At 2200 on Thursday 12th December 2019, the BBC/ITV/Sky Exit Poll was revealed to the nation and pointed to a large majority for the Conservatives. Unlike 2017, I was able to turn to my wife and say “it looks like I will be right this time!” By the end of the night, Gavin Freeguard from the Institute of Government was tweeting that not only was I the most accurate election forecaster of 2019, I was more accurate than the Exit Poll.
My forecast for the 2019 UK General Election this Thursday is that the Conservatives will win a majority of 72 seats. The margin of error in this forecast is very wide though due to the fact that 5 of of the last 7 general elections have seen a major polling error. If there is a repeat of the GE2017 underestimate of Labour, then there will be another hung Parliament.
Friday 07:35 – I’ve just woken up to the result that we have a hung parliament which is miles away from my prediction. Clearly I need to conduct a post-mortem of my model but I did state in my first chart of this post (see bottom of post) that a hung parliament would occur if the CON-LAB lead was under 3%. Sure enough that is the outcome with the BBC currently saying the CON-LAB lead is 2.3%. What it also means that we have another epic polling error as the average of all polls in the week before the election showed a CON-LAB lead of 7.5%. Unlike 2015 when all pollsters got it, congratulations must go to Survation who called it spot on.
I am sure we will have a wave of people claiming to have predicted this error. As far as I am concerned a valid prediction is only one made in public in advance. Such a prediction would also need to explain why they expected a polling error on the scale shown in the chart.
The last time such an error occurred was 1983 and the error is on the scale of 1951! In fact the error is even more remarkable if you look at the 3 main parties.
Another polling post mortem beckons but this election will go down in history.
For my first Scottish seat forecast, I head up to Labour’s last seat in Scotland. I have just become aware of a constituency poll in Edinburgh that took place at the beginning of April before the election was called but the data has only just been released by Survation.
At first sight the poll is bad news for the Conservatives and good news for Labour but I will show that in fact the reverse is the case and that the poll is further evidence that a Brexit Realignment may be taking place. If so, the Conservatives majority in Parliament will be larger than current predictions are showing.
My Prediction – LAB Hold
This is my first seat forecast from the Eastern region and I have chosen the seat of North Norfolk for two reasons. First it is one of only 8 seats held by the Lib Dems in 2015 and one of 3 Lib Dem-Leave seats. Second, it is one of 23 seats in Britain this election that will be fought between only 3 candidates from the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats. Both UKIP and the Greens have decided not to stand in this seat and this will be a good seat to examine my model for handling the votes of parties that stand down.
My Prediction – CON GAIN but extremely marginal
This forecast was updated on 17th May 2017. The predicted outcome is unchanged from my previous forecast.
For my 4th seat forecast of the 2017 general election, I am heading to the North East which is where I grew up. A colleague who lives in the Bishop Auckland seat told me that “Labour could put a monkey up as a candidate and it would get elected”. Since the seat was created in 1885, no Tory has ever won this seat and it has been Labour since 1935.
My Prediction – CON Gain
This is the third of my seat forecasts for the 2017 general election and my first for a Welsh seat. By co-incidence the second Welsh Barometer poll was published today so I am able to explore this seat using a Welsh specific poll.
My Prediction – LAB Hold but now a very close marginal for what used to be a safe Labour seat
This is the second of my seat forecasts for the 2017 general election. I have to be honest, it never occurred to me that I would be covering Kensington as that seems a straightforward seat to forecast. However, Kensington now has the distinction of being the first seat to have a constituency poll published and the results provide an insight as to which might be the best forecasting model to use.