UK General Election forecast – update

Boris vs Corbyn illustrative final-01



“On Monday of this week, the man some people have begun referring to as “Dr. Doom” sits in a German restaurant in London, stares at his coffee and says, “I wish I hadn’t been right.”

Then he offers another prophecy: “I suspect we might have Boris Johnson for 10 years, maybe longer.”

De Spiegel interview with the former British ambassador Sir Ivan Rogers


We are nearly half way through this general election and it seems like a good time to provide an update on where we are heading.

In 2016, I wrote that “the Conservative Party is moving to bring on-board Labour voters, just as Donald Trump is doing with blue-collar Democratic voters, in the United States. You may hear a lot more in the coming years of the May Labourites and how they will bring an electoral landslide for the Tories at the next general election.” The Tories under the than Prime Minister May were embracing the rhetoric of a centre-left economic policy agenda and as a consequence enjoyed soaring polling ratings.

We know what happened next. That rhetoric failed to be converted into policy. The June 2017 snap general election was a disaster for the Tories and resulted in a hung parliament.

This time round, under their new leader Boris Johnson, it looks like the Tories have a better chance of capturing those ex-Labour blue-collar voters in the election on 12th December 2019. Current polling shows the Tories ahead with a 14% lead in the national polling

Poll on polls 24 Nov



Labour’s policy manifesto published earlier this week was a radical socialist programme which would overturn the 1979 political economy. The numbers involved are eye watering and it is questionable how credible much of the proposed policies are, whether in terms of their implementation or costings.

Focus group feedback indicate that this, far more radical manifesto, simply fails to pass “the smell test” with voters. The proposed four-day week idea, in particular, goes down badly with voters. Labour have missed the lesson of 2017 – yes to radical change of the status quo but it must be done in a way that is sellable on the doorstep and comes across as “credible” to the wider electorate.

The Tories, in contrast, have smartly learned the lessons of their electoral near-death experience in 2017. They have ditched the commitments to austerity and have promised significant investment across public services and infrastructure. The key retail propositions have been tested to destruction with focus groups and their overarching message of “get Brexit done” was literally copied from feedback from disgruntled voters. The Tory campaign has been disciplined, ruthless and much better focused on their key target seats.

One metric I am following closely is the net satisfaction in leaders’ ratings. This FT chart shows the huge gulf between the two leaders and the Tories need to maintain that healthy lead in the coming two weeks.

Net fav ratings

Financial Times


A recent poll suggests that gap is narrowing which, if replicated in other polls, could be a worrying sign for the Tories. However, it could also be an outlier. We will only know once we see further polling in the coming days and weeks. I suspect that the radical Labour manifesto could be having the impact of energising Labour’s core vote even if it hardens existing negative views of Corbyn among the wider electorate.

Net fav ratings 2



As Eurointelligence noted recently, “the purpose of this manifesto is to fire up the Labour grassroots. We think it might succeed on that score. It is smart politics for Labour to vacate the centre ground and focus on turnout.” The risk of that strategy will be to turn soft Labour voters against the party even if it succeeds in raising the turnout figures for the core demographics of the Labour voting base. Until we see further polls in the coming weeks it will be difficult to precisely forecast whether Labour’s strategy is working or not.

So, to summarise, I’m sticking with my forecast that the Tories should get a solid comfortable majority on 12th December 2019 of 347 seats.

Scottish Conservatives seat tally update

For those readers who took up my advice and placed the bets of the Scottish Conservatives getting a vote tally of between 11 and 15 and 16 plus, things are looking good. The first Scottish poll in a month indicates that the Scottish Conservatives will lose one seat (Stirling) to the Scottish National Party (SNP). This is contrary to the widespread assumption that the Tories would get wiped out at the general election.

Note, though, that the seat projection is based on national polling and doesn’t factor in potential Unionist tactical voting in those marginal Tory-SNP seats. If that occurs, which is what is predicted by the Scottish Labour writer Ian Smart, then the Tories will increase their seat tally in Scotland.

The odds of the Scottish Tories getting over 16 seats is now crashing. A £25 bet would now return “only” £275 rather than over £400 when I recommended the trade a few weeks ago. I expect those odds to narrow further as we get closer to the election as it is clear that momentum is with the Scottish Conservatives.

Bet 5



It looks likely that the Tories will reach at least the seat tally of between 11 and 15 which will yield a nice profit for those who took the bet. And the prospects of a blow-up rise of their seat tally to 16 or more is increasingly promising.

As always, I look forward to receiving any feedback you might have on my analysis. Stay tuned!


UK General Election forecast – update

UK General Election forecast


The New Yorker


This general election is likely to be the most consequential since 1979 when Margaret Thatcher swept to power. The fate of Brexit hangs on the outcome.

If the Tories win a majority Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to pass the withdrawal treaty and the United Kingdom will legally leave the European Union (EU). Should the result be a hung parliament, Brexit itself will be in doubt and the possibility of a Labour government looks very likely.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn into 10 Downing Street would be a transformational moment in British, and indeed, global politics. A man firmly on the radical left of politics would be in the driving seat of one of the major great powers.

So, what are my thoughts, with a huge caveat that there are 4 weeks to go, on the election so far.

