UK General Election – How will Labour fare?

This article first appeared at on 3rd December.

With a fortnight of campaigning left, there’s no doubt Labour are in a very bad place. On current estimates derived from YouGov’s MRP model, they will lose 51 seats, handing the Tories a majority of 68. As always in political betting on elections, remember to treat such projections with caution and that two weeks is a hell of a long time.

Low Expectations Make This A Good Time To Bet

This may be the ideal moment to bet on Labour targets. Their polling remains grim, but better than last week. Opinium’s 19% Tory lead was probably an outlier, but it showed the threat of a wipe-out remains. Two of the last four recorded the lead down to 7% and, critically given the number of marginals there, Labour enjoyed a big swing in the latest Welsh poll.

However the aforementioned MRP model has attained gold standard pedigree in the media after bucking the trend in 2017, correctly forecasting a hung parliament. Their 43/32 projection and distribution of seats is now the headline narrative. I will be extremely interested in their final prediction but at this stage, the model hasn’t reduced any of the uncertainty. The best political betting sites odds match this projection also.

Merely Slight Improvement Could Save Dozens Of Seats

On these latest numbers (few of which were surprising), the margin between Conservatives and Labour is less than 5% in 67 seats. It wouldn’t take much for them to rise from the current 211 projection to 240, even 250 plus. On the downside, I can’t envisage lower than 190.

That positive transformation could come about via a small national swing – say 2% – or from strong local campaigning by incumbent MPs, differential turnout, the rise in youth registration translating into votes or tactically-minded supporters from other parties.

Indeed a squeeze is quite predictable. The Tories have risen to 43% by largely consuming the Brexit Party vote. It is largely factored in. Whereas there may be more scope for Labour to squeeze the other parties, because in many seats the smart tactical choice for Remainers has been unclear. It will become clearer down the final stretch, whether they are informed online or by activists on the ground.

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