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When Will The Election Be? Four Scenarios

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The right to choose the General Election date is one of the few residual advantages that Rishi Sunak enjoys as we approach the coming campaign. Over the course of this week, we will lay out the various scenarios available to Sunak and his team, and some of the metrics they are considering.

The right to choose the General Election date is one of the few residual advantages that Rishi Sunak enjoys as we approach the coming campaign.

It has now been over two years since his Party led in the polls; a large majority of the public believes the country is going in the wrong direction and some members of his party are in open revolt about the government’s record.

To pull off a ‘Rishi Revival’, Sunak will need to run the type of campaign rarely, if ever, seen before in the UK.

Right now, the Downing Street team are weighing up a choice of four options for the election campaign in the hope, but not expectation, that they can create a pathway to victory on any of these potential dates. This note examines these timings and considers many of the factors that Sunak will be weighing up when he is choosing when to launch the campaign.

Chiefly, Sunak will want to choose a date that best supports his core message that while times have been tough, things are starting to turn a corner, and that changing to a Labour government would present a risk to progress.

With polls overwhelmingly placing the cost of living and the economy as the most important factors to voters, metrics like GDP growth, the rate of inflation and mortgage rates will be front of mind for Conservative campaign strategists.

Likewise, the relative state of NHS waiting lists and whether the Government has been able to make progress on Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats” are also important factors.

On top of this, Conservative strategists will be checking the calendar for other major events this year that could detract from their message.

Traditionally, governments who are behind in the polls tend to prefer longer election campaigns – giving them more time to put the Opposition under the pressure of the spotlight of the campaign’s multiple big moments. The last time a government was as far behind as this – 1997 – the election campaign was six weeks. Legally, polling day takes place twenty-five working days after the dissolution of Parliament.

Over the course of this week, we will lay out the various scenarios available to Sunak and his team, and some of the metrics they are considering.

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