20 Days to Go: Seat Prediction Post #1

by George_East on April 17, 2015

SwingometerWell, that is the last of the debates done and we are into the back straight of this, so far, pretty uninspiring election campaign.  One or two apparent outliers aside, the polls appear to have moved hardly at all from where they were at the beginning of the year, which may mean that nobody is paying attention (who can blame them?) or may mean that the electorate views’ are now baked in, or it may mean that the polls are (1992-like) completely wrong.

One thing that has been made even clearer though is that the Lib Dems strongly favour continuation of the current coalition.   David Laws refused to describe the madness of David Cameron’s UKIP placating plans to have a referendum on membership of the EU in 2017 as ‘not a red line’ even though that would if David Cameron remained Prime Minster condemn the country to at least two years of talking about little else with all of the business uncertainty that will come with that (and that isn’t even beginning to contemplate the consequences of a vote to withdraw).  Tony Blair nailed the dangers of the referendum a couple of weeks back in perhaps the single most interesting intervention in the election so far (whatever you think of him once again showing he is a cut above the quality of any politician around at the moment).  The Lib Dems would appear to prefer the prospect of that chaos and being part of a government which withdraws from the EU than giving up their government limos.  And if this isn’t a red line it is hard to see anything else being so.

To put it another way, does anyone really believe this time that if the Lib Dems have the ability to put the Tories back in office that they wouldn’t? Exactly. The battle lines are then now tolerably clear.

What this all means is that we have a potential conservative/right of centre bloc consisting of the Tories, UKIP, almost certainly the Lib Dems and more likely than not the DUP.   On the other side of the equation we have the parties who have a progressive bloc consisting of Labour, SNP, Plaid Cymru, the SDLP, the Greens and presumably Sylvia Hermon in Northern Ireland (who left the Ulster Unionists because they merged with the Tories) and George Galloway, though I am really not sure that Labour will want to rely in any way on the MP for Bradford West.

Now this doesn’t have to mean formal coalition or even looser formal confidence and supply arrangements between all of the parties on one side of the bloc or other or indeed any of them.  Minority governments of one or more parties on either side are perfectly possible if they can survive a confidence vote.  In that sense Ed Miliband’s refusal to entertain a pact with the SNP yesterday does not really matter that much as the SNP have stated that they will vote to bring a Tory led government down.

It all therefore comes down to which bloc is able to reach 323 (assuming Sinn Fein have 5 MPs amd don’t take their seats this is the real threshold for a majority, not 326).   So with 20 days to go I ask you for your predictions for seats and government (we will revisit at 10 days to go, 5 days to go and 24 hours to go).

Here are mine:

House of Commons

Conservative: 288

Labour: 258

SNP: 49

Lib Dem: 29

DUP: 9

SF: 5

UKIP: 3

SDLP: 3

PC: 3

Green: 1

Respect: 1

Sylvia Hermon: 1

Which gives:

Conservative Bloc (including DUP): 329

Progressive Bloc (including Galloway): 316

Predicted Government Outcome

Con + Lib coalition (relying on UKIP and DUP votes for confidence)

Yours?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlie East-West April 17, 2015 at 2:17 pm

House of Commons

Conservative: 280

Labour: 266

SNP: 50

Lib Dem: 28

DUP: 9

SF: 5

UKIP: 3

SDLP: 3

PC: 3

Green: 1

Respect: 1

Sylvia Hermon: 1

Which gives:

Conservative Bloc (including DUP): 320

Progressive Bloc (including Galloway): 325

Predicted Government Outcome

Labour Government (relying on SNP/PC/Respect/Herman/Green votes for confidence)

Overall outcome: A shambles.

Reply

George_East April 17, 2015 at 2:23 pm

Hard to disagree with your overall outcome prediction!

