Get Your UK Election Forecasting Here

Simon Hix and Nick Vivyan at LSE provide the most useful UK poll tracking and election prognoses that I’ve seen.

The dots in the figure show the results from the various polls and the shaded areas around the lines are the 95 per cent confidence intervals around the mean standings of the parties. … As of 26 April, the national standing of the parties was 33.3 per cent for the Conservatives (up 1.0 per cent from our 19 April analysis), 26.5 per cent for Labour (down 0.3 per cent), and 29.3 per cent for the Lib Dems (down 0.8 per cent).


It’s pretty clear from this that the first television debate did have substantial – and lasting – consequences for Lib Dem support. And remember – the UK has a relatively short campaign season, so that unless voters change their minds soon, this will plausibly have consequences on election day. Hix and Vivyan also examine how these numbers are likely to translate into seats under a variety of assumptions. Despite significant differences in number of seats, the basic picture remains stable across various assumptions. The Conservatives will have the largest number of seats – but not a majority. Smaller parties (regional parties) will not have enough seats to support a Conservative majority government on their own, let alone a Labour majority. The Liberal Democrats will have enough seats to either ally with the Labour party or the Conservatives so as to create a majority in the House of Commons and thus form a government. Obviously, projections can go wrong; a week is a long time in politics etc. But given current information, it is hard to imagine the Liberal Democrats being in a better strategic situation to choose a coalition partner, and to demand major electoral reform as part of their price.

2 Responses to Get Your UK Election Forecasting Here

  1. Kyle Dirck April 28, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    I posted this on an earlier entry, but got no response, so I’ll repost here:

    Say the LibDems vote for a Labour government, on the condition of implementing PR, and such reform is actually enacted.

    Assuming their support doesn’t wane significantly, wouldn’t it be in their interest to immediately vote down the government and seek to trigger a fresh election?

    If it’s a coalition instead of a minority government, I suppose they might have some interest in keeping their cabinet posts. And obviously the politics of this would be tricky. But assuming the overall vote held constant, they might double their seats.

  2. Eronarn April 29, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    I’m a psych/poli sci fellow and found this very interesting for both sides:

    “When it comes to predicting the election, forget opinion polls and leadership debates.

    The winners and losers can be determined by asking a couple of hundred voters to give a second or two of their time, according to psychologists Rob Jenkins and Tony McCarthy, both of the University of Glasgow, and Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire.”

    Am already familiar with the research they’re basing this on, but interesting little stunt to try and beat the “pundits” of political science.