In many ways the 2019 General Election resembles its predecessor two years ago. The shape of the campaigns has been remarkably similar in pace and substance, especially from the Labour side, with its emphasis on public spending, a cult of Corbyn, and an avoidance of mainstream media. What remains unclear, however, is the extent to which Labour will be able to close the gap on the Conservatives in the second half of the campaign, something which they did to stunning effect in 2017.
This time round it is the same sort of seats that are in play. The Vale of Clwyd, Gower and Cardiff North all switched last time and are reputed to potentially switch again. Once more there is talk of the Conservatives winning through in Newport West, Bridgend, Wrexham and Clwyd South.
Yet also once more the Welsh Political Barometer polls have started the election campaign showing a tsunami of blue across eastern Wales, with each further poll setting the tidal impact assessment a little lower. Nevertheless, the tide does seem to be heading in one direction.
Back in 2017 the Conservatives added thousands of votes to their tallies in most of their Welsh target seats. Their problem was that Labour added several thousand more. Indeed, within Labour I had plenty of people telling me they had actually underestimated their vote by between ten and twenty percent. That’s why when they got close to winning in Preseli Pembrokeshire, Arfon and Aberconwy they were as surprised as anyone, not having actually targeted those seats.
There has been an upsurge in voter registration in recent weeks. This can only be good news for Labour. But they are still playing a defensive game, and everyone knows that turnout will be critical. That crucial factor will determine whether Labour loses one seat or ten seats on December 12th.