Instead of ending 2014 by looking forward and attempting another forecast of the general election result, I thought I’d look back and see how my monthly predictions have changed since I began this blog in May.
The clearest trend, and one to which I’ve made repeated reference, is the shrinking number of seats won by the Liberal Democrats. I started off predicting they could win as many as 52. In my most recent prediction, I gave them just 33:
I was very cautious in my first prediction, giving Labour 292 seats and the Tories 280. But after some fluctuations, with Labour going as high as 310 in October, I’ve ended the year awarding both parties nearly the same scores as I did in May, with Labour on 298 and the Tories on 276.
The biggest changes can be found in the two columns on the far right of the table. The SNP is now on the climb and will almost certainly be even higher when I come to do my next prediction. I’ve been more hesitant about any forecasting a similar surge of support of Ukip, however. I remain unconvinced by the party’s ability to mount a challenge that is both broad enough to attract voters from a range of backgrounds yet also focused enough to win seats that aren’t simply ones it has picked up through defecting Tory MPs.
This chart gives a more visual representation of how my predictions have changed each month:
I’ll be making my next prediction on 7 January, when there will be just four months to go until the election.