Adam I, Editor
SERKATIA – In just a few hours time, polls will be opening in what everyone can agree is the most hotly-contested National Election in Adammic history. Incumbent Prime Minister Lord Helliker of the Liberal-Moderate Party will battle it out with Sir Juliano Saunders of the populist, anti-establishment Storm Party, with Labour’s Lord Maude as the underdog. In this piece, we’ll be analysing the whole campaign in detail: the candidates, the manifestos, the interviews, the subdivisions.
Our final opinion poll of the campaign has found that the Liberal-Moderates lead with 40%, closely followed by Storm on 37%. This translates to just a one-vote difference on first preferences, meaning that the election is almost certainly going to be decided by second preferences. Labour trail behind on 23%. If our polling is correct, in a nation with a population of just 45, every single vote is going to count tomorrow.
National Election first preference voting intentions. Fieldwork 19 Oct.
The story of this campaign is dominated by the astonishing rise of Sir Juliano’s Storm Party. Not since they heyday of the ANP has Adammia seen such a unified and determined political force. By recruiting several dissatisfied politicians and citizens to his side, Saunders has succeeded where other opposition leaders have failed – Storm has become more than just a one-man party. Storm activists have worked together in a way which has never been seen before in Adammic politics – liking and commenting on each others’ posts in the Empire of Adammia Facebook group, and co-ordinating their attacks on Lord Helliker’s government.
The Storm Party kicked off this campaign – they were the first to publish their manifesto, and they controlled the topics of debate for much of the campaign. They have successfully made accountability and democratic reform key issues which have had to be addressed by all the parties standing in this election. So what do the Storm Party actually stand for? At the heart of their beliefs is a desire to take power away from the “elites” – usually represented by the Emperor and Lord Helliker – and giving that power back to the people. They have promised to hold a referendum on the Emperor’s powers and to investigate what they call “cider corruption”.
The Storm Party’s manifesto is vague, and it has not been especially keen to elaborate on some of the points it makes. What specific imperial powers will be subject to referendum? What nations will trade deals be persued with? How will the gift bags be funded? What evidence actually is there for a “cider stash”? The Storm Party will have to answer these questions if it gets into government, but for now the party’s supporters seem happy to get behind its principles and worry about the details later.
There can be no doubt that Saunders is an incredibly charismatic leader, and he has worked hard to build connections with dissatisfied voters. His party has an open democratic structure, and many of its policies were suggested by its supporters. This has allowed Saunders to build up a solid campaign team and a base of hardcore voters, mostly those who are active in the Adammic Facebook group. The big question is whether Saunders will be able to get support from further afield. The more apolitical regions of the Empire – Alluria, Greater Tytannia – will most likely be judging candidates based on their manifestos and interviews. Notably, Saunders refused to take part in an interview with the Adammic Express, the first National Election candidate in Adammic history to do so. For voters who haven’t been engaged with Saunders’ regular posts in the Adammic Facebook group, their first impression of the Storm Party will be a blank interview and a vague manifesto. Saunders’ efforts have taken him very far, but will they carry him to the finish line?
When the Storm Party launched its campaign, it hit the government hard over its recent resignations and the recession. The Liberal-Moderates were clearly caught off-guard, and it took them quite some time to begin their fightback. The Lib-Mods are the only party to have a written constitution and a proper conference, and this extra layer of bureaucracy hindered the party from launching its own manifesto and keeping up with the Storm campaign. The manifesto we eventually got was long and detailed, another example of the policy-drafting the Emperor did for the former Liberal leaders Prince Jake and Lord Panconi. However, even then, the party struggled to get attention for its policies. Lord Helliker has spent most of his time attempting to defend his government’s record during his first term in office, with mixed success. He has frequently cited the Free Marriage Act and legal reform as his achievements, but questions about the economy have yet to yield many convincing answers. Whilst the Lib-Mods do have a plan for ending the recession, it is complicated and is difficult to communicate to voters compared to the economic plans of the other two parties.
