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. Just come back from telling.

    A young WWC voter was furious that his party BNP was not on the list . No BNP candidate here.

    Had a right go at the registrar. Local Plod ex RSM had a quiet work with the young man and he took off with his tail between his legs. :D

  2. @Gattino

    Good poem, just one error – it works best if you substitute red for blue. Then it rings very true. After all how many blue MP’s are up before the beak? Tony Blair, Prescott 2 jags etc etc

  3. My “heart” prediction:

    Con 33% (274)
    Lab 27% (225)
    LD 30% (120)
    Oth 10% (30)

    My hope is based on the premise of under-sampling of tech-savvy, independent, younger people

    My head prediction:

    Con 37% (339)
    Lab 26% (200)
    LD 27% (80)
    Oth 10% (30)

    I think UNS tends to understate the effect of swings, and swing models like that employed by are more accurate.

  4. queues at Hampstead Town ward early this morning : could be a big turnout ? Looks like LD gain but Cons very confident and have an excellent candidate..

  5. The performance of the BNP could actually be crucial in some of the Labour marginals. In the past they have been taken votes from Labour and reduced their majority (see Dewsbury’s result last time).

    If some of those voters come back to Labour then maybe it can hold onto these seats against a Tory swing of 6-7%.

    However if more Labour voters defect to the BNP in seats like this then it makes it easier for the Tories to win these seats against a very split vote.

  6. @ Gary

    Postal votes will be a key in Dewsbury, large block family votes in North & South will have a big influence. It can be less about party politics and more about individuals.

  7. @Gary

    Around (East London) here the young WWC are unshamedly BNP.

    If you see a white van with a cross of St George on it you can pretty much guaratee the occupants are BNP or possibly UKIP.

    Most importanatly they are very very pissed off and they will vote.

  8. Was out at 7am this morning casting my vote in Warrington South. Was out on a 6 mile run last night and saw very few Labour poster. Mostly Conservative and Lib Dem.

    My Prediction – Labour to hold with a mush reduced majority and the seat to become a 3-way marginal in the future

  9. I’ve put up a prediction based on a simulation model devised by two researchers in Hungary developed to account for the likely effect of a “spiral of silence” on opinion poll results. Their model suggests that today the Conservatives will take 32.29-33.59%, the Liberal Democrats will be second with between 28-30.43%, and Labour a relatively poor third with between 22.17-25.67% (the differences in these figures depend on the turnout level). I’ve put an English version of their full report up with contact details at:

  10. Just been to vote & had to queue at 10.30. Got back to find 2 (two) Tory leaflets through the door despite my LibDem poster in the window. Ashcroft’s money is obviously being used well.

  11. On the subject of reallocation of don’t knows, those who voted Labour in 2005 aren’t just allcoated to Labour. They’re allocated randomly with probabilities determined by the 2005 Labour voters who have said who they’re voting for this time. so it shouldn’t overestimate the Labour vote unless the DKs are less likely than the other 2005 Labour voters to vote Labour… Which is perfeclty possible! None of these approaches are perfect of course.

  12. Eoin, are you still plumping for a 22% LibDem share or do you think that last night’s polls have changed that likelihood?

    (Not trying to be provocative here, just genuinely interested. Obviously I am hoping for something close to their average rating last night)

  13. Although I’ve not commented before I just wanted to say thanks to those that have worked so hard on this sight – it really has been the most up to date poll check and with excellent analysis.

    My head says hung parliament, but my heart hopes for enough swing in the marginals for a Tory majority. I’m not naturally Tory inclined, and this is the first time I have ever marked the blue cross, but we surely need a fresh government to get a grip on public spending and the economy. I’m a public sector worker, so perhaps a turkey voting for Xmas, but the sheer waste on non-jobs, pet projects, quangos and ‘performance managment’ that I experience on a day-to-day basis has to be seen to be believed. I’m afraid with GB we will go the way of Greece. Let’s see…. and fingers crossed!

