“Labour loses majority with just 1% swing” – new report

“Labour loses majority with just 1% swing” – new report

    How boundary changes hurt Brown and make “PM Dave” one step closer

The Tory price on the General Election seat markets is likely to tighten following a big story in the Times this morning on new research on the impact of the boundary changes. Currently the Betfair price has Labour at 1.04/1 to get most seats slightly behind the Tories at 0.98/1.

But the report, by Lewis Baston and Simon Henig for the House Magazine, also underlines the challenge facing Cameron as he seeks to gear the Tories up to win an overall majority. The Tories still need a swing of 9-10% from Labour for Cameron to be certain of forming a Government – down from 11% on the boundaries used at the last election.

    Labour suffers because almost all the new seats that will be created would have gone to the Tories or Lib Dems last time – while of those that are being abolished two thirds are Labour.

In terms of numbers they suggest that of 13 new seats created 10 would have been Tory in 2005 with one for Labour and two for the Lib Dems. Of nine abolished seats six are Labour, two Tory and one Lib Dem.

The authors conclude “The boundary review heightens the risk to Labour from a relatively small swing of votes that already exists because of the number of highly marginal seats..After the changes, a swing of only just over 1 per cent would destroy the majority, while under unchanged boundaries it would take a 1.8 per cent swing. The situation was uncomfortably tight already, and now Labour has the tiniest margin for slippage.”

  • The suggested new Tory seats include Braintree, Derbyshire Mid, Devon Central, Kenilworth & Southam, Northamptonshire South, Witham, Wyre & Preston North, Filton & Bradley Stoke, Meon Valley, Norfolk Mid/Broadland, and York Outer.
  • The authors believe that the following nine fairly safe Labour seats will become much more doubtful: Basildon, Conwy, Crosby, Ealing Acton & Shepherds Bush, Hampstead & Highgate, Milton Keynes South West, Penistone & Stocksbridge, Regents Park & Kensington North, and Sunderland South.
  • Seats going from Tory to Labour include Lancaster & Wyre, Northampton South, Rugby & Kenilworth, Croydon Central and possibly Kettering.
    • All of this will add to Labour’s jitters as it is coming to terms with continued poll deficits for the first time in a decade and a half.

    In the betting on the actual General Election outcome “no overall majority” is the 1.52/1 favourite, with a Tory majority at 2.2/1 and a Labour majority at 2.45/1

    Mike Smithson

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