The result of a general election will be hard to predict. But what do polling trends say about Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party?by Paul Whiteley and Harold D Clarke / September 4, 2019 / Leave a comment
After a showdown between prime minister Boris Johnson and MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit, the UK appears on course for an election in a matter of weeks.
Much parliamentary action will now play out to determine exactly when the vote will take place. The government remains eager to ensure the UK’s exit from the EU by October 31. Oppositions parties are eager to ensure this does not happen in a no deal scenario.
But developments at Westminster mean an election at some point soon is almost certain. The key question, therefore, what might the outcome of such an election be in such unpredictable times?
We have considered the results across 138 polls conducted between 4th November, 2018 and 22nd August, 2019.
All polls contain a combination of information and noise, the latter resulting from errors in sampling, in interviewing and in other factors which are an inherent part of survey methodology.
By “pooling the polls” the figure maximises the information and minimises the noise because the samples are very large and rogue polls which happen by chance do not dominate the picture.
Both Conservative and Labour support declined markedly in the run-up to the European parliament elections on May 23. Since then, Conservative fortunes have partially revived, but party support is only in the low 30 per cent range—nearly 10 per cent less than its vote in the 2017 general election.
Labour is in even worse shape, languishing in the low to mid-20s. Polls on voting intentions go back as far as the 1930s, but it is safe to say that such a car crash in support for both major parties has never been seen before. So we are in uncharted territory.
The major parties’ poll numbers indicate that, in a two-party contest, the apparent “Boris bounce” in Conservative vote intentions would very likely deliver a majority in the House of Commons.
One important reason why Labour has fallen so far behind is the large decline in Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity since the…