Polls better be right in May day for Brexit II

Editorial | 20 Apr 2017

Early poll findings show British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party would win a total of 382 seats to give her a stunning majority in parliament, and a major boost for her Brexit plan.

This is the best-case scenario the new "Iron Lady" could hope for.

But the question is: will this scenario be too perfect to be realistic, although it should be mathematically a safe bet for May, since all polls before and after the election statement showed the Conservatives had been leading the Labour Party - the Tories' main competitor - by single to double-digit margins.

However, as we've all learned the hard way, opinion polls can often be wrong.

Prior to Britain's 2015 general election, pollsters predicted no party would win a parliamentary majority. But the Conservatives pulled it off.

Then, ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum, May's predecessor, David Cameron, was optimistic that common sense would prevail and that the British would vote to remain in the European Union.

The optimism was based on polls. Instead, the referendum result stunned everybody in the "Remain" camp - ringing down the curtain on Cameron's political career.

Lastly, during the US presidential election, most polls had hailed Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton as the obvious voters' choice. Quite to the contrary, her Republican Party opponent Donald Trump's victory left many people in shock.

So will pollsters be wrong again with their prediction of a landslide win for May? It's difficult to tell nowadays until votes are cast on June 8, the date she picked for the snap election.

Politically speaking, the Labour Party is too weak to stage a serious challenge, as Jeremy Corbyn's left-wing leadership has caused deep cracks in the main opposition. Therefore, May is safe, so it's argued.

But like erratic opinion polls, will political common sense prevail to maintain the status quo?

May had better keep her fingers crossed, since the snap election won't be an ordinary exercise. Since her announcement, the vote has been branded as the second Brexit referendum, in fact tagged with the "Brexit II" nickname on social media.

If it's regarded as "Brexit II," May's future could be precarious, since a large number of Brits remain opposed to leaving the EU a year on.

An estimated 43 percent of Britons are still opposed, compared to 44 percent who support dissolving the union. What's the pollsters' margin of error, you might well ask?

The prime minister may have foreseen this, and thus selected a date that falls right in the middle of the school examination period.

It's a Thursday, and most young people aged 18 to their early 20s - the age group most opposed to the Brexit idea - will be busy dealing with their A-Level and university exams when the votes are cast.

This may be ironic but is born out of political necessity.

While the Conservatives required a large turnout of young folks to vote for "Remain" in 2016, it would be in the Tories' interest to keep them away from the polling stations this time.

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