It’s a truism that there isn’t one election on May 7th, there are 650. However, the brutal reality is that lots of them will behave much the same in terms of swing, and that in lots of them the outcome is a virtual certainty and they won’t matter. A good 450 or so seats we can be pretty confident won’t change hands this Thursday unless the polls are very wrong. We can actually boil down the election to four battlegrounds. Here’s where they are and what we know about them from the polling so far.

Conservative vs Labour battleground

Conchart2

The main battleground in determining which party will lead the government is that between Labour and Conservative. It’s also by far the largest – it’s true to say that the political geography of Britain has become ever more diverse since the days when almost every race was just Lab-v-Con, but the biggest single chunk of winnable marginals is still just that.

It’s also the battleground where good old uniform national swing remains a fairly good guide. It won’t predict individual seats – there will always be some seats with much bigger swings, some with more smaller ones – but in aggregate it should give a good picture. Overall current polls show a swing of about 3% or 3.5% from Conservative to Labour. In the Con-Lab battleground that should win Labour roughly forty seats.

However, there are two important caveats to this. The first is that almost all the Con-Lab battleground is in England & Wales, and GB polls are distorted by the completely different swing in Scotland. Labour’s vote is up by around 5 or 6 points in England & Wales, down by about 15 to 20 points in Scotland. If you look at the data in just England & Wales you find a Con>Lab swing nearer 5 points, which would win Labour around sixty seats.

The second is whether the swing in the marginal seats is the same as the swing in England and Wales as a whole. Looking at the historical data there is good reason to expect it won’t be. The vast majority of the Con-Lab battleground seats are being fought by first time Conservative incumbents who won the seat in 2010, this means they will be gaining an incumbent advantage they didn’t have last time, while in many cases Labour will be losing an incumbent advantage they enjoyed in 2010. Looking at data from past elections this impact is pretty consistent even if it is worth only a couple of percentage points (it’s worth far more for the Lib Dems). There is some evidence to support this – the recent ComRes poll of Con-Lab marginals found a swing of 3.5%. Looking at the broad sweep of Lord Ashcroft’s polls in these seats and adjusting the older Ashcroft polls to account for changes in the national polls since they were done the average swing comes out around 3.8%.

In practice this means the swing in the Con-Lab marginals may well be similar to that in the national polls, but only because Labour’s over-performance in England & Wales is cancelled out by Conservative over-performance in Con-Lab marginals. That means Labour gains from the Tories of around 40 seats, if the national polls are neck-and-neck (if the Conservatives are a point or two better, the gains will obviously be less)

Of course there will be variation between seats, so not all Con-Lab marginals with majorities below 7% will fall, there have been some constituency polls suggesting good chances of Conservative holds in marginals like Loughborough, Worcester or Kingswood. Equally though there will be some seats with larger majorities that do fall – London constituency polls in particularly have shown larger swings, so watch for places like Ealing Central & Acton or Finchley & Golders Green.

The SNP Landslide

SNPchart

The second biggest focus on election night will probably be the Scottish seats. What the story will be in Scotland is not in dispute, it will be a SNP landslide. The question is only the scale of that landslide. All the polling evidence gives the SNP a very large lead, varying between 20 and 35 points. The questions are where it ends up in that range, how accurate it is and how it translates into seats.

To deal with the overall polls first, I can well imagine that some polls in Scotland will overestimate SNP support. There have been huge shifts in party support since previous elections (and probably significant changes in the drivers of voting intention in Scotland) making it hard to model and weight Scottish samples. Equally SNP support is extremely enthusiastic – I can well imagine differential response rates becoming a problem. That said, polling error in Scotland probably won’t cause much of an upset because of the sheer size of the SNP lead – to put it bluntly, if polls give a party a 5 point lead and it turns out its actually a draw then it makes a huge difference. If polls give a party a 25 point lead and it turns out that lead is actually only 20 points it is not, in practice, such a big deal, even if the scale of the error is the same. The difference will only be between “vast landslide” and “huge landslide”. I cannot see the polls being so wrong that the SNP don’t get a crushing victory.

