Election forecasts

Final prediction

Time for my final forecast of the general election result. Since I began this blog exactly one year ago today, I have never put the Tories ahead of Labour in any of my predictions. The same is true now.


Here’s how that breaks down by party:


Labour’s total of 275 is up 17 on its result in 2010. It includes Corby, which the party won in a by-election in 2012, but not Bradford West, which I now think will be retained by George Galloway.

The Conservatives’ total of 273 is down 33 on what they got in 2010, and doesn’t include the seat of the Speaker John Bercow. The Lib Dems are down 29. 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, Thurrock and Thanet South. After spending much of the past year arguing otherwise, I now feel that Nigel Farage will take the latter seat for Ukip.

The SNP is on 47, which represents an increase of 41 on 2010. I’ve handed them 10 gains from the Liberal Democrats, one from the Tories and 30 from Labour.

Based on these figures, a Tory-Lib Dem coalition would total only 301: 25 short of the theoretical number needed for an absolute majority in the House of Commons. Add in the DUP and you’d have 310. Labour plus SNP would come to 322; add the SDLP and you’d get 325.

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 350.

Here’s how I calculated the totals, which are compared with the 2010 general election result.

Labour’s 48 gains

From the Lib Dems: Norwich South, Bradford East, Brent Central, Burnley, Manchester Withington, Bristol West, 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, 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 = 39).

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, Thanet South and Thurrock.


11 responses to ‘Final prediction

  1. Why do all these models seem to ignore the standard incumbent/tory surge? It will happen again and be enough for Cameron: 286 Con + 29 Lib + 8 DUP = 323

  2. Ian, get yourself some well-earned rest this afternoon. You’ll need it if you want to stay up for Nigel.

    Alternative election predictions:

    At least one returning officer will struggle to keep a straight face while reading out the name of the local Monster Raving Loony candidate.

    BBC executives change plans at the last minute and, in a lame attempt at crossover self-promotion, Andrew Neil is forced to spend election night interviewing contestants from The Voice on their political opinions.

    Charles Kennedy, having lost his seat of Ross, Skye and Lochaber, is invited to tomorrow’s episode of Have I Got News For You. He subsequently has a breakdown on set.

    Shots of gathered Conservatives will reveal wild celebrations at every SNP gain from Labour, compete with waving of placards featuring an image of the Scottish Sun’s front page backing Nicola Sturgeon.

    Meanwhile, the evening will be littered with various sightings of wildly over-optimistic Liberal Democrat “Winning Here” signs.

    Russell Brand will revert to being a self-proclaimed non-voter after railing at an “undemocratic, behind-closed-doors” deal that sees the Conservatives sneak back into government with the Liberal Democrats. Then subsequently he will invite David Cameron for an interview on his Youtube channel and instantly become a hardcore Conservative.

    During, Boris Johnson’s victory speech in Uxbridge & Ruislip South, he will make it very clear that Cameron has his full support and he is not in any way trying to overthrow him.

    After a razor-thin victory in Thanet South, Nigel Farage publicly thanks Al Murray for splitting the anti-UKIP vote. Mr Murray responds, “it was just common sense, guv’nor”.

    Following her spectacular unseating of Douglas Alexander in Paisley & Renfrewhire, 20-year-old undergraduate Mhaira Black will begin her victory speech: “Ladies and gentlemen, I will be brief, as I have rather unfortunately become an MP right in the middle of my exams…”

    • And, in Sheffield Hallam, a smiling Nick Clegg reassures followers that he’s sure to prevail in the recount.

  3. I agree your predictions for DUP Belfast E for UKIP Clacton, Thurrock and Thanet S and for Respect Bradford W.
    I agree your 28 LD seats but predict they will also hold BRS instead of SNP gaining it. I agree SNP will gain DCT from Conservatives. I believe SNP will gain all Labour seats in Scotland apart from Coatbridge C&T, Glasgow NE, Kirkcaldy&C, Renfrewshire E and Rutherglen&Ham.

    Hence my prediction is:

    Con incl speaker 278
    Lab. 265
    SNP. 52
    LD. 29
    PC. 3
    UKIP. 3
    Respect. 1
    Green. 1
    Northern Ireland. 18

  4. OK, so that was the BBC and Mori. YouGov exit poll entirely different and much closer to the pre-election polling numbers. Something has gone wrong somewhere.

        • I take the view that polls are just snapshots, not predictions. I really do believe we saw some people change their mind from Labour to Tory on the way to the polling station – possibly scared of a weak minority Labour administration at the beck and call of the SNP.

          In this sense, the polls leading up to the election were not strictly wrong, they just failed to register a change in voting intention that happened after they were published.

  5. I have to admit I was entirely wrong and whereas I have been wrong on general elections in the past – in 1992 I was expecting Con most seats but no overall majority – for GE2015 I am way out as were the polls just as the polls were in 1992.

    I see there is to be an enquiry into polling by British Polling Council and I think individual polling companies will make their own internal investigations as well.

  6. One other thing about this election night – I have never seen so many gracious losers as I did last night.

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