Looking at the polls, which give a reasonable indication of where we are, the Tories have maintained a national lead of over 11% so far. This could change, given that the manifestos and debates haven’t occurred yet, but so far there seems to be a consistent pattern of the consolidation of both the Labour and Tory vote vis v vs the smaller parties (Brexit Party, Greens and the Lib Dems).

Poll on polls



The national polling hides distinct regional variations, and to a certain extent you should view this election as a series of regional contests.

One of the most reliable means of working out who the eventual winner is in terms of leader’s metrics.

The New Statesman recently noted that the only meaningful change since the campaign started was that Boris Johnson had become less unpopular whilst Corbyn’s dire personal ratings remained the same. That is good news for the Tories since it implies that their lead over Labour is more solid then many jittery commentators think.

The British political class are still shaken by the May 2017 general election when Labour surged in the polls once campaigning started. The risk is that commentators have the 2017 model in their head when they should be thinking of different scenarios.

The 2017 scenario is that Labour and Corbyn’s polling will surge during the coming weeks and ruin any prospect of a Tory majority. That remains a possibility although there is limited sign of it to date.

An alternative scenario is 2015, where the Tories were very nervous amid a consensus that Britain was heading towards a hung parliament. In the end the Tories won a slim majority to the shock of pollsters and commentators alike.

A few have posited a 1987 scenario, where, again, the national polling suggested that the Tories would win a large majority which, in the end, they did.

I have already posted why I think the Scottish Conservatives could do better than expected north of Hadrian’s Wall in this election. For those who wish to read about the asymmetrical betting opportunities click here.

Here are my mini-predictions on the shock results that are likely to happen on the 12th December:

There is also a risk that Boris Johnson might lose his seat on the night which would cause a political earthquake if it occurred.

In terms of the wider political landscape, I expect that the Tories will make patchy gains in Wales, Yorkshire and the north of England. However, a mix of Labour tribalism, the Brexit Party and the failure of Boris to fully “seal the deal” with the electorate will ensure that there won’t be a transformational realignment from Labour to the Tories.

The south may prove a bruising night for the Tories, in particular uber-Remain, middle class enclaves which, whilst traditionally Tory, will fall to the Liberal Democrats. In other seats, a combination of factors, including the Brexit Party withdrawing, the fear of a hard-left Labour government and local Tory support should save local Tory candidates from a swing to the Liberals.

So, overall, my tentative conclusion – which I may update as the campaign evolves – is that the Tories are on course to win approximately 347 seats. This will give them circa 20 seat majority in the House of Commons.


UK General Election forecast

Political betting alert: Scottish Conservative election gain opportunity


CNN travel


As I’m sure many of my readers are aware, a general election is looming in the United Kingdom, on the 12th December 2019.

After the humbling experience of 2017, where I failed to forecast the hung parliament that resulted (although I wasn’t alone in that failure!), this will prove a difficult election to call. The polls indicate, so far, that the Tories are leading with approximately 11% of the vote compared to the Labour party but these are early days (literally) in the campaign.

One area where I do have a stronger conviction on what the likely eventual outcome will be is in Scotland.

The commentariat took the view that the SNP would sweep the board in the June 2017 campaign but this turned out to be wrong. The Tories, supported by industrial levels of tactical voting won numerous seats from the SNP.

One of the few Scottish commentators who successfully forecast this result was a Scottish Labour supporter called Ian Smart. Here is his snapshot of his forecast just prior to the June 2017 election:

Bet 4

Ian Smart blog


He has just completed his blog post on where he thinks this election will go and he is forecasting, contrary to nearly everybody else, that the Tories will gain seats in this election. You can read his blog post here.

Given his track record, and in my opinion his compelling argument that the Unionists will come out, again, to frustrate the SNP push for a 2nd referendum during this campaign, this is worthy of a small asymmetrical bet.

IS snap

Ian Smart blog


As a disclaimer, political betting is about probabilities and there is no guarantee that you will make profit from taking bets. You should only bet on what you can afford to lose.

 The Scottish Conservatives currently have 13 MP’s and they are widely considered, after the loss of their charismatic leader Ruth Davidson to be in for a drubbing. This is therefore a high-risk trade.

I would recommend that you place small deposits on two potential outcomes which look likely if Ian Smart forecast (as of now) comes true or anywhere near it. Smart is currently forecasting that the Scottish Conservatives will gain 4 seats, taking their overall tally of MP’s to 17. A major caveat is that this might change as the campaign evolves.

The UK political betting website Coral is the only firm, at least as far as I can find, that offers betting opportunities on the size of the Scottish Conservatives seats tally.

Bet 1

Bet 2

Bet 3

So, to conclude, the worst-case scenario is that the Scottish Tories fail to get 11 MP’s and you will lose £50. Should the Tories get between 11 to 15 seats, you will make a overall return (minus the £25 lost on the 16 plus bet) of £125.

Should the Scottish Tories do as well as Ian is saying in his blog, you will see a return of £400 (factoring in your loss of deposit of £25 on the 11-15 bet).

For me, this is a political betting opportunity worth taking but of course this is entirely up to you.

I also must remind readers that they need to check whether political betting is legal in their country of residence.

The Coral betting company is easy to register with. Note that there appears to be restrictions on how much you can bet on the 16 to 1 odds and I could only bet a maximum of £25.

I will be writing a full blog post this month of my thoughts on the likely outcome of this general election.

As always, I look forward to any feedback you can give on my writings.

Political betting alert: Scottish Conservative election gain opportunity