Reply

Ray_North April 17, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Tories – 287
Labour – 263
SNP – 50
Lib-Dem – 25
UKIP – 3
DUP – 9
Sinn Fein – 3
SDLP – 3
Plaid – 3
Green – 2
Respect – 1
Sylvia Hermon – 1

Those are my predictions.
Afterwards – I predict an unwholly mess with the following:

1) David Cameron will have to be prised out of Downing Street with a claw hammer – he will claim victory with the most seats
2) The Lib-Dems will wobble – though the degree of the wobble will very much depend upon what happens in Hallam.
3) Labour and SNP will try to do some kind of deal during the wobble – which will force the Lib-Dems hand – do they go with the EU referendum or do they go with another Scot Nat referendum – tricky.
4) Suddenly and briefly the likes of Farage and that eejit Galloway are going to have a moment in the sunshine.
5) Ultimately, if I was a betting man, we’ll have a Tory/LD with the DUP etc supporting on confidence and supply basis.

Jesus, looking at my figures again – it’s going to be bloody close.

Reply

George_East April 17, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Have you lost a couple of NI MPs there? Did you mean SF – 5?

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Ray_North April 17, 2015 at 10:32 pm

took me the best part of an hour to do the maths – quite chuffed i was only out by 2!

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John Dunn April 17, 2015 at 8:08 pm

The best way to avoid that 2 years of uncertainty is to bring the EU referendum forward.? The sooner we get out of that megalomaniac mess, the sooner we can develop our own trade deal with the rest of the world and save the UK a net £10 billion per year.
And, we can also End ECB Dick-tatorship. What an absolute star that girl is.

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Ray_North April 17, 2015 at 10:33 pm

If we’re going to have a referendum on EU better to have it sooner rather than later – but, I’m not sure we’ll be on the same side in a referendum debate John.

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Jackie_South April 17, 2015 at 10:53 pm

A slightly more optimistic prediction from me:

Labour: 280
Conservative: 277
SNP: 40
Lib Dem: 27
DUP: 9
Sinn Fein: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
SDLP: 3
UKIP: 3
Green: 1
Hermon: 1
Speaker: 1

Progressive block (Lab+SNP+SDLP+Plaid+Green+Hermon)= 328
Conservative block (Con+LD+UKIP)= 307
Others (DUP+Speaker)=10
Absent (Sinn Fein)=5

I’m not including the DUP in either block due to their likelihood to trade with whichever block is bigger. Whilst they are socially conservative, their redline on abolishing bedroom tax and their general anti-austerity stance re: N Ireland makes them hard to pigeonhole with the Tory-led block.

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John Stone April 18, 2015 at 7:34 am

A critical factor over the next week or two will be the extent to which the unionist or no vote coalesces around the best positioned unionist candidate in different seats. How much of the unionist vote will see it as more important to try and stop the SNP rout than to vote their personal preference? That could make the difference between an SNP return of 50 and one in the low to mid 30s I guess?

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Jackie_South April 18, 2015 at 11:16 am

A fair point, John. My own prediction (40 SNP) is based on a moderate unionist rallying and a repetition of the “shy No” factor that there was in the referendum.

For the other Scottish seats, I predict 2 Tories, 2 Lib Dem and 15 Labour. Ironically, the SNP surge looks likely to help the Tories gain a seat (Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk).

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George_East April 18, 2015 at 3:08 pm

I’ve just noticed you are predicting Galloway to lose his seat. I hope you are right.

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Jackie_South April 18, 2015 at 4:37 pm

It is a close call there I think, but I think a higher turnout will help Labour there. In any case, whichever way the result goes in Bradford West, it is a seat in the progressive camp.

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John Dunn April 20, 2015 at 5:46 am

I wonder if polls and predictions are being blindsided by a new voting phenomenon not yet appreciated?.
All the talk is of where the each party’s core voters have shifted (from) ~ (to). But no one has a grip on the level number of ‘middle aged, never before voted’? In the last couple of months, I have been asked to help with voter registration. Those asking for help are mid 40′s to 50 year old. None of those 11 people I’ve helped register, has ever voted before.
Question to pollsters and predictors :
~ What do you think is the impetus for these previously *absent voters*?
~ Can you guess who their intended vote is for?.
~ And crucially,…Do you think your poll/prediction results are accurate and account for the *never before* voters?

Reply

George_East April 24, 2015 at 11:47 am

An interesting phenomenon and it is notable that nearly 500,000 voters registered on line on the last day permitted (20 April). I don’t see why these voters wouldn’t be picked up by the pollsters though.

Reply

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