Tuesday, 20 September 2011

General Election 2015 : The (Very) Early Assessment

First of all, credit where it is rightly due.
To The Guardian Newspaper for their exceptionally speedy turnaround of the Boundary Commissioners inital proposals and Google Earth map file of the proposed constituencies, Anthony Wells for his even faster conversion of those proposals into constituency estimates (for all the parties not just Con, Lab and Lib Dem) and finally the Sheffield University Spatial Geography department for converting the BBC's election colours into both HTML code and RGB codes.

So, England is to lose some 30 seats and have 502 seats which according to the calculations would see 293 Conservatives elected (including the Speaker), 173 Labour MP's elected and 36 Liberal Democrats elected (based on the 2010 election) with Labour being the biggest casualties losing some 18 seats (compared to the Conservatives losing 5 and the Lib Dems losing 7), but where does this put us in the context of a general election.

Well, as we don't know what the Scottish or Welsh proposals are going to be yet, we cannot say for sure, but we can say that based on the announced reductions you need 301 seats to gain an overall majority in the new House (down from the current 326) and therefore the Conservatives (who were 19 short in 2010) are already only 8 short of an overall majority (with Wales and Scotland still to announce), but as there is only one Conservative MP in Scotland (which is likely to go) and based on the assessments of Wales in the past suggesting only three Conservative MP's, let's work on the assumption the Conservatives need five seats for an overall majority and 30 for a good working majority of 50 or so. What seats might attract their attention?

Well, the first thing to note is that the top 30 English Conservative targets are 67% Labour and 33% Lib Dem and as we saw in the locals this year, Con vs Lib Dem battles do seem to side with the Conservatives, therefore the Conservatives have their overall majority. However as we also saw in the locals, there was an almighty swing from Conservative to Labour, suggesting that it will be Labour on the advance. Current estimate: Con 303 Lab 173 Lib Dem 26

Now, for Labour to win an overall majority they have really got to go some. They need a rather staggering 128 gains just to get an overall majority of 1 (and a further 15 - 25 gains in order to get an working majority). Remind you of a certain David Cameron anyone? So what do these 128 gains comprise, well, thanks to the changes rather a large number of current Labour seats. For instance, number 10 is Hull West and Hessle, 37 is Southampton, Test, 40 is Walsall South, 44 is Birmingham, Erdington and 124 is Walsall North. Number 128 is Bosworth which would go Labour on a swing of 11.73%. The latest polls are suggesting a swing of about 5% (59 gains) but with the Lib Dems being hit the most (11% swing from Lib Dem to Lab) so based on that the tally would be: Con 249 Lab 237 Lib Dem 16

And we cannot rule out the odd suprise along the way. For instance, the Greens may have lost their Brighton, Pavillion seat to Labour, but as their number one target who is to say that they can do it again and win the new Brighton, Pavillion and Hove or even take a second seat in Norwich South (7.22% swing from Lib Dems). So as things stand at the moment, my inital suggestion is that in England the Conservatives and Labour would be virtually neck and neck with the Conservatives ahead of Labour by about 10 but with Labour certainly assured at least 50 seats in Scotland and Wales (taking them up to 287) can Ed Milliband encourage Labour to take those last 14 gains and regain a Labour overall majority?


Morris Dancer said...

Interesting article, Mr. Hayfield. For what it's worth this far out, my own view is that a Hung Parliament is the likeliest result, but that the Conservatives stand a better chance than Labour of being the largest party.

RodCrosby said...

sorry, nonsense.

Labour don't need anything like the gains you suggest. You have forgotten to include Scotland and Wales in Labour's seat total. I estimate 67 gains are required...