It took some time, but the Liberal-Moderates did eventually build up a campaign team to rival the Storm Party’s – but was it too little, too late? The main question for the Liberal-Moderate Party lies in its foundations: will the former voters of the Liberal and Moderate parties transfer across to the new party? We already know that the merger last month caused a lot of tension and resulted in a resignation from the Cabinet. The Liberals and the Moderates were both old parties, and their traditional voters have been part of Adammia for a long time – these are people living in places like Greater Tytannia, where turnout was uncomfortably low last year. Turnout is going to be crucial for the Lib-Mods. If they want to counter the Storm Party’s hardcore supporters, they need the backing of their older, less politically-active voters. They will no doubt be hoping for a smooth election process tomorrow in order to maximise turnout in the North.
And then there is the underdog, Lord Sam Maude. He is running without the support of anyone else – unlike Helliker and Saunders, he has no campaign team behind him. However, it can be argued that Maude is in a uniquely powerful position in this election. Accepting that he is unlikely to win, he has positioned himself as a compromise candidate, with his support essential to passing any Budget. In his interview, he implicitly urged his supporters to put the Liberal-Moderates as their second preference, suggesting that he would rather work with Helliker in government rather than Saunders. In a situation where every single vote counts, this could decide the election for Helliker. Maude’s manifesto is brief and lacking in detail, but his interview answers were thoughtful (albeit oddly in the third person) and, between the status quo of the Lib-Mods and the unruly populism of Storm, he may yet attract more votes than we might otherwise expect. There is certainly public appetite for reform, although it should be noted that Maude’s proposed constitutional reforms are just as radical as Storm’s, if not even more so. Labour’s result in this election is one to watch: it is a party which has surprised us before, and it could yet do so again. That being said, it cannot be denied that the party has polled poorly. Maude does not have activists backing him up, and he has put nowhere near as much effort into campaigning as Saunders or Helliker. If either of the other two candidates performs particularly badly tomorrow, he may clinch second place.
As we can discuss this election in terms of candidates, so we can also discuss it in terms of subdivisions. Of the provinces, Serkatia and Dank-upon-Bourn won’t be interesting – they will vote down party lines. Far more interesting will be Greater Tytannia and Alluria. The former is where the Lib-Mods will be hoping to source much of their support – it is home to many former Liberal and Moderate voters, but it suffered low turnout last year. It is also home to many old-school Labour voters, such as the founder of the party, Lord Colonel Hall. Alluria, on the other hand, has less issues with turnout, but its political support is fickle and could swing to any of the parties. It is known that many Allurians are left-leaning and this could benefit Labour – a particularly strong result in Alluria is probably Labour’s best hope of securing second place. But similarly, the Allurians could just as easily back Helliker or Saunders – it just depends what they make of the manifestos and the interviews.
Amongst the other subdivisions, Myway is likely to split fairly evenly amongst the parties. The old ANP heartlands of Kappania, El Grandens and Midgard will probably vote Storm, with the nationalists likely to endorse a fellow anti-establishment party. And finally, amongst abroad citizens, there will probably a split between the Lib-Mods and Storm: the Ordo Vladius will back the former with one of its own as the Lib-Mod candidate, whilst the newer abroad citizens form much of Storm’s activist base.
Comparing the two front-runners, we can evaluate their respective strengths.
The Liberal-Moderates have:
-The benefit of incumbency, and an experienced Prime Minister
-A detailed, solid manifesto
-A number of activists
-A reasonable interview performance, which Storm refused to participate in
-Lord Maude’s preference when it comes to forming a government
-An anti-establishment position which has decided the course of the campaign
-The backing of the Dank Party and likely that of the ANP
-A charismatic leader who has a natural talent for speaking directly to the public
-A number of hardcore campaigners
Looking at it another way, we can say there are three key factors which will decide this election:
-Labour second preferences: Lord Maude has indicated he wants to work with Helliker, but will his voters agree?
-Turnout in Greater Tytannia: The Office of State will be working hard to facilitate as high a turnout as possible, but Emperor Mother Jayne, who normally liases with these things when the Emperor is away, is on holiday in the Canary Islands, meaning somebody else will have to act as returning officer.
-Alluria: Which way will this relatively apathetic province swing?
Although the polling shows that Lord Helliker has a slight advantage, this is the first time we have attempted opinion polling for an election in Adammia and it remains to be seen how well our model will hold up. With that in mind, given the large margin of error in our polling we must say at this stage that the election is too close to call.