General election: unthinkable, but possible, moments

Big Ben, Westminster

There are some things that could happen on election night that would have been deemed ridiculous five years ago, but now don't seem impossible.

Tensions are running high as the election nears. Here’s four events that could happen in May that would have been unthinkable five years ago, but could just happen.

Nick Clegg losing his seat

Leaders of main parties rarely lose their seat. However, the DUP’s Peter Robinson did lose his in Northern Ireland in 2010.

Despite this, numerous polls have suggested that the Deputy Prime Minister could lose out on his seat in May.

A recent correction in a poll by Lord Ashcroft indicates that the Liberal Democrats could lose their leader. The original poll had Nick Clegg ahead, but corrections suggest that the Liberal Democrats are three points behind Labour (30%-27%) in the constituency.

Additionally, a more recently conducted poll by Survation, for Unite, suggests that Clegg is losing by ten points in his seat.

Nick Clegg losing his seat seems unlikely as major party leaders rarely go through this, but with there being a lot of distrust towards the Lib Dem leader the idea does not seem so unbelievable.

Danny Alexander losing his seat

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury won his seat with 41% of the vote in 2010, with the SNP on just 19%. However, Lord Ashcroft’s recent polling indicates that the SNP could win the seat. The poll puts the rising SNP on 50%, with Alexander just on 21%.

This seems unthinkable as it would involve such a massive swing, but with national polls suggesting that the Lib Dems will lose support and this poll reiterating it in Alexander’s constituency then it might just be possible.

SNP to take most of Scotland

Five years ago it would be unthinkable to say that the SNP would become the largest party in Scotland at Westminster. Even a year ago, well before the post-referendum surge, this seemed unlikely.

But the party has grown in support. Polls suggest that the SNP are likely to do well and take a majority - perhaps even almost all - of the seats in Scotland. This would be a dramatic change, but in the post-referendum climate anything is possible.

UKIP winning more than a handful of seats

First-past-the-post restricts UKIP and other small parties so most predictions, whilst giving Nigel Farage’s party decent shares of the vote, have given them only a few seats. Indeed, Peter Kellner’s recent prediction for YouGov gives them just 5, far less than what they would get under a more proportional system.

However, with UKIP still ‘Britain’s third party’ in the polls, and with Nigel Farage recently saying, on Andrew Marr, that the party will gain more than just ‘three or four seats’, it seems possible that the party could get more.

Additionally, if UKIP just get a handful, compared to 2010, who would have thought that the party would be on this level of support just now.

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