So how will the SNP landslide in votes translate into seats? Well, with a swing of this scale Uniform National Swing really does break down completely. UNS assumes parties shares of the vote go up and down by the same amount in each seat, but Labour cannot lose 20 percentage points in every seat in Scotland, it would give them a negative share of the vote in nine seats. The same applies to the Liberal Democrats. As a result of this floor effect, Labour and the Liberal Democrats must be losing more support in seats where they had more to begin with – their vote has fallen too much to be evenly spread across all of Scotland. This means that Labour and the Lib Dems could lose even more seats than suggested by uniform swing (and means even if the national share of the vote for the SNP isn’t as good as polls suggest, they could still get the sort of landslide in seats that the polls suggest).

The scale of the SNP surge is such that very few seats have any realistic chance of withstanding it. The most plausible ones are the very largest Labour majorities, the Glasgow North East, Kirkcaldys of the world, Jim Murphy in Renfrewshire East, the Lib Dem stronghold of Orkney & Shetland and perhaps the border seats (if the SNP don’t take Berwickshire, it is also a marginal between the Lib Dems and Conservatives).

Liberal Democrat Defence

LDchart

Given the Conservative party’s most viable coalition partner is the Liberal Democrats how many seats change hands between the two parties doesn’t make much difference to the electoral maths after the election. It is still obviously important for negotiations, party morale, the psychologically and politically important issue of who is the biggest party (and, of course, for who is the MP in those seats!). Liberal Democrat battles against Labour are far more important in terms of the hung Parliament maths.

The Liberal Democrats’ ability to win and hold seats has a famously limited relationship with their national vote share. In 1992 they got 18% of the vote and won 20 seats, in 1997 their vote went down to 17% but they more than doubled their number of seats to 46. In 2010 they gained votes, but lost 5 seats. How many seats they win has always been largely reliant upon their ability to harness tactical and personal votes in their areas of strength. That said, it’s not realistic to expect a party to lose half their national support and emerge unscathed. While I’ve seen a few claims for potential Lib Dem gains that aren’t completely ludicrous (Watford or Maidstone & the Weald, for example), generally speaking the Liberal Democrat election aim is to limit their inevitable losses as much as they can. This depends upon the demographics and political opponents in their seats, and the incumbency and entrenchment of their individual MPs.

In England and Wales the Liberal Democrats have 46 seats. In eleven Labour are the second placed party, in thirty-four the Conservatives are second placed (though in at least two of them, Sheffield Hallam and Cambridge, Labour are probably the bigger threat) and in Ceredigion Plaid Cymru are second placed. In the vast majority of the seats we have individual polls from Lord Ashcroft to give us an idea of how the race is looking. There are two extremely obvious trends – one is that the Liberal Democrats are collapsing where their main challenger is Labour, but holding up well where the main challenger is the Conservatives. The second is the sheer variation between seats, even within the LD-Con battleground and the LD-Lab battleground.

Ashcroft has polled all the LD/Con marginals that might feasibly change hands. The average swing in these seats was just over 2 points from LD>Con, enough to take about seven seats. However the swings ranged from ten percent LD>CON in Chippenham, to swings of seven percent from CON>LD in Eastbourne and Sutton & Cheam, and in practice this meant ten of the constituency polls had the Conservatives ahead – but these are just snapshot polls with margins of error, so many of these seats are in play. Note also, that many of the polls were last year and the Liberal Democrats have recovered slightly since then.

Looking at the LD-Lab battleground the average swing was a crushing 12 points from LD>Lab, meaning many of these seats are almost nailed on certainties for Labour. The exceptions are Birmingham Yardley, where John Hemming polled surprisingly well, Bermondsey where Simon Hughes was protected by a huge majority, Cambridge and Sheffield Hallam where Labour are coming from third and I expect the Lib Dems will benefit from tactical voting (Ashcroft showed Clegg behind in Hallam, but more recent ICM polling has him ahead). Hornsey and Wood Green is also interesting – the Lib Dem own polling has them doing better there and both the Lib Dems and Labour seem to be targetting it heavily, so it may be much more of a toss up than Ashcroft suggested.

