Last week, in the person of Harry Phibbs, Conservative Home was playing down Tory chances in the Copeland by-election:
Victory will surely be a challenge. Labour starts out with a lead among local councillors – and the grassroots network of support that goes with them.Now Andrew Gimson has been to the constituency, sniffed the wind, talked to a few voters and come to a different conclusion:
Perhaps by the time the by-election is held, this favourable estimate [of Theresa May] will have worn off, and there will be a reversion to traditional voting patterns. But it is striking that just now, these profoundly traditional Labour voters respect May more than they respect their own leader.
It is possible to imagine a by-election in which Labour voters abstain in such numbers that they let the Conservative in. If Corbyn fails to raise his game, he could find himself humiliated by the very people who until recently were his party’s core working-class supporters.Meanwhile, this is a good point to recommend again the post by Mark Pack on what the Lib Dem strategy should be in Copeland.