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. @Gattino

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

    total ballpark of yesterdays polls then…

  2. @Blockhead

    “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?”

    Its Brown/ Labour: pure, clear and simple…..

  3. Wild stab in the dark, for laughs:

    Con 31.5 Lab 29.5 LD 30

    Con and Lab to be close in terms of seat share, Con slightly ahead, LDs with around 100 seats, a bit lower.

    I’m rather skeptical of pollster figures and UNS this year, it’s an odd election.

  4. Historically, polls are almost always significantly wrong.

    They were in 1970
    They were in 1974
    They were in 1979
    They were in 1992
    They were in 1997
    They were in 2001

    In 2005, they performed really well. The were out on blue by 1% they were out on red by c.2%

    The gap was 3% they thought the gap was 6%

    In 2010, they think the gap is 7% if they perform just as well as they did in 2005 then the gap may be anywhere fro 4%-10%.

    If they perform as the did in pasy years, that is dreadfully, then the results really culd be anything.

    Do we think 2005 was an easy year to get right? OR do we think Polling comapnies deserve congrats. for updating their methodology?

    Do we think 2010 is an easy year to get right? Do we think Polling companies have applied good methodology?

    Those are the questions, which if answered, give us the clue to the outcome.

  5. The Daily Mail’s online poll on how people voted currently has:

    [snip – A wonderful combination of being both meaningless… and illegal. Superb :) – AW]

  6. Tom Harris, Labour candidate for Glasgow South, has put out an election broadcast. It’s hilarious. You can watch it on the BBC polling day blog.

  7. My final prediction is:
    Tories to gain 99 seats from Labour including the byelection gains at Crewe and Nantwich and Norwich N, to gain Wyre Forest but to lose 5 seats to LDs making net gain of 95.
    Labour to lose 99 seats to Tories, 19 to LDs including the byelection loss at Dunfermline and W Fife, 2 to SNP, 2 to PC and 1 to Green but to gain Bethnal Green & Bow making net loss of 122.
    Hence 309Con 222Lab 87LD 8SNP 4PC 1Ind 1Green 18Northern Ireland

  8. I only posted once and it was obvious my intellectual capacity did not meet the high standards of everyone else. Hence I will not make a prediction but hope everything goes right for the blues.

    Throughout the past eight weeks or so, for me there have been moments of high elation and then almost despair. As I live in something like the 4th most secure Labour seat, my vote will not add to DC ‘s total number of seats but may help him to receive the highest number of votes – and that may be important in itself.

    In some ways it is immaterial to me personally as on Saturday I leave these shores for Nova Scotia for the next six months six months – in these troubled times you have to go where the work is! I do have a sneaky suspicion that, when I come back in October, we may be going through this all over again.

    To everyone who has posted and done so much to improve my political and statistical education I offer my gratitude. I now look at opinion polls in a whole new light and look behind the numbers just a bit differently. There have been one or two “scraps” between posters along the way, but the overwhelming majority of have been tolerant of each others views and it shows our democracy works – and works well.

    To Anthony – this is a world class site and you are to be congratulated at achieving so much and devoting your time to provide a platform for ordinary voters to express an opinion. It should be compulsory viewing for the mainstream political parties as they would learn so much more about the electorate and perhaps influence their thinking. Well I can hope!

    Best wishes to everyone.

  9. @Ben

    ‘Higher turnout does not benefit any party in particular’

    I thought it was cited as one of the decisive factors that helped the Tories hang on in 1992

    Although one wonders what impact a higher turn out in 2001 – quite a significant one I’d suspect

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