UKIP Targets

UKIPchart

There is no easy way to come up with a list of UKIP targets – demographics, local and European election results can give us a steer, so can some of UKIP’s published statements about which seats they are targeting. Realistically though when a party has more than tripled their vote it is hard to accurately judge where their positions of strength and weakness are. The seats below are my best guesses of their most plausible gains (there are other seats where they have strength like Waveney, Great Yarmouth or Redcar that are in the Con-Lab battleground list… but I don’t think they stand much chance of actually winning any others, and constituency polling in some of those seats has shown them on the wane. As to how they will do in these seats – I don’t think any are necessarily easy to call. Everyone assumes Douglas Carswell will hold Clacton given his margin of victory in the by-election, Mark Reckless in Rochester looks more vulnerable. Thurrock looks too close to call, as does Thanet South with its contradictory polling. Great Grimsby was a plausible UKIP gain, but recent polling has Labour with a healthy lead. Polling commissioned by UKIP donor Alan Bown gave them a stonking lead in Boston & Skegness last year, but this year an Ashcroft poll found the Tories ahead. My own guess is that Clacton will probably be a hold, and they have a chance in these other seats… but they won’t strike home in all of them.

And the rest

That leaves a few other interesting seats that don’t fit into any of the main battleground categories, but could change hands. Two are the seats held by smaller parties – I expect the Greens to hold on in Brighton Pavilion (but not gain anywhere else), how George Galloway will do in Bradford West is anyone’s guess. Watford appears to be the only Con-Lab-LD three way marginal that is still a three way marginal for the three parties – it could go either of the three ways.

And so, a prediction

I generally hold to the pollsters’ maxim of snapshot not prediction, so I avoid predictions like the plague for most of the Parliament as the polls may yet change. In 2010 I waited until after the final polls were done before getting off the fence, but it gave me very little time to actually write anything, so this year I’ve done it up front. Obviously if Wednesday’s final polls do show the Conservatives eeking out a small lead I’ll reconsider and make my prediction more Conservative – when the facts change, I changed my mind. As it is though, my personal best guess is Conservatives around 277 seats, Labour around 267, the Lib Dems around 29 and the SNP around 52. I’ll revisit those once we have the final polls.


742 Responses to “The election battlegrounds… and a prediction”

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  1. So, Lib Dems using ‘secret technology’ to enable them to target specific issues on Facebook in the last few days.

    In the meantime it seems the Conservatives are estimated to have spent about a million on Facebook ads this campaign. In addition they are advertising heavily on YOUTUBE. Effective? People tend to click off the ads on YOUTUBE as soon as allowed surely. Facebook ads? I don’t know.

    I can see now why Ed Milliband may have gone for the Brand interview…. free publicity on both channels.

  2. CATOSWYN

    “Lib Dems using ‘secret technology’ to enable them to target specific issues on Facebook in the last few days.”

    It’s not especially secret. If you’re on FB, you can go to the “create an ad” drop-down and try it yourself.

    The ad system gives you access to very precise demographic profiles (age, location, employment, family circumstances, a decent guess at income) and the ad targetting tool can do semantic analysis of your ad to suggest groups based upon FB’s own (private) clickthrough/like/comment metrics.

    The people I know who use them for marketing say that they’re most useful for engaging with those who are already engaged to some degree. Perhaps that’s where the ‘secret’ part comes in: the LDs may be creating ads that are directed at 1000 people in a particular constituency and nobody else (including the press) will see them unless one of those people screencaps the ad when it appears.

  3. @CATOSWYN and RIVERS10

    The expectation on the ground in Pavillion is that Caroline Lucas will be successful.

    @ AW Many thanks for sharing your expertise and time.

  4. HOLGATE

    I know. I was just quoting their own words about the ‘secret technology’. To be exact:

    ‘we’re unveilling Manatee today, our super secret online tool that is helping us target Facebook ads to key voters in our target seats.’

