UK Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson and Labour head Jeremy Corbyn face off today in a head-to-head televised debate.
The event comes on the back of polling that shows the Conservatives holding a healthy 15-point lead over Labour and enjoying its highest level of support in two years. Still, polling has been misleading in the past, and Johnson’s Conservatives will likely need a majority on its own—requiring 28 additional seats—to pass his Brexit deal, so the stakes are high for both leaders.
Brexit is likely to be the major issue debated today. Both parties share a similar election strategy of targeting seats by how they voted in the 2016 Brexit referendum. The Conservatives are targeting Labour seats that voted Leave, while Labour are targeting Conservative seats that voted Remain.
According to polling, some 43% of voters see the leaders’ debate performance as a critical factor in determining which way they will vote on December 12. As such, if Corbyn can corner Johnson on Brexit today, likely either through his dealings with the Brexit Party or intentions for the National Health Service, the Labour leader may claw back some of the polling deficit.
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Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.