The exit poll has her losing seats. May always vowed that she would not call this election—and will now be wishing she'd stuck to her wordby Tom Clark / June 8, 2017 / Leave a comment
The clock struck ten, and it became clear that Theresa May’s election gamble had misfired in spectacular fashion. And indeed, that Jeremy Corbyn—who was universally written off as leading his party to ruin—had shored his Labour party up, and maybe even made some advances.
The 10 O’Clock BBC headline is that the Conservatives have lost their majority, and that we are now in a hung parliament, the most dramatic turnaround from what was—when May first called it—an election designed to secure a landslide that all the self-proclaimed political sages, and I can’t pretend to be any exception, assumed was coming her way.
But—a big but—at 314 projected seats the Conservatives are not only well clear of Labour’s projected 266, but also within a dozen seats of the winning line of 326 which is needed for a majority of one. Expectations started very differently from last time, but the exit poll numbers are extremely similar to 2015, when the BBC projected the Tories would be on 316, and they came back instead with 330. Consequently, it becomes imperative to ask at this early stage of the night just how accurate the exit poll will prove.
“It would be a surprise if the final tally of any party were to move more than 20 up or down on the 10 O’Clock forecast”
It is only a sample of voters, and no sample ever matches the population as a whole. But recent history holds out scant hope to anyone staying up all night in hope of an entirely different result. Exit polls involve talking to people who’ve actually voted on their way out of the polling station, not internet panels which some people are much more likely to opt in to than others, so there are not the same biases. And they’ve performed well in recent elections, even as the reputation of conventional polling has crashed.