    Apparently they say:

    ‘For the last few months we’ve been developing technology that no other political party has…’

    It may all be very useful and, as you say, seems to be designed to reach people in a targeted manner. An alternative to the Conservative’s ‘blanket coverage’ approach due, in part, I assume to budgetary issues. It was just the announcement itself that amused me a little as it did seem quite ‘secret service’.

  5. Anthony

    Unpredictable things may happen in the polling booths but nobody has, or could have, better explained and summarised than you the countless polls during the last few months.

    Thank you for a great post and a great site.

  6. prediction

    no clue really. gut feeling that a chunk of the Lab vote in a lot of places will be voting how they would have done in 2010 (if they weren’t slow) so Con will do better than expected except in the re-slummed cities where Lab will be increasingly solid and parts of the SE and east coast where Ukip will do better than expected.

  7. Seems like nearly every pollster will publish today so here is what to expect allowing for their methodology and current overall average. Deviations from these are what to me constitute a “good” or “bad” poll for someone.

    Con 34 Lab 31 LD 10 UK 13 Gn 6 Oth 7 Ashcroft
    Con 33 Lab 35 LD 8 UK 15 Gn 3 Oth 5 ComResI
    Con 35 Lab 33 LD 8 UK 11 Gn 6 Oth 6 ComResT
    Con 35 Lab 32 LD 10 UK 10 Gn 6 Oth 7 ICM
    Con 34 Lab 35 LD 8 UK 10 Gn 7 Oth 7 Ipsos MORI
    Con 35 Lab 34 LD 8 UK 13 Gn 6 Oth 5 Opinium
    Con 33 Lab 34 LD 7 UK 16 Gn 5 Oth 6 Panelbase
    Con 33 Lab 34 LD 9 UK 14 Gn 5 Oth 5 Populus
    Con 32 Lab 33 LD 9 UK 17 Gn 3 Oth 6 Survation
    Con 33 Lab 33 LD 8 UK 15 Gn 4 Oth 6 TNS
    Con 34 Lab 35 LD 8 UK 13 Gn 5 Oth 5 YouGov

    Con 34 Lab 33 LD 8 UK 13 Gn 5 Oth 6 Average

  8. @CATOSWYN

    FUNTYPIPPIN
    “When is the deadline for submitting an estimate for your spreadsheet?”

    “In order for me to get it into the spreadsheet I was thinking tomorrow the 6th May at 10pm.

    Does that suit everyone?”

    ——————

    Well not feeling v. confident about this prediction thing, I was kinda hopin’ that the deadline might be after the election, rather than just before to be honest. Surely an extra day or two wouldn’t hurt?…

  9. CARFREW

    Nice try :)

  10. I’d also like to be able to predict a range.

    Eg Cons 240 – 340
    Lab 240 – 340
    etc.

    I mean, if it’s good enough for AW, and some of those election forecasters, though I like the idea of doing it properly like in the models and hedging further by adding probabilities. Eg 50% chance of Cons 240 – 340 etc.

    Allow me to join others in thanking AW for the site, BTW.
    (Even if Rich thinks most of us are biased…)

  11. I think the election date being set five years ago may have reduced the incumbency bonus &/or late swing.

    In the past, getting to pick the date may have made a difference; at best it may have allowed governments to choose a favourable set of circumstances; at least it may have made the incumbent government seem more in control because it was asking for another term rather than having the electorate telling the government that its time was up.

  12. CARFREW

    Lovely idea and you’re welcome to predict anything. However for the fun guesstimate I can only put into my spreadsheet a prediction of a set number of seats for each party I’m afraid… otherwise I might actually go crazy!!!!

    :)

  13. Oh and thumbs up to Spearmint for the churn analyses. They will be especially useful for my post-election predictions, what with everyone else cheating by doing them early…

  14. @Catoswyn

    That’s OK, I think it’s good of you to cut the others some slack and not demand they do it properly like the professional forecasters with their ranges and confidence intervals and stuff.

    I mean, they don’t even have to predict individual seat outcomes!! My prediction in a couple of days could include those two if you’d like…

  15. Too

  16. As a Labour supporter my feeling is that it is UKIP that will have the surprise late swing…this is.based only on my ‘shy UKIPPERS’ high count.