  14. With Final Polls around

    CON 36
    LAB 28
    LIB 28

    Conservatives to do well across South and Central England as far north as East Midlands. But with no advance in Scotland or Southwest, and little advance in Wales, or despite the hype – in Northern England, they are winning in too small an area to get near anywhere near an absolute majority.

    Labour. Of course their vote will be down, but their core vote is holding up where they need to avoid a wipe out.

    Lib Dems. The high support two weeks ago was great, but what did it mean in terms of seats? I believe their notional vote has gone down since the Clegg bounce, but in terms of seats the Lib Dem result has been firming up. If the Lib Dems are down a few points at the final count, that will be Lib Dem voters supporting Labour. It won’t affect the seats Lib Dems need to win, and will stop the Conservatives in a good number of seats.

    Seat Number Prediction

    Conservatives 290
    Labour 250
    Lib Dems 90

    Worst possible scenario – both for the country, and for the Conservatives, is for the Conservatives to almost get a majority and govern with the, say, 8 DUP members, having paid them off with £200 million
    of expendicture protected from cuts for Northern Ireland.

    Just imagine the next General Election Campaign –

    ‘Expenses per MP under Labour – £20,000
    Expenses per MP under Conservatives – £25 million.’

    It would be the final nail in the coffin for FPTP, and another generation in the wilderness for the Conservatives.

    If the Conservatives are wise they will do a deal with the Lib Dems. But are they?????

  15. I was the only person in my nearest polling station this morning (attendants aside). Hopefully I’m the only person who’s voted in my constituency so my choice of candidate will win with 100% of the vote :D

  16. STEVE

    I agree about postal votes being crucial in this election. I also think we may see a lot of recounts – I’m not sure we are going to know much about the result until 4-5am

  17. I see that my numbers do not add up

    Actual prediction

    Conservatives 285
    Labour 245
    Lib Dems 90

  18. # KEVIN

    “Was out at 7am this morning casting my vote in Warrington South. Was out on a 6 mile run last night and saw very few Labour poster. Mostly Conservative and Lib Dem.”

    I have seen this replicated everwhere I go though as well (though much less so for the Lib Dems). I think its just a sign that Labour voters are more shy at the moment (less likely to want to put up posters and be active) and a reflection of the amount of money pumped into the seats by the Tories who have put up posters everywhere.

    If the election was about how many posters are put up locally – the Tories would win hands down.

  19. Any predictions for turnout? I think we may see it as high as 80% this time.

  20. TONY E

    I really hope your head is correct or there is going to be a financial bloodbath starting Monday (or even sooner)

  21. Without any partisan tendencies, does anyone have a particular pollstser who thinks will approach a perfect ‘result’?

  22. @bernard
    try to keep your partisan leanings to one side.The tories would be wise imo to continue as a minority government unless the lib dems are prepared to flexible on their demands.It is they who should be wise in what they ask for.Personally take the £10k no tax policy and no more seems good to me :-)

  23. @Gary

    ‘If the election was about the number of posters put up locally the Tories would win hands down’

    – Not in Camden…. there is only one, and it was defaced weeks ago….. Lib/Green/Lab on the poster polling!

  24. @Leslie,

    Yes I am. But if it is closer to your score then a lot of my friends and family will be very pleased indeed.

  25. @Gary

    My wife is counting votes tonight. She has said they have been advised that they will not be able to leave the building until 7am! It could be a long night.

    By the way I voted earlier in Bromley Town (Bromley and Chislehurst). Turnout seemed good. No tellers, though.

  26. Whilst I predict CamCon with c10 maj, IF the polls turn out right and there is no overall majority, I think it will be such that the LDs will have 90 seats and Con just short.

    The maths will not work for a Lab/LD ‘coalition’ as together they will not command 326. That doesn’t rule out some other arrangements with ‘others’ but it will be messy and unworkable.

  27. Con 270-290
    Lab 210-230
    Libdem 100-120

  28. As another lurker, just to echo comments about what a great site this is – really useful and *horribly* addictive :-)

    Good luck to everyone; I’m off back to my polling station . .


  29. @Rosie P

    Tory majority of 10?

