Predicting the UK 2017 General Election

I’m no Nate Silver, nor do I aspire to be, an albeit fictional, Joey Lucas type. I don’t have access to banks of private polling data. I’m an intrigued amateur who predicted the 2015 result (a Conservative majority) with a 1% (3 seats) margin of error, while most of the professionals got it badly wrong. So I thought I’d chance my arm again.

My prediction

Overall I predict the following result for the General Election 2017:

  • Conservatives 338 (+8 seats)
  • Labour 210 (-19 seats)
  • Liberal Democrats 44 (+35 seats)
  • SNP 31 (-23 seats)
  • Others 27 (-1 seats)

This would give the government a small increase in their majority from 17 to 33. The big winners should be the Liberal Democrats, with the SNP and Labour losing c. 20 seats each overall.

Context

An unexpected ‘snap’ General Election was called yesterday by the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, less than two years since the last election in May 2015. A few things have changed since then, however:

  • EU referendum. The UK held a referendum in June 2016 on whether to leave the EU. This was a promise made by the last Prime Minister, David Cameron, as part of his 2015 election manifesto. The country chose to ‘Brexit’ by a narrow margin of 52:48 on a turnout of 72%.
  • Main party leadership changes. After significant losses in the General Election, both Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg stepped down as leaders of the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, and were replaced by Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron respectively. After the referendum result, David Cameron resigned, and Theresa May became Prime Minister.
  • UKIP. Following a Brexit vote, Nigel Farage stepped down as leader of the UK Independence Party, and was replaced by Paul Nuttall. Given UKIP’s primary goal of the UK leaving the EU is now in progress following the triggering of Article 50 by Theresa May, it is unlikely that UKIP will be able to repeat its 2015 result when it received 13% of the vote (but only a single seat).
  • SNP. The Scottish National Party won an unprecedented 56 of 59 seats in the 2015 General Election. This election followed the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence with the electorate voting 55:45 against ceding from the United Kingdom. The strong support for the SNP in 2015, and the fact that Scotland voted 62:38 to remain in the EU in 2016, has led calls to another referendum on independence by the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon.

My hypotheses

My calculations

Engineer by education, Consultant by experience, Entrepreneur at heart. My professional focus is #fintech, I’m an #avgeek, + I occasionally blog about #politics