Final predictions

Ipsos-MORI’s final poll will be in the Evening Standard tomorrow, but apart from that all the other final polls are out.

Populus 37 28 27 +9
ComRes 37 28 28 +9
Opinium 35 27 26 +8
ICM 36 28 26 +8
YouGov 35 28 28 +7
Angus Reid 36 24 29 +7
Harris 35 29 27 +6
TNS BMRB 33 27 29 +4

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.

NB – for comments, please keep on using the backup site at – to my surprise the traffic still hasn’t died down even at 11 o’clock!

109 Responses to “Final predictions”

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  1. Con 285
    Lab 225
    LD 110
    This takes into account that a lot of postal votes were cast this time round, and the LDs were a shade higher a week or two back.
    Tories to form a minority government. Brown to resign.
    Bring it on!!!

  2. Great work throughout this election campaign Anthony. A big thank you and congratulations.

    Your seat prediction seems pretty spot on to me too, but where’s your predicted share of the vote?

  3. I echo Dave P’s comments. Many thanks for running this site.

    My final prediction is:-

    C 36, L 26, LD 28

    C 330, L 190, LD 100.

  4. whats your prediction for the small parties?
    snp, pc, greens, ukip, bnp, respect ?

    and who will be the pm?
    p.s.:thanks for this webpage and its discussioncultur (well most of the time)

    see you all tomorrow night

  5. I think you’re in the right ball park, i have

    Tories: 307 (36%)
    Labour 223 (29%)
    Lib Dems 89 (27%)

  6. Yep, thanks for a compelling and thoughtful blog – much appreciated.



  7. Well I am off 42 people to pick up and take to the polling station. I am more optimistic, I can see a substantial Tory majority. Good luck to everyone and thankyou Anthony. While we are not all on the same side I can only respect all who hold firm views.

  8. Whole hog, 650 seat prediction (re: Saladin) –

    Con – 295
    Labour – 250
    LibDem – 79
    DUP – 7
    SNP – 6
    Sinn Fein – 4
    Plaid Cymru – 4
    SDLP – 2
    Green – 1
    Ulster – 1
    UKIP – 1
    Respect – 0
    BNP – 0

    PM… too tricky. Miliband Sr?

  9. Great work mate – thankyou for all the analysis and hard graft on the site in this election season.

    I agree broadly with your prediction, although I think that Conservatives might have 10 or so more seats at the expense of Labour (from some unexpected “shock” results in less marginal constituencies).

  10. Will there be an exit poll?

  11. I’m guessing tories at close to 300, which is not a great result for my personal bias – a minority Con government that wouldn’t need to give in to any form of PR demands.

    I remain slightly hopeful that the polls are a little biased to the front-runner, leading to a more balanced result…

    Many thanks to Anthony Wells for taking the time to write this excellent blog and allow us weirdos to discuss the polls (and sometimes more…).

    Good luck to everyone!

  12. I think there is one exit poll done jointly by all the big 3 tv channels. I do not know which polling companies are doing it for them.

  13. Tour de force. Thanks you for sharing your expertise and experience over many months, Mr Wells.

  14. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the comments on this site over the last few weeks and months. Thank you Anthony. I think the LD’s will do slightly better in the northern marginals on the back of a huge (and unpolled) student vote. Also Labour have historically underperformed to the polls by 1%-2%
    CON 311 (36.4%)
    LAB 207 (25.9%)
    LD 103 (27.7%)
    Others 29 (10.0%)
    A just about workable majority on the basis of nationalist abstentions and Unionist support where needed on UK issues.

  15. I think angus ried giving the tories up to 340 seats is a tad optimistic, i think they’re going to have trouble winning and holding some lib-con marginals and that will hurt their total.

  16. @David in Oxford

    Agree with most of what you say David except I believe the Conservatives might just spring one or two surprises today and reach that all important figure of 326 seats.

    I can honestly see quite a few high profile Labour Ministers losing their seats tonight.
    All fair of course because thats exactly what happened the other way round in 1997!

    When the results start to feed through tonight it will very interesting to look at the Swings even in strong Labour held seats to give an overall indictaion of how things are panning out everywhere.

