It’s happening. Again.
For the third time in as many years, the British public have been asked to go to their polling station, take part in a bit of democracy, and then be confused and bewildered by the fall out.
There’s going to be a lot of information to process in the next 35 hours or so. Here’s a crash course on what to look out for.
First things first…. Take the polls with a pinch of salt
If the 2015 General Election and the debacle that was the 2016 Presidential Race showed us anything, it’s that apart from everyone being “sick of experts”, it’s really hard to get political polling down.
Depending on what poll you look at, the Conservative party has a lead of anything between one and 14 points on the morning of 8 June. Shy voters, undecided voters, and all sorts of ~technical~ stuff makes it harder and harder to accurately predict where people will vote in the age of dank internet memes. So stay woke.
It all kicks off properly at 10pm tonight with the exit poll
To slightly contradict what we’ve just said, the 10pm exit polls *should* offer us a decent look at what the next British government will look like.
An exit poll is different as it asks people who they voted for after they’ve exited polling stations, creating data based on results, rather than voter intention. Some 20,000 people are asked from across 100 seats, making the exit poll the most accurate thing we can work off until about 7am Friday 9th when all the dust has settled.
The exit poll findings will be revealed on BBC and Sky News at 10pm.
What we can expect from the exit polls
As the clever folk at BuzzFeed News have explained, there are four different scenarios that can come out of this election, all with varying degrees of likelihood.
- The Conservative Party wins with a majority of 50 plus seats.
Remember folks, the reason we’re having a snap election this year is because Theresa May is trying to secure a larger majority for the Conservative Party, and secure a better argument for negotiating Brexit. So, the first scenario BuzzFeed outlines is where this all happens. This is the most likely scenario, just about. Tories win by a lot and Corbyn will probably face another leadership challenge.
- The Conservative Party wins with a majority of 30 plus seats.
As BuzzFeed outlines, this is the second likely scenario, and life will pretty much continue. Theresa May gets *some* egg on her face mind.
- No political party holds a majority
Remember how Theresa May warned against all Tory opponents banding together and forming a “Coalition of Chaos”, making it seem like one of the coolest WWE tag teams ever? That’s this scenario.
Officially it takes 326 seats for an overall majority in the House of Commons, but if that doesn’t happen we end up here. It’s possible, but not probable. But if it does, some political parties will have to buddy up Megazord style… or we could have another election.
- The Labour Party wins
*Sounds like a Valley Girl adding an inflection on the end of this sentence* This might happen? Even the polls most favourable to Labour have the Tories still winning by a point, so it’d take a dramatic turn of events for Corbyn to end up in Number 10. But then you never know.
Here’s a quick run down of the seats to pay attention to
Houghton & Sunderland South
Normally the first seat to declare, tending to emerge just before 11pm. Normally a Labour stronghold, but you never know.
Chester folk have flip-flopped between Labour and Conservative throughout the years, with Labour taking it in 2015. With only a 93-vote lead. It’ll be interesting to see where they land at 2.30am.
The Welsh seat is the most hotly contested in the UK, with the Conservatives pinching it by 27 votes from Labour in 2015. Expect them to declare at around 3am.
Holding the smallest Conservative majority in London, this seat could fall to the “Coalition of Chaos” come 3am.
Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East
A former Labour safe seat the Conservatives and UKIP have been giving the eyes to. 3am declaration.
The Conservative Party have a majority of 41 seats here. A double decker bus holds about 60. Anyone’s game here. 3am declaration.
The Lib Dems and Tories have been squabbling over this seat for years, with Vince Cable suffering a damning defeat in the 2015 election. The Lib Dems want it back, so this will be an interesting look at the future of their party. Expect a 4am declaration
Dartford is always an interesting constituency – what them clever folks term a bellwether seat. Whichever party the Kent seat goes for will probably “win” the election, so if you fancy it, check them out at 4am for their declaration.
Another Welsh seat that the Conservative Party will be looking to make gains in. Only 1,000 votes could decide this one. They’ll declare at 4am.
Labour won this seat by 427 votes in 2015, and the Tories have been giving eyeball emojis to the Northern constituency ever since. They’ll declare at around 5am.
Labour’s lead in this former safe seat has been slowly fading through the years, with the constituency’s decision to vote Leave in the EU referendum confusing things further. Another 5am declaration.
Keep all of these in mind, and you should be able to get a pretty clear picture of how the country’s going to look for the next five years. Or, you know, you could just go to bed. Your call!