I’ve seen little in the campaign so far to convince me that the election result is going to be vastly different to the one I predicted earlier this month. I suspect most people made their mind up ages ago about which way to vote. Indeed, people have already been voting by post for over a week. But a fortnight out from polling day I’ve revisited my forecast, as I said I would, and made a few minor changes:
Here’s how that breaks down by party:
Labour’s total of 279 is up 21 on its result in 2010. It includes Corby, which the party won in a by-election in 2012, and Bradford West, which I’m increasingly convinced the party will take back from George Galloway.
The Conservatives’ total of 271 is down 35 on what they got in 2010, and doesn’t include the seat of the Speaker John Bercow. The Lib Dems are down 30. Plaid’s total of three includes one loss to Labour (Arfon) but one gain from the Lib Dems (Ceredigion). Caroline Lucas will hold her seat for the Greens in Brighton Pavilion. In Northern Ireland the DUP will gain Belfast East from the Alliance but otherwise there will be no change.
Ukip’s three seats are Clacton, Rochester & Strood and Thurrock. I maintain (and may do so to the end!) that Nigel Farage will fail to win Thanet South.
I’m now putting the SNP up on 47, which represents an increase of 41 on 2010. I’ve handed them 10 gains from the Liberal Democrats (including Charles Kennedy’s seat of Ross, Skye & Lochaber), one from the Tories and 30 from Labour.
Based on these figures, a Tory-Lib Dem coalition would total only 298: 28 short of the theoretical number needed for an absolute majority in the House of Commons. Add in the DUP and you’d have 307. Labour plus SNP would come to 324; add the SDLP and you’d get 327.
The only combination with a comfortable majority would be some kind of deal between Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP, who between them would have 351.
I’ll do another prediction – my last – on 7 May itself. In the meantime, here’s how I calculated the current totals, which are compared with the 2010 general election result.
Labour’s 51 gains
From the Lib Dems: Norwich South, Bradford East, Brent Central, Burnley, Manchester Withington, Birmingham Yardley, Hornsey & Wood Green, Cardiff Central and Redcar. (total = 9).
From the Tories: Warwickshire North, Hendon, Cardiff North, Sherwood, Stockton South, Lancaster & Fleetwood, Broxtowe, Amber Valley, Wolverhampton South West, Waveney, Carlisle, Morecambe & Lunesdale, Weaver Vale, Lincoln, Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, Stroud, Bedford, Dewsbury, Warrington South, Pudsey, Enfield North, Northampton North, Brentford & Isleworth, Halesowen & Rowley Regis, Nuneaton, Ipswich, Croydon Central, Ealing Central & Acton, Norwich North, Bury North, City of Chester, Keighley, Corby, Cannock Chase, Wirral West, Hove, Brighton Kemptown, Hastings & Rye, Erewash, Stevenage and Finchley & Golders Green (total = 41).
From Plaid Cymru: Arfon.
The Tories’ 10 gains:
From the Lib Dems: Solihull, Dorset Mid & Poole North, Wells, St Austell & Newquay, Somerton & Frome, Chippenham, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Portsmouth South, Devon North and Taunton Deane.
The SNP’s 41 gains:
From the Lib Dems: Gordon, Argyll & Bute, Caithness Sutherland & Easter Ross, West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine, Dunbartonshire East, Inverness Nairn Badenoch & Strathspey, Edinburgh West, Fife North East, Berwickshire Roxburgh & Selkirk and Ross Skye & Lochaber (total = 10).
From Labour: Ochil & South Perthshire, Inverclyde, Dundee West, Falkirk, Aberdeen North, North Ayrshire & Arran, Airdrie & Shotts, Glasgow East, Livingston, Edinburgh East, Midlothian, Linlithgow & East Falkirk, Glasgow South, Glasgow North, Glasgow Central, Glasgow North West, Dunbartonshire West, Kilmarnock & Loudoun, East Kilbride Strathhaven & Lesmahagow, Lanark & Hamilton East, Glasgow South West, Motherwell & Wishaw, Aberdeen South, Stirling, East Lothian, Edinburgh North & Leith, Central Ayrshire, Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock, Cumbernauld Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East and Dumfries & Galloway (total = 30).
From the Conservatives: Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale.
Ukip’s three gains:
From the Conservatives: Clacton, Rochester & Strood and Thurrock.
Plaid Cymru’s one gain:
From the Lib Dems: Ceredigion.