  17. Tom Chadwick

    Who do you think a UKIP ‘surge’ would hurt the most Tom?

  18. I think the Lib Dems will get 25 seats myself-1 in Wales, 1 in Scotland, and 23 in the UK.

  19. Article over at the Been on the Psychology of voting.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32537661

    “Dr Peter Bull from York University says many theories are losing relevance.
    “The prime thing now is the perceived competence and perceived responsiveness of the politician,” he says.

    “You shouldn’t underestimate looks, either. It’s not about physical attractiveness, it’s more about how they look under pressure. There’s a crude rule of thumb operating. Voters have a gut reaction to politicians.”

    “Now a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords, Lord McNally said: “I remember when I started working with Harold Wilson, we had the revolutionary idea of making sure his suit didn’t look crumpled.

    “Politicians mainly just turned up and made their speeches in those days.”
    Lord McNally says politicians are responding to new ideas about voting behaviour.

    “A lot more thought goes into the psychology of a campaign, partly because we know a lot more about what makes voters respond.”

    “An experiment in the US monitoring the brain activity sparked by politicians found that Republicans tended to evoke emotion much more than Democrats.

    Dr Rosema says: “If you evoke fear in people about something they will start to pay closer attention to it.

    “So for example, if people start to get worried about the SNP, they will seek information about them. Good politicians know these things by instinct.”
    If British politicians did decide to consult Dr Capelos, she would offer this advice: “Ensure that you make the safe choice. Cater for the average voter. Don’t invite a lot of surprises. Safety and comfort is always where human beings try to be.”

    “For a politician struggling to come across well, the good news is that initial impressions can be shifted.

    The bad news is that negative information tends to stick in voters’ minds more than positive information.

    That’s because, Dr Capelos says, we’re psychologically hardwired to look out for potential threats.

    There’s an added complication for politicians to contend with. According to Dr Capelos’s research, a lot depends on the type of voter we’re talking about.
    The people who know a lot about politics – a group she calls sophisticates – will take facts and policies into account. The might even read the manifestos. People who are less engaged will form a view based on feelings and general impressions.

    So the message seems to be that political parties need to sharpen up their policies for the Today programme and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, but for everyone else it’s about projecting a competent – yet warm – personality. That’s a tough call for an election strategist.”

  20. @Neil A

    “Clearly a Labour minority government, relying on pretty much everybody except the Tories and the Unionists to govern, I’d say.
    For me the only question really left to be answered is whether Miliband can get to a point where he can rule without SNP support, whether he can get to a point where he can rule with SNP support but without the LDs, or whether he’s reliant on both (which would be pretty tough).
    Labour majority or Conservative minority governments are fringe possibilities. Both would be major upsets.”

    Really? I feel like Cameron will get back in and the Tories have a strong chance at the majority because of gains at the expense of the Lib Dems (who will no longer be able to rely on tactical voting by Labour voters). Incumbency factor helps in a lot of the marginal constituencies (I keep wanting to say “swing district” but I’m refraining). At the very least, I feel they will have more seats than Labour due to the party’s impending implosion in Scotland. So even if there are decent swings that lead to Labour gains in marginal constituencies, the effect is negligible. Let’s say Labour gains 30 seats but they lose all but 10 (and I think 10 is optimistic right?), in Scotland. That leaves them at the same number of seats as in the last election. Tories lose 30 to Labour but maybe gain 15 from the Lib Dems. So, I don’t see a conservative minority as an upset. I think, given the polls, and given the Scottish situation, a Labour majority would be an upset.

    Of course, this analysis leaves out UKIP and the damage they could cause. I think though that polling evidence suggested they were taking almost as much from Labour as they were taking from the Tories.

  21. Here’s a question I have.

    I think it’s a fairly safe bet that Lib Dems will suffer defections in certain seats from Labour voters who have voted for the Lib Dems tactically. This could actually lead to the Tories gaining some seats.

