Election forecasts

The ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ Tory blocs: how the numbers currently add up

If you take a simple average of all the latest forecasts of the election result*, the Conservative party has an 13-seat lead over Labour. Both the main parties are well short of the 326 needed for an absolute majority in the House of Commons, however:

forecast1

This shouldn’t be a surprise. A hung parliament has been on the cards for at least six months, ever since Labour started losing ground to the SNP last autumn.

What’s only become a factor more recently is the tightness of the race between the Tories and Labour. Neither party looks likely to reach the 326 figure even through some kind of coalition or deal with, respectively, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP. They wouldn’t even reach the notional figure of 323, which is the number for a majority once you deduct Sinn Fein, who don’t take their seats, and the Speaker, who doesn’t vote.

But there’s another way of looking at current forecasts.

With the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens now collectively identifying themselves as an anti-Tory group, it’s possible to line up most of the parties according to whether they are theoretically for or against the Conservatives:

forecast2

For the sake of argument I’ve put the DUP with the Tories, even though they’ve said they would be prepared to negotiate with both the main parties. I’ve also left out Ukip, as there’s no way they’d serve in a coalition with the Lib Dems (and vice versa), though you can argue they’d still be more likely to vote with rather than against the Conservatives.

Yet even when you bunch together Labour, the SNP, the SDLP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, it still doesn’t come to the magic number of 326 – though it does just nose past the 323 needed for a notional majority.

The SNP’s boast of “locking” the Tories out of government starts to look less convincing when you line up the parties this way, at least on the current forecasts.

What would clarify things at a stroke is if the Lib Dems decided to switch sides, as it were, and join the anti-Conservative bloc. But that would need a change of policy right at the top of the party. Assuming there still is someone at the top of the party come 8 May, of course.

*I’m using projections by the Guardian, May2015.com, ElectionForecast.co.uk, Electionsetc.com and Ladbrokes.

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Discussion

7 responses to ‘The ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ Tory blocs: how the numbers currently add up

  1. What would happen, then, if this was the actual result? A second election? I can’t see a coalition ir even a confidence and supply agreement working with so many parties…

  2. Indeed it may be that unless the polls change, a two party coalition or deal would not suffice to give a govt majority. Of course the polls could change or the polls could turn out to be wrong or a large part of the electorate may not make up its mind till polling day as happened in 1992.

    If the forecasts prove to be correct, then just as intriguing is what happens after either Cameron or Miliband forms govt. Would the govt fall within a year despite the Fixed Term Parliament Act or perhaps would it soldier on but not getting legislation passed?

  3. The Lib Dems are, at least a party of the centre-left; moreover if, as he is widely tipped to, Tim Farron takes over after the election, then they will definitely be moving more to the left as a party. Under such circumstances, with perhaps the additional incentive of winning back some of their former voters, mightn’t they be more likely to side with Labour? A Lab/Lib/SNP deal of some kind would produce by far the most stable government.

    • A Lab-Lib Dem deal would almost certainly become easier if the current top rank (Clegg & Alexander) lost their seats and the survivors were naturally left-leaning people like Cable, Davey and Farron.

      • Well Danny Alexander is a goner. Clegg could go either way, but even if he remains in Parliament do you really think that his position as Party Leader would be tenable given the Lib Dems as a whole will probably have lost at least half their seats?

  4. Labour, Lib Dem, SNP, Green, Plaid Cymru etc., etc. may win but how long will this coalition stay together ? How can you please so many different masters ?

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