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