    There are, however, a number of Labour and Tory marginals where presumably, Lib Dem voters have voted tactically to keep out the Tories. Is this still a possibility? It seems like the Lib Dems and the Tories still don’t like each other very much and that their voters harbor these feelings even more intensely (even the voters who still are loyal to the Lib Dems). But is this the case? Makes me wonder about certain marginal constituencies that Labour held onto in 2010 (Birmingham Edgbaston, Westminster North, a couple of others).

  22. Anthony – thanks for a superb post and also for the site.

    I live in one of the 40 seat marginals and I’m predicting a CON hold.Looking at other sources I don’t think LAB will take 40 seats from the Tories -more 25-30.

  23. Excellent post Anthony, very clear and informative.
    Final day of campaigning dawns, still no sign of movement in the polls. We have a feast of them to look forward today but suspect the large majority of people have made up their mind (never really bought into the idea of these huge numbers of people deciding when they get into the polling booths) and cannot see it changing much.

  24. Tangentially, the pollsters in Alberta look like they nailed the vote share. The remarkable thing about that election is until the very end, voters still didn’t believe in the outcome that their collective VI indicated.

  25. I notice that you do not list any seats that the Conservatives may be targeting from Labour – are they not bothering this year or is it a revealing oversight on your part ?

  26. I see the outgoing Premier of Alberta not only resigned the (provincial) party leadership, he has also resigned the seat he had just retained!

    I really hope that doesn’t start a trend.

  27. Thanks to AW and to you all for a fascinating look into UK elections. UKPR has just the right level of thoughtful analysis. As an outsider you have taught me three things. First, you can bend FPTP far further than I would have thought without finally breaking it Second, my County Down relatives were not exaggerating when they said the rest of the country has little time for them. And finally, there is one heck of a generation gap in UK politics at the moment, far more than in the US.

    Along the lines of the third point, I thought you might enjoy this chuckle. As I understand it, the young women who wrote and stars in the clip is actually the daughter of a Tory Councillor in Lancaster.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24OZjsUyMuU&feature=youtu.be

    See you all again in 5 years (or perhaps 5 months if neither DC or EM can put Humpty Dumpty together)

  28. @ Phil Haines

    >@AW

    >Where’s Wolvo?

    [>In the Blk Cntry ;) – AW]

    Wolvo SW is where I am. Sadly, the local sentiments are rather touchy about whether it is in the Black Country. Indeed, some in neighbouring Dudley and Walsall would argue it is not. Since all three are in an economic blackhole, you’d think they’d band together to dig themselves out – it seems old rivalries die slowly.

    Being in this ultramarginal has just earned me a personalised letterheaded missive from DC himself, the letterhead says “David Cameron Prime Minister”. Should I frame it and put it over the mantelpiece, at least until I receive the letter from HM in 43 years time?

  29. AW

    Thank you for what I think is your best post I’ve ever read.

    All the months since May 2010 have brought us to this point, It’s mostly all done and all the parties hang onto the combined decision of millions of individuals tomorrow.

    It’s also been said, but this is a great place. People bring a range of perspectives to this site, I hope we all see the wisdom of seeing something from another point of view.

    Thank you everyone!

  30. YouGov weighted average update –
    Con 33.8 (N/C), Lab 33.6 (-0.1), UKIP 12.4 (N/C), Green 5 (+0.1), Lib 8.8 (N/C)

    And now my prediction – I have to warn you all, it’s a bit Labour-y. This isn’t based upon my hopes, but it’s working under the assumption that there is no swingback to the Tories on election day (because the only swingback to the Tories has been to eliminate the Labour lead, making it purely neck and neck).

    Con 274
    Lab 288
    Lib 16
    UKIP 0
    Green 1
    SNP 50
    Plaid 3

    And now to add the swingback to the Tories –
    Con 282
    Lab 282
    Lib 14
    UKIP 0
    Green 1
    SNP 50
    Plaid 3

    LD figure is *probably* too low, because it makes no real allowance for tactical voting.
    Unfortunately, tactical voting for the LDs in the past was 2:1 Keep out the Tories to Keep out Labour (at about 10% and 5% of the LD vote), so I have no idea which way the tactical voting will actually swing in this election.
    So in all fairness, you could probably knock a few off the Labour or Conservative counts and add them to the LDs, to whatever your preference is.

