it is held between now and 2020. There would also be the wish for the election to be held under the new constituency boundaries – which would not be possible if the election took place now.
In any event the new Prime Minister will be pleased. She has made her opposition to calling an early election clear – despite suggestions that she should “seek her own mandate”. Our poll indicated that Party members are not in any mood to challenge her authority.