Ipsos-MORI’s final poll will be in the Evening Standard tomorrow, but apart from that all the other final polls are out.
There you go. Yesterday I said I expected the final figures would be somewhere around where ICM, Populus and YouGov were (at the time CON 34-36, LAB 27-29, LDEM 27-29) and not much has changed that, though the average level of Conservative support seemed to have ticked up a bit, with most polls now showing them at 35-37. All the pollsters are now very close indeed, the majority of the polls are within 1 point of CON 36%, LAB 28%, LDEM 27% (the exceptions are Angus Reid and TNS BMRB).
Looking at the details of the polls, Populus had a sample of 2,500, conducted between yesterday afternoon and today. An interesting part there was that of the 13% of people who said they were voting tactically, half said they were voting Conservative, suggesting the Conservatives being the beneficaries of some tactical voting for once. 59% of people told Populus they were certain to vote, compared to 57% in their poll in 2005.
The Harris poll was conducted between the 29th April and 4th May, so for a final eve-of-election poll there was some very old fieldwork. No it wasn’t! Fieldwork was actually 4-5th May like everyone else.
Angus Reid provide some analysis of marginal seats in their poll. In 150 Labour held Conservative targets Angus Reid found the Conservatives up 5 points on 2005, Labour down 19. This equates to a somewhat implausible 12 point swing from Labour to the Conservatives in marginal seats, enough for a crushing landslide. In the 63 Liberal Democrat held seats they found support at CON 33%(+4), LAB 12%(-7), LDEM 48%(+2) – a slight swing from the Lib Dems to the Conservatives.
YouGov interviewed 6483, so a big old sample. They also carried out a second poll of Labour held Conservative target seats with a majority between 6% and 14% (the same seats YouGov polled a few months back for Channel 4). These showed a 7% swing from Labour to the Conservatives, evidence that the Conservatives continue to do better in marginal seats and echoing the sort of swing the MORI and Crosby/Textor marginal polls have shown in the last week.
ComRes’s final polls is already looking ahead to the aftermath of the election. They found 51% of people agreed with the statement that the party with the most seats should provide the PM, but 81% agreed that the party that received the most votes should provide the PM.
Anyway, enough of the polling – how will it translate into seats? On a uniform swing a split of 36/28/27 would translate into a seat distribution of Conservatives 297, Labour 245 and Lib Dems 76. There are a couple of departures from UNS that we can be pretty confident of though – firstly, Scotland will not follow this pattern. The polling suggests Labour’s support in Scotland is pretty solid and there is certainly no Conservative advance (and the SNP surge we were seeing a year or two back has also gone.)
I also expect the Conservatives to outperform the national swing in Labour held marginals – the seven percent swing we’ve seen in the YouGov, MORI and Crosby/Textor polls would take the Conservatives over 300 and close to a majority. What is much more difficult to do is predict what will happen in Lib Dem marginals. It seems likely the Conservative advance will be slightly offset by losing seats to the Liberal Democrats, but there have been a couple of straws in the wind like that ICM poll of Lib Dem marginals that suggest the Lib Dems are advancing more in Labour held marginals than Conservative ones. We don’t have the polling evidence to judge that – but whether the Lib Dems advance evenly, or do better against Labour, will be the difference between the Conservatives getting about 300 seats and getting up to 310 or more.
Anyway, I can’t delay it any longer: my guess is we are going to see the Conservatives between 300-310, Labour between 220-230, the Liberal Democrats between 80-90 (though I warn you, I may be a pollster, but my personal powers of election prediction are notoriously poor!)
For other pollster predictions, TNS have made a seat prediction of CON 292, LAB 204, LDEM 114; Peter Kellner’s personal prediction is CON 300-310, LAB 230-240, LDEM 75-85; Angus Reid have a prediction of CON 320-340, LAB 165-185, LDEM 105-120.
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