    Con 38-39

    Lab 25-26

    LDs 26-27

    Labour just might come third and will have no moral mandate to remain even as a minority government and certainly not GB as PM!

  17. Enjoyed reading this site over the past couple of weeks, some great insights.

    My prediction.

    C/L/LD 36/29/27

    Brown playing the ‘fear’ card will stabilise the core vote in the privacy of the polling booth, escpecially amongst public sector workers with job loss worries.

    Seats : 294/241/80

    Proportional Swing effect will give 1% marginals boost. Balancing effect of no swing in Scotland will give further marginals boost of 0.5%. Marginals swings will be as follows

    6.5% Lab to Con
    6% LD to Lab
    1% LD to Con

    Aftermath most likely DC as PM with minority Tory govt resisting LD coalition as PR is too high a price to pay.

    However a 0.5% swing against Con on the day would switch maybe 10 seats and then make a LD/Lab coalition (without Brown) a real possibility.

    Going to be a very interesting night.

  18. @ Anthony

    I know I have occasionally stepped over the line but so have many others – one just gets carried away.

    Thanks Anthony for a most excellent site-thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it.

    Lots of genuine nice people on here of ALL Political colours, just as it should be.

    I was genuinly gutted and somewhat shocked when the polls went heywire BUT didn’t it make everything more excited.

    Watching BBC tonight (usually till at least 3am – family think i’m crazy -lol) should be very exciting viewing to say the least.


  19. Anthony,

    I have been an avid reader of your blog over the past few months

    A massive thanks to you for providing a very clear and informative guide to the world of polling.

    Personally I think
    CON 290-300
    LAB 230-240
    LDEM 85-95

    This is based on the postal votes being submitted earlier when Lib Dems were polling higher.

    Keep up the great work!


  20. Superb site, I’ve been reading it daily.

    The predictions are interesting but my hunch is that many of the final polls will be wrong. Why? I think this election is the hardest to call since 92. There are too many new factors to consider. Including the large number of new candidates, boundary changes, the leadership debates, the large number of new voter registrations and most importantly postal voting (up 60% in some areas). May will have voted weeks ago. It will be an interesting night but if some reports are true we might not know the full story till Friday night or later


  21. @Anthony

    Anthony – do you work out the rolling average based on 8 or 10 polls?

    I did it based on 10 and arrived at 36 for the Cons (but only just 35.6%)

    Just wondered! :o

  22. Resident in France, I have very much enjoyed your site and all the intelligent and well-informed comments from you and your contributors.

    I agree that Lab and Lib-Dem support may be very slightly underestimated as often happens, and think that the traditional Lib-Dem combative strength may be enough to hold off Con attacks in most Libdem – held marginals.

    For Lab, there may be some ‘shy’ voters who would not admit to voting Lab when questioned – as used to happen with Tory voters.

    So my suggestion is:

    Con 35
    Lab 29
    LD 28
    Oth 8

    Many thanks: enjoy tonight!

  23. There is still one poll to come today folks pre-election (ie not an exit poll)


  24. At the outset of the election campaign I’d have been amazed if someone told me that at the end of it the Tories would be struggling to form a governement with a firm mandate. That’s exactly where we are, if the polls are correct. Incredible. The likelihood of another GE in the short term being quite strong.


    Con 295-305
    Lab 235-245
    LD 75-85

  25. @ Eoin –

    Logged off earlyish last night so didn’t get to read your final prediction/thoughts. What’s your gut feeling – hung parliament?

  26. I wished to comment that this thread was of excellent stature. As a foreign national i am not allowed to vote here. Although having lived here for the last 29 years. Democratic? Maybe a subject for discussion another time. As regards PR the potential losing party would be the conservative party. Although with UKIP and Unionist and switches in voters mood over the years this may not be totally so. As regards coalition governments it allows for a check on “extreme” decision which puts a large number of the population at a disadvantage with the resulting anger. A consensus approach over time allows for more of an acceptance by the public of decisions taken.
    Anyway, my unscientific prediction for the election and taking into account what my children are saying in from University and just out of it is that a lot more “youngsters” are going to vote.