    I am astonished that you are still clinging to this one given all the contrary evidence: and supposedly a labour voter as well……..!

    @Tony E

    “I think UNS tends to understate the effect of swings, and swing models like that employed by are more accurate.”

    Well, 16 or so hours till we find out whether you (and the yank centred model at 538) are thoughtfully right or cluelessly wrong

    @Minnie Ovens

    “Mr Clegg is immensely arrogant and ignorant and I think you will find Mr Cameron will not be able to stand him.”

    ahem- if you actually look at all the recent data (and predictions on EC and PH that factor in the marginal and regional differentials as well as the spread betting markets) you will see that by far the most likely scenario is the Conservatives as the largest party but not able to make a majority even with Unionists.

    So it is Labour and Lib Dens who will be speaking over the coming days.

    So I should not worry whether Cameron likes Clegg or not because it may well be utterly irrelevant


  30. I would like to thank the people who ahve taken time to post on this site in teh run up to the election. I have found it the most welcoming and least partisan of domains that I have ever come accross. Most of all, by listening to those of all sides I have learned tremously on what matters to voters from different persuasions. I found that voters from all parties have genuine concerns which no on eparty has the answer to. Even if I had previously not understood or shared those concerns, such as Pensions for example, i do now. I can honestly say that my own ideology has been shaped by posters from the various parties. I understand and empathise with their views much better than I did before I posted on this site. And that for me is the greatest advantage of a site like this. By forcing us to be nice to each other and lsiten to differing view points it helpds us understand each other better. If they had forced the various sides in the Northern Irish political divide to do something similar then we may have had a quicker resolution to our difficulties. I intend to continue posting on the site but I realsie that some may, now that the election is all but over, move on. And it is for those that this message is intended. Thank you kindly for you r thoughtful posts, your intelligent observations but above all else, your good humour.

  31. @ Rob Sheffield.

    Ise not clinging to anything Rob. I actually think, increasingly, that CamCon could be even further ahead but you’re right in one respect and I don’t want to go there really!

    Just because my allegiance might be to Lab, I’m no ostrich and would rather ‘acclimatise’ to reality in advance. Had too many disappointments in 83, 87 & 92! x

  32. @michaelB

    “Then again nobody likes to lose”

    I still have time to get down the bookies- you clearly know the result already.

    Can you tell me it so I can put a banker on ???

  33. @ Rob Sheffield – you are awful, but I like you!

  34. Here is mine as it got lost in all the different webpages and threads yesterday:

    Con= 35.9% to 36.9% ; 290 to 300 seats
    (plus between 8 and 10 Unionists of various stripes and levels of cooperation)

    Lab= 26.7% to 27.7% ; 233 to 243 seats
    (plus 2 or 3 SDLP MP’s/ though Unionists have also supporetd Labour minority governmnets in the past so cannot be ruled out)

    Lib Dem= 25.8% to 26.8% ; 81 to 91 seats

    = Conservative minority (or if Labour and LD perform at upper end of their respective ranges a Lib-Lab pact i.e. Lib-Lab maximum approx 334 seats)

  35. @ Rob Sheffield – I’d be happier with that outcome but sadly, don’t think it will be.

  36. @ Eoin Clarke

    I second that emotion! This has been a wonderful site to follow during the campaign, with plenty of (generally civilised) debate about policy underlying the polling numbers.

    Thank you Anthony for all your hard work and to all the other posters who have contributed. I only wish I’d had more time to post more often.

    I have to be on a Eurostar train to Brussels at lunchtime tomorrow. I hope the seats are comfy as I have a funny feeling I will have a lot of sleep to catch up on!

  37. If the tories have less than 290 MPs and Libs more than 100 we should be in interesting territory.

  38. Tellers are only of any use if a full cavass of that polling station has been conducted. If not, they are just flying the flag by wearing a rosette in their party’s colours.

