The great GE 2015 divide: CON 57pc chance of a majority or LAB an 81pc one

The great GE 2015 divide: CON 57pc chance of a majority or LAB an 81pc one

One thing’s for sure: They can’t both be right

Nine days ago the prominent Oxford political scientist, Dr. Stephen Fisher, produced what appeared to be a startling new forecast for GE2015 that gave the Conservatives a 57% chance of winning an overall majority.

Last night the ex-Cambridge mathematician, Martin Baxter of Electoral Calculus fame, issued his latest monthly forecast based on a polling average applied to his well known and widely used Commons seat model. This pointed to Labour having an 81% of securing an overall majority.

That’s some divide and the more detailed numbers are featured in the chart above. Just move your cursor over the chart to get the actual figures.

The great difference between the two approaches is that Baxter confines himself totally to his polling average while Fisher uses a range of other inputs such as historical polling trends and the fact that incumbent governments have tended in some cases to have improved on their polling position this far out.

Fisher equates the coalition with the Conservative party alone and doesn’t factor in that the blues will be going into the election campaigning for change not continuity for the current government. They want rid of the yellows which to my mind undermines the incumbency argument.

    We are, as never before in modern times, in a totally new situation and I’d suggest normal precedents don’t apply.

The polling, as I keep on saying, is influenced by two major factors – the emergence of a new force on the right, UKIP, and the huge switchover to Labour from many who voted Lib Dem at GE2010.

My current view is that in the key LAB-CON battlegrounds UKIP are going to be squeezed but then so is the Lib Dem vote. In CON-LD marginals the yellows will do better than their polling position suggests particularly where the incumbent MP is standing again.

But we have 18 months to go and things can change.

Mike Smithson

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