    So I believe this will show as CON 293, LAB 243, LIBDEM 83, Others 30.

  27. @Dave K,

    I was out last night at a fiddley dee…

    my final thoughts are that it could go either way.

    With a high turnout and a lot of undecideds it is still all to play for.

    Let me simplify it for people.

    The c.120 marginals need a blue swing on average of 6.9% for blues to get a majority.

    Recently two polling companies showed blueys on 7% in the marginals.

    If this actually happened blues would stand a majority.

    But imagine this…

    if 1% swing per seat is 500-1,000 votes, imagine there was a last minute reversal in these seats…. well then they would fall from blue grasp.

    In addition, if 500 extra reds no longer disgruntled at Iraq turned out then instead of 7% swing required to take them…. it would be closer to 8% in terms of people voting….

    If both happened ie.. extra reds vote AND there was a last minute reversal, then reds could kick the swing back to 5%… in which case red would be the largest party.

    So I am being genuine when i say it is still all to play for.

    What I will say is that the last batch of polls opened the blue lead, and it would be very unlikely that reds would buck this trend…… as far as I know the last minute trends increase the accuracy of the polls thus it would historically suggest that blues stand a chance of a majority…..

    So what will happen? A common sense answer would say c.315 blue.

    throw a bit of red faith into that and you would be amazed how little is required to completely reverse that and have red the largest party.

    I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that I have not give up on the latter.

  28. @ Eoin

    Thanks for that analysis.

    Just on the question of the significance of the last poll’s of the campaign: my guess (and hope!) is that the last day movement toward the Tories wont be a reflection of finally settling for a party but will reflect the volatility of the polls that we’ve seen on a day to day basis. If this campaign has shown us anything it’s that – outside of core support – there is no party with that air of obvious choice as governors about them. As so many people have said: they wont know what way they’ll vote until they get in that polling booth and have the pen hovering above the ballot form.

  29. I’d also like to thank Anthony warmly for running this site.

    I’m predicting Con 298, LD 108, Lab 212, with the SNP gaining one seat and PC 2.

  30. My final prediction:

    A bad night for Labour – a great night for the Lib Dems – a slightly disappointing night for the Tories although they will win.

    Cons : 294
    Labs : 232
    Libs : 92

    Tory minority government – who will go to the country again next May.

    Brown will resign as Labour leader.

  31. CON 292
    LAB 227
    L.D. 98

    The end.

  32. @ Eoin

    Just been to vote in Pudsey, it’s at the higher target end for DC. Only a Con teller on duty. He said their canvassing was very strong all over the constituency, they’re very confident they are going to have a 3000 to 4000 majority here. What’s the potential effect Eoin?

  33. @Steve,

    They need a +5% swing to take Pudsey,

    If they are doing well there it would point ot a c.310 seats for blue. But I am surprised he said that this early also there would be a range of polling booths across it with varying red/blue strengths.

  34. Hi
    First time commenting, I would think that a committment to maintaining the block grant will see most of the NI parties supporting Conservatives. Sinn Fein are out of the equation unless they decide to attend Parliament – unlikely. This will reduce the number of MP’s who actually attend by say 4.

    My prediction would be Conservative 300 – 310 (16 short of overall majority but with the NI votes sufficient to form Government.

    It will be interesting to see if Brown attempts under those circumstances tries to do a deal with the Lib Dems & NI MP’s.

    If Conservatives have greatest number of seats & highest share of the vote it would be political suicide for Clegg to attempt to keep Brown in power. Equally true for any other Labour leader.

    Friday will tell



  36. Con 303 – 308

    Lab 240 – 245

    LD 71 – 75

    Hugely dissappointing night for all three parties:-

    i Con fail to get a majority (never mind their 100+ seat majority they though was theirs for the taking).

    ii Lab lose office.

    iii LD fail to make a breakthrough and there is no PR bill.

    Con minority government calling a second election in early October.