    I’m all pretty much using universal swing, which messes everything up even more – I haven’t bothered going in to detailed modelling like other people. And I also haven’t bothered checking against Lord Ashcroft’s constituency polling, which also makes it unlikely.

    So all in all, my forecast is probably way off. Especially as I have Labour out in front and all of the people with brains have the Conservatives out in front.

    My gut feeling is something closer to Con getting 300-ish and Labour doing much worse – but gut feelings are a load of nonsense.

  31. Feeling happier about my prediction now all my numbers are within about 5 o Anthony :-)

  32. ” I think though that polling evidence suggested they were taking almost as much from Labour as they were taking from the Tories.”

    From the BES data:
    “If we look at UKIP supporters in Labour seats we see that only 20 per cent voted Labour in 2010, whereas 44 per cent were Conservatives,”
    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/generalelection/working-class-votes-and-conservative-losses-solving-the-ukip-puzzle/

    IIRC it’s about 10% of Lab 2010 voters nationally, not just in Labour seats, but I can’t seem to find the data.

  33. “IIRC it’s about 10% of Lab 2010 voters nationally, not just in Labour seats, but I can’t seem to find the data.”
    Should read “10% of UKIP voters were 2010 Lab voters”, not implying that 10% of Lab voters have gone to UKIP.

  34. Election forecast still predicting a 2.1% lead for the Tories over Labour and 11.9% share for Lib Dems. Anyone else think these two look a little too high based on current polling.

    The 2.1% lead is presumably assuming around a 1% lead now and some swingback but we haven’t seen the LD’s close to 12%. They’ve edged up to maybe 10% but 12% seems a stretch to me.

  35. @Anthony
    Thank you so much for a detailed and summary. This site is head and shoulders above the rest. And thanks for indulging our occasional stretching of the comments policy :)

    @Spearmint
    Thank you also for the churn report yesterday, and the eminently readable and amusing commentary

    @Rivers10
    In @Catoswyn’s seats prediction I did doubt the Green would automatically hold Brighton Pavilion. I also thought Respect may well lose in Bradford

  36. I ignore forecasts now – basically the polls are my guide principally YouGov. Forecasts, have been proved wrong on when and to the degree swingback would occur and merely overlay someone’s belief further movement will happen in the polling booth which isn’t really based on evidence.

  37. I know it gets swamped by what is going to happen at Westminster but there are plenty of fscinating local election contests going on too. If nothing, there is likely to be a doubling of the turnout (as compared to 2014) which will have a big influence. There are also, from my experience, far busier ballot papers.

    Whilst I am looking for a good result in my Parliamentary campaign, I am looking for some successes locally too. And, it must be remembered that a significant chunk of political activism comes from councillors and council candidates.

    It is going to be interesting.

  38. Can anyone explain why latest you gov is 34-34 with labour clearly ahead on weighted sample and turnout looks very similar.

  39. From Andrew’s figuresI just cannot see how the Tories can possibly believe they can govern. They simply won’t have a majority in the HoC. Labour may stay at arm’s length from the SNP but can hardly refuse to submit a Queen’s Speech if the Tories can’t get the support.

  40. Thank you Anthony for an excellent and informative post, and especially for organising and monitoring this superb site. It has allowed me to impress large numbers in my local with my intimate knowledge of polling and constitutional matters.
    I have been able to explain ‘crossbreaks’ to numerous fellow drinkers, despite not understanding any part of it myself.
    Particular thanks to all the outstanding individuals who post on a regular basis ( you know who you are ) and for the excellent humour.

    As for the outcome, it looks messy and hard to predict, but I can assure everyone that the British constitution is robust and healthy and a way will be found to form a government.

    I think the FTPA will be dispensed with/revised in short order, and my best estimate of the outcome is a Lab/SNP ‘memorandum of understanding’ with agreement that an election will follow, perhaps as early as October.

    Cameron and Clegg to resign, to be replaced by May and Farron.

    The LibDems will tacitly support the ‘memorandum’.

