Our view is:
- 65% probability of a Conservative majority
- 35% probability of a hung parliament (Conservatives largest party but with no majority)
- 25% probability of Conservative/DUP revival, Conservative minority, or new elections
- 10% probability of Labour leading a government (SNP and LD needed)
If the election is held today, the Conservative Party will easily win a majority, as it currently has a double-digit lead over Labour.
We place a 35% probability on a hung parliament given how volatile UK politics has been over the past few years:
- In 2017, Labour closed a larger polling gap to be just 2% behind the Conservatives
- The Conservatives came 5th place at the 2019 European elections
The hung parliament scenario will be relevant if the Conservative-Labour margin closes to <5%. The Conservatives can still win a majority when the margin is <5%, but it will become heavily dependent on winning individual constituencies under first-past-the-post.
Starting point and seats needed for a majority?
There are 650 seat in parliament, a majority is 326 seats. However, since Sinn Féin doesn’t take its seats, and subtracting the speaker and 3 deputy speakers, the effective majority is 320 MPs. The Conservatives hold 298 seats in the House of Commons, down from the 317 seats won in 2017 due to defections. Of the 21 Tory rebels, 13 are not standing again, 4 are standing as Conservatives, 2 as Liberal Democrats and 2 as independents.
Labour won 262 seats in 2017 but is now at 244 seats:
- 10 MPs lost due to a mix of sexual assault allegations, the anti-Semitism issue and expenses scandals
- 8 MPs defected to form Change UK. Many are now independents, or in the Lib Dems.
The 10 MPs who left are being replaced by other Labour candidates at the election. The other 8 seats are at risk from Independent/Lib Dem challengers.
Regional polls and constituency polls
Every national poll includes a regional component, but the sample size is usually small. Only YouGov has conducted a poll on each region individually, with a credible sample size. At a regional level, we have listed the top 100 Tory potential gains by region. We have then assigned a weighted score based on the margin the Tories need to gain.
Scotland and London should be ignored since the SNP and Liberal Democrats will prevent most gains from happening in those regions. The key regions for Tory gains are therefore:
- North West (Tory margin over Labour has improved 22% since 2017)
- Yorkshire (+14%)
- West Midlands (+14%)
Those are the regions I would follow as we approach polling day.
We have overlaid undecideds between the two elections. Undecideds are trending on the same path as 2019, in fact, they appear to be lower this time.
This appears normal. Undecideds are often >10% in an election (with those saying they won’t vote also >10%).
Some decide to vote for a party in the final week, while others just don’t vote at all. Turnout in UK elections this century has been <70%, so there must be >30% of poll respondents who don’t turn up at all.
The important take-away is that when Labour rose in the polls in 2017, it did so by winning decided voters (mainly Lib Dems). If they are to rise further this time, it will be a mix of decided and undecided voters.
Labour Leave voters (those who voted Leave in 2016 and Labour in 2016) have the highest share of undecideds at this election. Labour needs to appeal to these voters in the closing days of the campaign. This is difficult since the Conservatives have a much more appealing Brexit policy (Get Brexit Done).