General Election Outlook

23 May 2024

With a general election in six weeks' time, Electoral Calculus is here to help voters and campaigners understand what is likely to happen in their own seats.

There have been big political changes since 2019, with the Labour party gaining ground in the polls, and now 21pc ahead of the Conservatives as at 23 May 2024. Reform UK are also polling well, but unlikely to win any seats at the moment. And in Scotland the SNP have slumped in the polls are look set to lose many of their Westminster seats.

Added to that are the new constituency boundaries, which might confuse some voters who are looking to vote tactically.

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What to look out for in the campaign

The key electoral statistic is Labour's lead over the Conservatives. This needs to be about 5% for Labour to get a bare majority, and 10% for a comfortable majority. Tony Blair's lead in 1997 was 13% which resulted in a massive Labour landslide with a majority of 179. Labour's current lead of 21% should produce a majority bigger than Blair's.

The Conservatives will be hoping to reduce that. They might be hoping that the polls overstate Labour's lead as happened in 1992, when Neil Kinnock was (wrongly) predicted to become Prime Minister. And they will also hope that Keir Starmer underperforms when subject to the scrutiny of a campaign, like Theresa May did in 2017. The Conservatives will also try to win back disenchanted voters who have switched to Reform UK or are planning note to vote. There are sizeable numbers of both these groups, and their return would boost the Conservatives substantially.

Labour will be trying to win back seats both in the 'red wall' as well as new seats in the south of England. The polling evidence so far suggests that they could make big inroads in both places. They will also be hoping to do better in Scotland, where they could pick up over thirty seats from the SNP.

The Liberal Democrats will win seats where they can persuade centre-left voters that they are the anti-Conservative challenger rather than Labour. They should win several dozens seats that way, particularly in the south of England.

And the Greens will be trying to hold onto their Brighton Pavilion seat without Caroline Lucas, and also maybe make some gains in seats where they are strong on the local council. Bristol Central is one seat they could win.

Tactical voting could be a key factor at this election as well. The largest group of

Our predictions

Electoral Calculus predictions try to make the most accurate prediction of the result in each seat. We do this with a blend of our own MRP polling combined with the up-to-date state of the national opinion polls. Our MRP looks at both national and local factors, to estimate what is going on in each constituency.

The local factors we look at include

All these factors, combined with the demographic make-up of the seat's population are considered by our algorithm. It then uses our large-scale opinion polls to determine the relationship between all these factors and people's voting intention, to make the prediction.

Not all of our predictions will be correct, but we try to have as many accurate as possible. We will keep updating the predictions until election day, and they will change as new polls appear.