Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 361.8 – 24hr change = -1.7
Labour: Av u/o seats = 209.5 – 24hr change = +1
Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 10.8 – 24hr change = -0.3
Spreadex | Con 358-364 (24hr = -7)| Lab 205-211 (+6) | LD 10.5-13 (-0.5)
Sporting Index | Con 358-364 (-8) | Lab 204-210 (+7) | LD 11-13 (-0.25)
(2015 result | Con 330 | Lab 232 | LD 8)
Whilst there’s no sign of herding in the opinion polls, there does seem to be consensus between the two major spread betting companies. Spreadex and Sporting Index now have their respective party seats quotes within a point of each other.
Over the last day, following the publication of a Survation poll showing the Tory lead at a mere 2pts and the YouGov model still predicting a hung parliament, we’ve seen a pretty big move in the betting with Con seats down to 358-364. That’s the lowest quote of the campaign so far, but even at its bottom end would still give Mrs May a majority over 60.
Thanks to Sporting Index for doing my work for me in producing this infographic illustrating how the seat quotes have shifted over the course of the campaign:
Moving towards polling day, my sense is we are looking at (at least) five distinct elections across the country:
Northern Ireland has its own set of parties, issues and electoral history. As such, what happens in the Ulster seats doesn’t really play much part in the Con-Lab battle. However, worth bearing in mind that the DUP and UUP are much closer to the Conservatives than Labour; so in the event of a hung parliament seats won by the unionist parties could be crucial in allowing the Conservatives to continue governing.
Scotland: the battle in Scotland has been drawn on unionist vs nationalist lines. The SNP took all but 3 of the Scottish seats in 2015 and in 2017 are defending against a resurgent Scottish Tory movement led by Ruth Davidson and to a lesser extent a Scottish Labour party licking its wounds from last time. The Tories, Labour and Lib Dems are all targeting a handful of gains from the SNP. With the appetite for independence seemingly on the wane the SNP hegemony could be under threat. Look out in particular for Moray where the Conservatives are looking to oust SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson.
London: Thinking back to the EU referendum a year ago I recall feeling very confident of a Remain victory. For days all I had seen around the capital were Remain posters and enthusiastic Remain canvassers; the Brexit result was a stark reminder that the political mores of London are quite out of step with the rest of England. I anticipate a similar dynamic in play this time: Corbyn’s Labour will have most success in London. London is a Labour-leaning city and the Labour campaign has engaged the first-time voters and millenials concentrated in the city. Labour will hold onto its defensive marginals such as Ealing Central & Acton and Hampstead & Kilburn and has a good chance of taking seats like Battersea from the Conservatives. If the Lib Dems are to have any success it is likely to come in re-gaining seats such as Twickenham from the Conservatives and Bermondsey & Southwark from Labour.
‘L’Angleterre profonde’: middle England, the provinces call it what you will – beyond London (and perhaps other metropolitan centres like Manchester and Liverpool) I think things will be much more difficult for Labour. The ground campaign is reporting that the Corbyn surge is not in evidence north of Watford Gap (see this blog from Labour Uncut for more detail). To do real damage to the Conservatives’ chances, Labour needs to be winning seats like Nuneaton in the Midlands or Bolton West in the North. By all accounts Corbyn is not an electoral asset in such seats. Indeed, Labour is on the defensive in seats with up to 5,000 majorities from 2015. I believe the Conservatives might offset any losses suffered in London with gains from Labour in the rest of England.
Wales: polling early in the campaign suggested the political wind had changed in the principality and the Conservatives may beat Labour in vote share for the first time in a century or so. If the Tories’ difficult campaign has had an impact anywhere it is Wales with recent polls showing Labour to have emphatically reasserted its historical advantage. Conservative held marginals such as Gower could well be in danger.