Adrian Kavanagh, 29th May 2017
There is little more than a week left now until the general election that is scheduled to be held in the United Kingdom on Thursday 8th June 2017.
What do the latest opinion poll figures suggest in relation to the likely number of seats that each party will win in that contest? The opinion polls across the last few weeks of the campaign have shown Labour gaining significant ground on the Conservatives, albeit not to such an extent that these improved Labour fortunes seem likely to prevent the Conservatives winning another majority in the House of Commons after the June 8th election. Both of the two largest parties, as of now, are well ahead of the support levels that they won at the 2015 General Election, meaning that the smaller parties are at risk of being squeezed out.
As the last general election in the United Kingdom showed, estimating seat levels for the House of Commons elections is a hazardous task to engage in, as the votes to seats ratio will be skewed by geography and spatial differences in terms of support gains/losses for different parties. For instance, Labour’s overall share of the vote increased in 2015, relative to the 2010 General Election, by 1.5%, but the extent of the party’s support/seat losses to the Scottish National Party in Scotland (returning with just 1 of the 41 seats that the party had won there in 2010) meant that most of the 701,147 votes won by Labour in Scotland were effectively wasted votes.
For the purposes of this analysis, I have averaged out the estimated support levels for the five political parties in the United Kingdom (Conservatives, Labour, United Kingdom Independence Party, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party) that are covered in all of these polls. As no consistently accurate poll figures are presented here for the regional parties, or for the very small parties, I have assumed – for the purposes of this model – that support levels for these parties/groupings will remain “as was” relative to the 2015 contest. Averaging out the party support estimates in the most recent YouGov/Times, Kantar, ICM/Guardian, Survation/Mail on Sunday, ORB/Sunday Telegraph, Ipsos-MORI-Evening Standard, Opinium/ opinion polls (as published on the UK Polling Report website) estimates support levels for these five parties to stand as follows: Conservatives 45.6% (up by 8.7% relative to 2015), Labour Party 34.2% (up by 3.8% relative to 2015), United Kingdom Independence Party 4.1% (down by 8.5% relative to 2015), Liberal Democrats 9.0% (up by 0.3% relative to 2015) and Green Party 2.2% (down by 1.6% relative to 2015).
I have separately factored in the results of the latest Scottish regional opinion poll (the YouGov/Sunday Times poll of 19 May) into the support/seat estimate figures for the 59 Scottish constituencies. This poll estimated support levels for the five aforementioned parties and the Scottish National Party as follows: Scottish National Party 42% (down by 8.0% relative to 2015), Conservatives 29% (up by 14.1% relative to 2015), Labour 19% (down by 5.3% relative to 2015), United Kingdom Independence Party 1% (down by 0.6% relative to 2015), Liberal Democrats 6% (down by 1.5% relative to 2015) and Green Party 2% (up by 0.7% relative to 2015).
Using the same constituency-level analysis model that I employ to study the likely impact of Irish opinion poll figures on Dail-seat estimates, I estimate the following number of seats would be won by these parties – and other parties in England, Scotland and Wales – in June 2017, should the latest opinion poll figures be replicated exactly at the general election contest (As noted below, I also apply the figures in the most recent Scottish regional poll to generate separate support/seat estimates for the 59 Scottish constituencies): Conservatives 360 (up by 30 seats relative to 2015), Labour Party 218 (down by 14 relative to 2015), Scottish National Party 44 (down by 12 relative to 2015), Liberal Democrats 6 (down by 2 relative to 2015), Plaid Cymru 3 (NC relative to 2015), Green Party 0 (down by relative to 2015) and United Kingdom Independence Party 0 (down by 1 relative to 2015). Continue reading