Profs Chris Hanretty, John Curtice & Phil Cowley at the PSA GE15 briefing pic.twitter.com/qqf3iFqkKx
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) April 17, 2015
The academic experts are divided over electoral bias
One of the massive questions hanging over the May 7th outcome is the impact of what we are all familiar with – electoral bias that has meant that there’s a long history of LAB getting more seats for the same vote share than the Tories.
A lot of this has been down to Scotland where last time 41 of the 59 seats went to LAB. That clearly is not going to be repeated but what about the rest of the rest? What about in England and Wales?
At the packed Political Studies Association event in Westminster I got very different answers from two if the country’s leading political scientists. Professor Stephen Fisher of Electionsetc said he thought that it did not now exist. But his colleague, Professor John Curtice, said it did.
Curtice pointed out that even with a mass of Scottish losses LAB can win an overall majority with a 5% lead on GB vote share. For the Tories the required vote lead is in the 7-11% region depending on how successful the blue team is in its battles for current Lib Dem held seats.
Both Curtice and Fisher have been and are still are leading members of the small academic team which for the last two elections has produced the almost perfect projections for the exit poll.
I’m with Curtice. I can’t see that things have change so much in England and Wales in a manner that would impact dramatically on seat distribution. Remember that in 2005 the Tories led LAB on votes in England yet the latter won 92 more seats.
At 2010 the Tories had a vote lead in England of 11.4%. Yesterday’s Ipsos-MORI poll had LAB 2% ahead there.