Published On: Thu, Jul 4th, 2024
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Tories claim ‘something happened today’ that has given them a glimmer of hope | Politics | News

Ding! At 16:31 Tory activists’ inboxes were hit by a mail-out from the CCHQ Data Team reporting hopeful news from the ground war.

They claimed they were receiving reports from their teams that “turnout is higher than expected”.

The email continued: “That means we could have a MUCH better chance than polls have suggested”.

This could just be a final get-out-the-vote tactic, but some candidates and activists on the ground do indeed tell me their hopes have been marginally raised today.

Both by turnout, and by an apparent softness in the wavering Reform UK vote, some of whom are now returning to the Tory fold at the last minute.

Speaking to a swathe of Tory figures still out knocking on doors with just two hours to go before the election raps up, here is the word I’m picking up from different sorts of battlegrounds.

Activists in Tory-Labour marginals seem to be pleased with how they’re managing to squeeze wavering Reform defectors.

One reports that having knocked on doors and telephone canvassed for the whole day, Reform voters are coming back with up to one in three saying they ended up plumping for the Tories.

One voter said: “I was planning on voting Reform but just couldn’t do it,” another: “I was planning on voting Reform but I know they can’t win so decided to try and keep Labour out”.

There’s also one case where a Tory voter only changed their mind away from Nigel Farage’s party in the split second their hand was hovering over the ballot paper.

One prospective candidate in a top marginal said that while it’s hard to tell which way the wind is blowing, some polling stations across their patch are “pretty busy”.

One Reform candidate in a key target seat said every polling station in the constituency has told them that turnout is up.

There was also some surprising feedback from Red Wall seats, that if the polls are right Labour should be carving through like a hot knife through butter.

A north east Tory candidate said it seems “relatively good on the doorstep”, and it feels “50/50” at the moment, which would be a surprisingly good performance for the Tories even if Labour narrowly squeaks it.

Another top Tory in a Labour target seat said it’s still “definitely competitive”, while there are reports that candidates in other red wall seats have started to believe they can hold on.

Whether they’re deluded or not, we don’t have long to wait. However a phenomenon called candidates syndrome would usually have set in by this time in which all candidates, regardless of how nailed on their impending victory is, they begin to believe they will lose.

While this feedback may be Tories willing a result better than expected into existence, one MP in a key Reform-Tory marginal was more contrite… “I think for me it’s very bad”.

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