    Now then, Catoswyn, is this not the moment to collect predictions for the October election? Mine are as follows:…

  41. @Fewmet

    Small world. In which case, there is a 1 in 7 chance that you can vote for me in the local government elections.

    [PS. Although you won’t find “Phil Haines” on the ballot paper]

  42. Also, if anybody’s interested, my forecast is based on GB of:
    Con 33.9, Lab 33.7, UKIP 12.4, Green 5, Lib 8.8
    With an adjustment for Scots seats.

    That’s working under the assumption that the final YouGov poll tomorrow morning is:
    Con 35, Lab 34, UKIP 12, Green 5, Lib 9

  43. My predictions –

    Im a long term swingback sceptic. I think there may be some shy tories, but i also think that shy UKIPers are more likely. Also I think that there are shy labour voters in scotland.
    Ive based my prediciton on the yougov nowcast with a few tweaks – (i.e. i thinks galloway will lose in bradford east and the lib dems will do worse agasint labour and better against the tories).
    Another factor is the possible impact of the superior labour ground campaign.

    Lab – 285
    Tory – 270
    SNP – 48
    LD – 22
    Other – 18
    Plaid – 3
    UKIP – 3
    Green – 1

  44. If Tomorrow/Tonights’ YouGov is 34/34, then that makes the weighted average *exactly* Con 33.7, Lab 33.7.
    So *exactly* neck and neck, if Con/Lab are neck and neck tonight.
    I’m really hoping that isn’t what the polling shows, otherwise I may have to eat my fingers.

  45. Now that October prediction idea was tongue in cheek, but here are my two forecasts:

    May 2015:

    Con 286
    Lab 262
    SNP 55
    LD 21
    DUP 8
    PC 4
    SDLP 3
    UKIP 2
    Greens 1
    Others 8

    Oct 2015:

    Con 275
    Lab 294
    SNP 34
    LD 23
    DUP 6
    PC 4
    SDLP 3
    UKIP 1
    Green 0
    Others 10

  46. @ Catsowyn

    This is my prediction by nation, asuming I can give you a range and not just an exact number:

    Scotland – tentative:

    SNP 48-49
    Labour 10
    LD 0-1

    Wales – firm:

    Labour 28-29
    Conservative 8
    Plaid Cymru 2-4
    LD 0-1

    Northern Ireland – firm

    DUP 8
    Sinn Fein 4
    SDLP 3
    UUP 1
    Alliance 1
    Lady Herman 1

    I may change this later after all the polls are in and need to think about England some more:

    UKIP 4-5
    Green 1-2
    Respect 1
    Independent 1

  47. @catoswyn

    Here is my serious prediction basically I’m copying Anthony, I think there’s a chance the snp will do even better than he says but also that labs ground war may win a couple of seats higher in the Tory list.

    Con 276
    Lab 267
    Snp 55
    Lib dem 25
    Plaid 4
    Ukip 1

    These predictions made with the usual left supporting caveat that experience of the 80s and 92 that fear Tories in the low 300 region needing only the libs , but there’s no psephological reason for that just fear!

  48. A STUNNING VICTORY FOR THE LEFT in the general election…….

    ……. in Alberta

    Almost a century of Conservative rule overturned as the NDP sweep to victory with a 31% increase in their share of their vote.

    20% of that 31% increase came in the last five weeks of the campaign.

    In the future, Labour may wish to borrow whoever was running the NDP’s short campaign.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberta_general_election,_2015

  49. I’d also like to thank Anthony for an excellent site and post.

    This site is an indispensable resource for election forecasting, with high-quality resources,posts and comments.

  50. “If British politicians did decide to consult Dr Capelos, she would offer this advice: “Ensure that you make the safe choice. Cater for the average voter. Don’t invite a lot of surprises. Safety and comfort is always where human beings try to be.””

    Hmm. But taking risks tends to be how we as a race develop, grow, prosper – both economically and in our personal development.

    ‘Safe, comfortable’ choices also tend to be uninspiring and unrewarding.

    Maybe our stagnation in the west is something to do with politicians being too scared to frighten voters by taking risks!

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