The certainty of uncertainty (a second General Election in 2015 anyone?)

With a mere fourteen weeks of campaigning to go the one thing that is abundantly clear is that there is no-one racing ahead. Whilst I have no doubt that it will be either David Cameron or Ed Miliband who occupies Number Ten after May 7th, it is far too close to call at the moment.

This is going to be a close election, and it has looked this way long enough for me to believe that it will remain close for the remainder of the campaign. The two main parties really are neck-and-neck, and a hung Parliament is definitely on the cards.

However, our First Past The Post system allows for majorities that defy low vote shares, and so whilst Labour and the Conservatives see their vote shares at under a third of the electorate they are still likely to hoover up the overwhelming majority of seats. This is bad news for UKIP and the Greens for whom a significant breakthrough is still very unlikely.

Looking at the opinion polls for the last week we arrive at the following averages:

32.2% Labour
31.7% Conservative
15.9% UKIP
7.6% Liberal Democrat
6.9% Green

Plugging these numbers into Electoral Calculus we end up with the following prediction for seats

324 Labour
278 Conservative
18 Liberal Democrat
1 UKIP
1 Green
28 others

This puts Labour within a single seat of an overall majority, and would probably mean a minority administration with informal agreements in place. It does, however, suggest a second General Election at some point, if only through the natural course of MP attrition.

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One Response to The certainty of uncertainty (a second General Election in 2015 anyone?)

  1. This puts Labour within a single seat of an overall majority, and would probably mean a minority administration with informal agreements in place. It does, however, suggest a second General Election at some point, if only through the natural course of MP attrition.

    If the resultant parliament follows history (i.e 1950 or 1974). I’m not sure it will – we live in changing times with the old parties holding less sway. To call a second election to try to gain “absolute majority power” (not accepting that without a majority vote you should not have majority power) may not be popular.

    I think the Electoral Calculus result you quote is unlikely – I suspect “others” will include a few more SNP (at Labour and Lib Dem expense) and possibly a few more UKIP (at Conservative expense).

    However a narrow Labour victory or even minority Labour victory may result in a full term Labour parliament. A “left of centre” agreement could be quite durable. The SNP would have influence that they might lose in a second election and left of centre Lib Dems would fear further loses (and expense). Would Labour be able to call a second election under the Fixed Term Parliament rules – or might they find that they are able to do a lot of what they want to do as a minority administration?

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