It’s been a relatively volatile time in the polls of late, and that continues this week. The Tories dropped 2 points in our average a fortnight ago, then gained 1 last week and now lose 1, putting them back down to 31%. Labour, who dropped 2 points last week, have not gained from the Tories’ fall and remain on 34%. Instead, the beneficiaries are UKIP (up 2 points to 17%) and the Liberal Democrats (up 1 to 9%).
The Conservative-to-UKIP swing might well reflect the mood change following the Clacton and Heywood and Middleton by-elections last week. We’ll need to wait to see how long it lasts, though, especially given the recent volatility.
The upshot in our forecast is a partial reversal of last week’s big shift towards the Conservatives. Labour are back in front again as the slight favourites to win the most seats, with a 53% chance to the Tories’ 47%.
The Tories’ fall and Labour’s failure to recover in the polls leads to their lowest combined share yet: 65% in both the current average and our central forecast. With the two parties so close and their combined share so low, the chances of a Hung Parliament rise again, to 57%, surpassing the previous high of 54% last week.
In our central forecast, the Tories get the most votes (with 34% to Labour’s 31.3%) but not the most seats (with 291 to Labour’s 298). That would leave Labour 28 seats short of a majority, while the Lib Dems would have 31 MPs in their best seats forecast since April.
Date of forecast: 17 October 2014
Days till the election: 202
Inputted current average poll shares
Others (inc. UKIP): 26%
– UKIP: 17%
Forecast Election Day Shares (with 95% Prediction Intervals)
Con: 34.0% (±7.1, i.e. 27% – 41%)
Lab: 31.3% (±5.2, i.e. 26% – 37%)
LD: 12.0% (±7.2, i.e. 5% – 19%)
Implied point estimate shares for:
– Others (inc. UKIP): 22.7%
– UKIP: 14.8%
Forecast Election Day Seats (with approximate 95% Prediction Intervals)
Con: 291 (217 – 377)
Lab: 298 (216 – 367)
LD: 31 (25 – 37)
(Prediction intervals assume LD & others shares at central forecast, Con & Lab shares vary as per prediction intervals)
Central forecast: Lab largest party, but short of a majority by 28
Approximate probabilities of key outcomes
Con largest: 47%
… with a majority: 19%
Lab largest: 53%
… with a majority: 24%
Hung Parliament: 57%
… with Con largest: 28%
… with Lab largest: 29%
(probabilities may not sum due to rounding)