Sunday, 11 January 2015

UPDATE: Labour lead at 1 in first new year poll: Labour 34%, Conservatives 33%, UKIP 15%, Lib Dems 7%, Greens 7%

Source: My photograph at Ed Miliband speech
The Labour Party retains a small lead in the first poll of polls of the new year. There was little to no polling in the first week after the end of Christmas, and it is only now that sufficient polling is coming in thick and fast to give an accurate picture. Labour is down 1%, the Tories are up 1%, UKIP are down by 1%, the Greens are up 1% and Lib Dems stay where they are. Assuming a uniform national swing, this is what the result would be (Credit to UKPollingReport for this)

UK polling report predicts a small Labour majority. Personally, I'm sceptical, as Lord Ashcroft polling shows that Labour's performance in the marginals is patchy rather than uniform, and this does not take into account the Scotland picture. There must be more marginal seats polling, and more polling from Scotland and Wales, before a decisive conclusion can be reached. Overall, since my first prediction in October, little has changed. The Tories and Labour remain deadlocked, UKIP have declined slightly, and the Lib Dems and Greens remain around the same vote share. I expect this to remain the same until May, with Labour and the Tories switching places slightly, but this means that the next election will be the most exciting and unpredictable since 1992. Here is a prediction of the number of seats each party will win.

Source: BBC Newsnight

Two things immediately stand out from this prediction. Number 1 is the small number of Green and UKIP seats, when compared to predicted Lib Dem seats. Number 2 is how close the two major parties are. Number 1 has a simple explanation: UKIP may have nearly twice as much support as the Lib Dems, but UKIP's support is thinly spread across the country, and this makes it unlikely for the party to win many seats, as opposed to Lib Dem support, which is heavily concentrated, due to the stubborn Lib Dem performances in local areas. The same goes for the Greens. Number 2 accounts for an SNP surge and less than uniform swing in marginals, highlighting just how unpredictable the election result is.

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