Electoral Calculus by Martin Baxter

Prediction: Con 54, Lab 216, Brexit 249, SNP 56

Brexit Party short 77 of majority

This month’s poll-of-polls shows the Brexit party ahead of the Conservatives. This is because the three most recent polls (YouGov, Opinium and Delta Poll) all have the Brexit party ahead by between 3pc and 9pc. As our graph posted on 28 May shows (see Euro elections analysis), there is a switch-over effect in seats won if the Brexit party overtakes the Conservatives. According to these polls, this has now happened so the Brexit party is predicted to win a substantial number of seats, with the Conservatives reduced to third equal place with the Liberal Democrats. On average, the Brexit party is slightly ahead of the Labour party and is predicted to be the largest party in parliament.

Prediction based on opinion polls from 28 May 2019 to 30 May 2019, sampling 6,217 people.

On these figures, a three-way Brexit/Conservative/DUP coalition would only have 313 seats, which is short of a majority. An alternative three-way coalition of Labour/SNP/Lib Dem would have 323 seats, so would need additional support from the five Welsh nationalists to make a wafer-thin majority of six seats.

Some points of caution need to be made. The polls are quite volatile and do not show a consistent picture. They disagree on which party is in the lead: YouGov says the Lib Dems, Opinium says Brexit, and Delta Poll says Labour. And the Labour and Lib Dem vote shares vary quite widely between the pollsters. Small differences in voter support can translate into a large difference in seats. For example, a 1pc swing from the Brexit party to the Conservatives would move around 50 seats. So the uncertainty in the prediction is higher than usual. And these polls were taken just after the European elections. This may be a temporary effect and the old status quo may return before too long. Or this could be the new landscape.

It is a truth that if either Leave voters or Remain voters could unite behind a single party, and the other group did not, then they could easily get a majority at Westminster. The Leavers are still split, but more of them are favouring the Brexit party than the Conservatives. The Remainers are even more split between Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. If voters move to unite their forces, or the major parties change their policy stance, then there could be dramatic changes.

It remains to be seen if this jump in measured public opinion becomes a permanent feature.

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