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March Forecast: Labour Majority Cut, Lib Dem Gains, Small Improvement for Tories  

UK-Elect Forecast, 5th March 2005. (See also the latest UK-Elect forecast for the next General Election). As with the Feb 2005 forecast it is again based on the new Scottish parliamentary boundaries, and intended to represent a realistic possibility for what will actually happen at the next General Election, although major events, e.g. wars or resignation of a party leader would of course affect the totals. Previous UK-Elect forecasts of this type, based on anticipated voting trends, as opposed to current opinion polls, have been quite accurate. Those before the 2001 election were within 2 seats for all major parties.

This first March forecast is likely to leave Conservative leader Michael Howard and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy worried that, despite recent optimism from them both,  a comfortable Labour majority still looks likely. ( In fact, as any British General Election simulation will confirm, the bias in the electoral system is so strong that Tony Blair could win an overall majority even if the Labour Party came third in the polls. See also "What if the Tories overtook Labour in votes?" and What if the Liberal Democrat vote surged?)

The percentages used were Lab 37%, Con 31%, Lib Dem 22%, Nationalists 2.5%. (If you prefer to forecast using your own percentages, the current opinion polls, or with a lower/higher level of tactical voting, click here. Also click if you would like to forecast the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, London Assembly or your own local election.)

The main change over the last year in our forecasts is a slow reduction in the anticipated total share of the vote won by the two main parties (in particular the Conservative Party, despite a recent slight upturn), and an increase (now partly reversed) in the projected Liberal Democrat vote, coupled with an increasing belief that there is a significant possibility of anti-Labour tactical voting in some seats. This is in reaction to the after-effects (and continuing effects) of the Iraq War and a series of unpopular policies such as tuition fees. The combination of these and other factors, in our judgement, created enough anger in a small proportion of the electorate to persuade them to vote for anyone who can defeat the local Labour MP. In this election simulation (as in the previous two) we assume that a maximum of 20% of people would be prepared to vote tactically against Labour in the right circumstances. This is a little higher than we have generally previously assumed, but still within what we judge to be a realistic range (and it should also be emphasised that this figure is not the number that we think will vote tactically, simply those who would be prepared to do so if they lived in a constituency where the circumstances were right.)

Party

Seats

Change from current situation  Change from adjusted current situation  Change from 2001 election
Labour 375 -35 -24 -37
Conservative 169 +8 +5 +3
Liberal Democrat 70 +15 +16 +18
Scottish National Party 7 +2 +3 +3
Ulster Unionist 6 - - -
DUP 5 -1 -1 -
Plaid Cymru 5 +1 +1 +1
Sinn Fein 4 - - -
SDLP 3 - - -
Ind 1 - - -
Speaker 1 - - -
Labour Majority 106 -57 -48 -61
Forecast for South West England Forecast for Scottish Highlands  
Forecast for Northern England Forecast for UK  
Forecast for London Forecast for Eastern England  

Click on image to enlarge

Each month until the General Election we will also feature the detailed forecast for one or more constituencies.

March's Featured Constituency Forecast is Haltemprice and Howden, Humberside [Yorkshire and Humberside Euro/PR Region]
Electorate(2001): 67055
[Jon Neal], LDm 19460 45.25%
[David Davis], Con 17508 40.71%
[Leslie Howell], Lab 4996 11.61%
[Joanne Robinson], UKInd 1038 2.41%
Total 43002 64.12%
Liberal Democrat Majority 1952 4.54%
Liberal Democrat Gain From Con. Shadow Home Secretary Davis Davis loses his seat.
Swing from Conservative to Lib. Dem. of 4.44%

[] indicates party candidate at PREVIOUS election- actual 2005 candidate names not yet used for this forecast.

Notes: A uniform percentage swing method was used, and the percentages were applied to GB constituencies only. The assumption was made that up to 20% of the electorate would be prepared to consider voting tactically against the Labour Party. The forecast base was the 2001 General Election constituency situation, adjusted to take account of the new Scottish parliamentary boundaries. No attempt was made to apply more accurate Scottish or Welsh poll percentages to the forecasting of constituencies in those areas (hence the forecasting of Nationalist gains or losses is likely to be less accurate). Results from Northern Ireland are based on those of the last election and included for completeness only. The "change from adjusted current situation" column represents the change from the  the current situation f the latest boundary changes are taken into consideration.

What if the Tories overtook Labour in votes?  What if the Liberal Democrat vote surged?

 

 

 

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