  39. I don’t know if anyone posted these yet but late last night electoral calculus and Politicshome updated their predictions:

    CON 36.06% 297
    LAB 27.61% 235
    LIB 26.93% 86

    Conservatives short 29 of majority

    CON 36.9% 307
    LAB 27.6% 229
    LIB 27.2% 82

    Conservatives short 19 of majority

  40. Reports of very high turnouts coming in. What an interesting election.

    Who do you think the high turnout will benefit most? Do you think many are Lib-leaning first time voters, extra voters motivated to keep out the Tories, or what?

  41. Hoping for a balanced Parliament tonight, but fear a (bare) blue majority.

    Have just put £20 stake on blue outright majority at 11/8 at smarkets.

    So either if I’m not pleasantly surprised tonight, I’ll have beer money to drown my sorrows tomorrow :)

  42. I still think the Tories might just scrape it – although they’ll have to win a lot motre Labour seats than currently projected because I don’t fancy their chances in the 20-30 Lib Dem-held target seats, which just three weeks ago had looked like falling

    They might even lose the odd one or two to the Lib Dems

    My head prediction:

    Con 37% (321)
    Lab 29% (210)
    LD 26% (83)

  43. @owain

    “Who do you think the high turnout will benefit most? Do you think many are Lib-leaning first time voters, extra voters motivated to keep out the Tories, or what?”

    All we have is historical precedent on both sides of the Atlantic suggesting the centre/ left party is favoured by a higher turnout over the rightist party.

    But you are right about the younger ‘i want to vote for nick’ brigade having an impact if turnout is as high as reports are suggesting.

    Plus the twin- but opposite impacting- new phenomena of anti labour tactical voting on the one hand and bashful brownites on the other (telling pollsters they are DK’s or voting Con/LD when in fact they vote labour in the polling booth).

    So- I guess after all that I am saying I don’t know what the higher turnout may mean !!

  44. I would venture to say that a high turnout will favour LAbour.

    Blues already turnout in high numbers… some of those southern constituencies ahve Turnouts of 70%. In the north many of the constituencies have turnouts of 50%… I have always thought that fear of blues would get the red vote out….

    If reds could drag themselves to polling booths….

    It will also favour yellows if the youngsters are turning out. I must confess this I do/did not forsee happening

  45. @Owain

    Higher turnout does not benefit any party in particular studies have shown and past history suggest no correlation. If it is new first time voters then it could benefit the lib dems. But I also think there maybe a lot of voters who didn’t vote last time and are fed up with the government and will vote lib dem or tory.

  46. At the risk of going over old ground, should Cameron find himself short of a majority but ahead overall, what is the protocol and process for who gets first stab at forming a government?

    And, as a lurker to this site, can I echo the comments in praise of it and its prime movers. So many “politics” forums (fora?) are full of bile and filth. This one, by and large, and despite its partisan voices, has retained its intelligence, civility and good-nature.

  47. @Eoin

    It depends also where this high turnout is occurring if it is in Labour strongholds it won’t make a difference. But if it is in marginals than yes.

  48. I was thinking along those lines too Rob.

    I suspect as I said last night that the actual election results will be a few points or more from the pollsters numbers because of some confounding factors such as unusual turnout which are difficult to weigh for properly this time.
    As to who such changes will benefit most? Your guess is as good as mine, though I suspect they are less likely to help Blues.

  49. Final, final poll out:

    “The Ipsos MORI survey puts the Conservatives at 36%, Labour at 29% and the Liberal Democrats at 27%.

    According to Sky News’ ready reckoner that would give the Tories the most seats – 279 – but no overall majority.”

  50. @Ben

    “Higher turnout does not benefit any party in particular studies have shown”

    A 5 second search gets this quote from the Economist 28/10/2008

    “Higher turnout often helps Democrats, for any number of reasons”

    I also found this paper (May 2010)

    h ttp://

    that contains the following quote “That is, while higher turnout benefits Democrats on average, the magnitude of those benefits is conditioned by the composition of the electorate being brought to the polls. ”

    On balance it agrees with the dictums though with situational caveats (namely the bringing of peripheral voters to the polling booth as well as core voters).

    I am now going to look for the studies that you claim exist that contradict this longstanding dictum of western politics.

    Or you could stick up the links instead.

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