Thursday, 8 June 2017

Polling day predictions

Since I’m never short of opinions, including political, I’m going to put down in writing a few predictions for the 2017 General Election. This is based on a combination of polling, feel and a few other observations. I’ve numbered each actual prediction below for ease of reference in the future (and accountability).

Conservative majority (1)


Very difficult to predict. The last polls from each company show between a 1-12% Conservative lead. I believe there are two factors at play:

·      Momentum-type activists lying to/playing the pollsters. This has all but been confirmed, and I expect more will come out about this in the coming weeks(2). Some polling companies have shown a frankly ridiculous youth turnout expectation – I expect this is from young activists signing up to answer surveys and skewing results.
·      Youth turnout more generally. Corbyn, with his far-left positioning, is a lot more appealing to many young voters (who, incidentally, also don’t remember the troubles). I believe there will be a larger youth turnout.

So I don’t think that the ICM-style approach of assuming the same youth turnout as previously holds this time around(3). But I do think it’s closer to the truth than the 80%+ turnout others are showing. For me, I’m going to stick with somewhere in the middle and predict a 7% national vote win for Tories (e.g. 42% Conservative, 35% Labour)(4).

However – and this is a big point – I expect Corbyn to get votes where they don’t really count(5). As disappointing as May’s campaign has been, it has spoken to the types of people who will win marginal constituencies for her – particularly with the expected collapse of the UKIP vote.

In my view, the best indicator for this is where the battle buses have been going. Corbyn’s stayed in safe Labour territory while May has been turning up in Labour target seats around the 30s. That suggests that their private marginal polling is saying these are winnable seats.

Based largely on that dynamic, I’m going to go with around a 60 seat majority (6) for the Conservatives when all is said and done. I’d expect them to lose a few seats, net, to the Lib Dems (largely based on remain/leave dynamics)(7), but pick up a few in Scotland(8). So the majority of wins will come in blue/red marginals(9).

Having said that, there are a number of factors at play and if anyone claims to actually know what's going to happen, they're lying to you (even if they turn out to be right).


I think Caroline Lucas will cling on to her seat(10), due largely to her name being known/popularity. The greens will haemorrhage votes to Labour, nationwide, but I don’t think that will happen so much in Brighton.

UKIP will do better than their polling suggests (5%) (11). Nowhere near well enough to win a seat, but I’m going to say 7% for them(11a). They are the only party clearly offering an alternative response to the recent terror attacks and they will pick up off-the-radar votes.

Tim Farron will be the only leader to step down (12) – due to disappointing progress from last time’s significant losses. This is a bit bolder, and my hardest prediction to make. But Corbyn will cling on, justified by a decent national vote share (12a), May will be PM (12b), UKIP can’t have another leadership campaign just yet (12c) and the various regional groups won’t see enough change to compel change. The SNP is the only one I’m unsure of there but I don’t understand the dynamics well enough.

All my friends on social media will maintain their dignity(13), and none of them will post despairing messages like ‘Britain – how could you?’(14) or just crying emojis(15). No one will blame Rupert Murdoch’s ‘disgraceful smears’(16), no one will blame older people for overruling the younger generation’s choices(17), and no one will complain about our unfair FPTP electoral system (18).

On second thoughts, I’m not so sure about that last paragraph.

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