General Election Prediction

Current Prediction: Conservative majority 166

Party2015 Votes2015 SeatsPred VotesPred Seats
CON 37.8%331 47.3%408
LAB 31.2%232 25.9%164
LIB 8.1%8 10.8%9
UKIP 12.9%1 7.6%0
Green 3.8%1 2.7%1
SNP 4.9%56 4.2%46
PlaidC 0.6%3 0.6%4
Minor 0.8%0 0.9%0
N.Ire 18 18

Prediction based on opinion polls from 19 Apr 2017 to 26 Apr 2017, sampling 11,793 people.

Probability of possible outcomes

Conservative majority
Con choice of Lib/Nat
Labour majority
Con/Nat coalition
Nat choice of Con/Lab
Lab choice of Lib/Nat
Lab/Nat coalition
No overall control

The future is never certain. But using our advanced modelling techniques, we can estimate the probability of the various possible outcomes at the next general election. ('Nat' means SNP+PlaidC)

Electoral Analysis

Lib Dems shouldn't count on Remain votes

In a joint collaboration, data scientist and Guardian columnist Martin Robbins and Electoral Calculus founder Martin Baxter explore whether or not the Conservatives might lose several seats to the Lib Dems due to "Remain Conservatives" switching sides.

In fact, ICM polling evidence shows that most Remain Conservatives will stick with the Conservatives. However Leave voters are deserting the other parties in favour of the Conservatives in a way that dwarfs the movement in the other direction.

Read the full article at the Guardian online.

Posted 27 April 2017

Campaign Calculus

Theresa May is going to have a very good election

In the first Campaign Calculus of the 2017 election, Martin Baxter looks at the overall political landscape and the battleground for popular support.

If the current polls are to be believed, then current public opinion is situated squarely in the heart of Conservative territory, and the Conservatives are looking forward to a substantial majority.

The polls could be wrong by a substantial amount, and/or Labour make a resurgence during the campaign and the Theresa May would still be on course for victory.

Read the full article.

Posted 26 April 2017

Political Geography

The Thirty Most Extreme Places in Britain – Political Extremes

In the second and final part of this article, Electoral Calculus uses its detailed political and demographic database to identify the most political extreme localities in Britain.

This article reveals the most left-wing and right-wing localities, as well as the most internationalist and nationalist ones. Also discover the most "Remain" and "Leave" locations, as well as the places in the country which most strongly supported each of the major political parties.

Read the conclusion of this major article to discover the politically extreme places of Britain.

BBC Radio Sussex visited Havelock Road in Brighton, which is the most left-wing street in Britain. Listen here to BBC political reporter Ben Weisz as he tests the Electoral Calculus prediction.

Posted 21 April 2017

General Election 2017

What can stop the Conservatives

Theresa May has decided to be different from Gordon Brown and call an early election when the going looks good. And the going really does look good for the Conservatives. With a lead of around 20pc in the polls, the Conservatives seem to be heading for a three-figure majority in the Commons.

Let's count the tactical advantages that the Conservatives have going into this campaign:

Against that, one apparent tactical disadvantage is that the 2017 election will be fought under the old constituency boundaries, rather than the new ones which are expected to benefit the Conservatives even more. But this effect diminishes on closer inspection. Although the new boundaries benefit the Conservatives strongly in a close election, they make much less impact when there is a big gap between the two parties. Readers may remember this key electoral fact from Electoral Calculus last year.

So what are the real dangers that the Conservatives face? There are three main risks for them: poll error; campaign swing; and a realignment of the left.

Poll error

The polls are not exact and poll error has averaged around 3pc in the last twenty-five years. However the polls have normally understated the Conservative vote rather than exaggerating it. Even if the polls overstate the Conservatives this time, the poll error would have to be 6pc or more to deprive them of a majority. That was the size of the poll error in 1992, when the pollsters forecast a Neil Kinnock victory, but that error overstated Labour rather the Conservatives.

Campaign swing

Change in public opinion during the campaign can obviously change the outcome. Labour need a campaign swing of around 6pc to stop the Conservatives having an outright majority. For Labour to be the largest party, they need a sizeable swing of 11pc. And to get a majority Labour government, Jeremy Corbyn needs a colossal swing of 15pc. Such large swings are theoretically possible, but do not look likely at the moment.

Realignment of the left

The non-Conservative parties are divided and fractious. Under the pressure of the election campaign it is just possible that some of them might come together to present a united front. They would benefit under the first-past-the-post electoral system, since it would be easier to win seats. And a united group might attract more voter support as well. But it is hard to see political adversaries agreeing to such a deal before polling day. Alternatively, the public might do the politicians' work for them by switching support from Labour to one of the other opposition parties. But this scenario is political science fiction at the moment.

Overall, the risks to the Conservatives are distant and unlikely. It is easy to see why Theresa May decided that this was a good time to secure her own personal mandate, and aim for a strong Commons majority.

Posted 18 April 2017

Political Geography

The Thirty Most Extreme Places in Britain – Demography

Electoral Calculus has developed a large database giving very detailed political and demographic information.

It is based on very small localities, usually consisting of a couple of streets or a few postcodes. These localities – officially called Census Output Areas – are the smallest geographic areas used to report the results of the 2011 Census. There are about 227,759 of these in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), having on average around 200 voters each.

Using Electoral Calculus models, we can estimate the political affiliation and attitudes of people within each locality, based on the demographic variation between each locality and its district council ward.

One interesting approach is to look at the localities that are extreme (either extremely high or extremely low) for each of twenty demographic and political measures. There are around 30 of these extreme localities. Together they provide an insight into the diverse political and demographic geography of the country.

This first article lists the places that are extreme for the eight census measures used. Each section defines the measure and its meaning, and describes the two localities with the smallest and largest score on the measure.

Read the full article to discover the extreme places of Britain.

Posted 29 March 2017