  37. I have just placed a bet on Labour finishing third in votes. My reasoning (so you won’t all think this is just a bias) is as follows:
    A lot of Labour’s core vote is elderly, and most of them have postal votes so will have already voted if they are going to. In fact, a large proportion of the elderly have voted already whichever party they support. As a result, the ‘undecideds’ in these latest polls are mainly younger voters, who we know are splitting more in favour of the Lib Dems (proviso – if they vote, but early reports say polling is good). If the latest polls are showing reds and oranges at level pegging, which they are, then the remaining undecideds should swing the National vote for the Lib Dems.
    An additional factor is that many of the polls get their headline figures by artificially apportioning the undecideds they come across in line with how they voted in 2005. Since we know there were more Labour voters in 2005 than there are likely to be this time, the headline figures will overstate the Labour vote.
    Q.E.D. (as we used to say in school 60 years ago)

  38. At what time are we to expect the results of this alleged Ipsos-Mori poll?

    I had thought there was a rule that prohibited the publication of opinion polls on polling day?

  39. I know various people frequently report the weather having an effect on the turnout of one party or another.

    For what its worth I’m in a labour ultra safe seat, its morning, its p***ing down and the attendant in the polling station announced cheerily, by way of chit chat, what an amazingly large turn out there’s been so far.

    What that tell you I don’t know!

  40. @ Eoin

    They were basing it on their canvass returns from all over Pudsey, assume they must amalgamate them and make assessments from this. He did say it’s all changed in the last week, interesting to see if it’s reflected anywhere else.

  41. EOIN & STEVE

    Pudsey used to be a Tory seat with a fairly healthy majority before 1997 so not sure it would a massive surprise if it went blue.

    Anecdotally my brother and his wife live in that constituency and voted Lib Dem last time. This time they are voting Labour as the result is too close to risk a protest vote against the government and they would rather not let a Tory MP in.

  42. Hmm, I reckon a slim but limited workability Con majority, wouldn’t want to bet on it though, very uncertain.

    Graham, your capslock key appears to be malfunctioning…

  43. Re the Pudsey debate – Even though the swing required is lower than Pudsey I think the Conservatives may have more trouble winning seats like Wakefield.

  44. @ Graham AD
    That’s a brave bet. Sounds like you’re a champagne socialist if you can afford that level of stake! LOL
    I spread my bets a bit more, so even if the result isn’t what I want, at least I might win some cash.
    Personally, no evidence for this, just gut feeling, I think the tories might get 240 seats. I am certain that there will be some big casualties, where the swing way outperforms the average and those latest polls show that the slow momentum continues the way of the blues.

  45. Oh the tension. Given that a mere percent here or there could change the outcome, this one’s going right down to the wire. Early reports of a high turnout would surely bode well for Labour and particularly the Lib Dems, as their voters are regarded as the most flakey, aren’t they? With that in mind, I’ll make my slightly overoptimistic prediction of roughly 290/230/110.

  46. @ Gary & Eoin

    West Yorkshire was a graveyard for Con the last few elections, any extra seats here will be a bonus. Sounds like LD votes are cancelling each other out, we’ve done the exact opposite, voted Con to get Lab out. Voted LD for Leeds Council though.

  47. Prediction: Tories 290
    Labour 230
    Lib Dem 95

    Brown resigns. Tories scramble about for allies. Lib Dems (if they’ve any sense!) keep out of any formal alliances.

  48. I can’t even attempt to make a prediction on percentages and seats, so instead, in the spirt of the great Pam Ayers (though I imagine she’s a libdem) I’ll end my contributions to this website with a despicably partisan Election Night Prayer.

    Save us, we implore,
    From the wolf who’s at our door,
    Prowling, Lord, and growling,
    All blue in tooth and claw.
    Protect us, Lord, this night
    From the beast of greed and spite.
    Bring back the dawn and in the morn,
    Let darkness flee from light.
    Answer, now, our prayer
    To uphold the ones who care,
    Thwart, we plead, the gods of greed,
    And favour most the fair.

  49. Oops, I meant 340 seats for the blues. Keyboard has a mind of it’s own

  50. STEVE

    Agreed – West Yorkshire is not normally a happy home for the Tories. In fact I think they will struggle to hold onto many seats they win in these constituencies at future elections.

    It’ll be interesting to see how Dewsbury votes – its on the Tory target list at number 96 but would still be surprised if we see a blue in that neck of the woods.

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