A hung Parliament or Labour majority of 114 – which pollster do YOU believe?

April 24th, 2004

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Political gamblers seeking to call the next UK General Election are faced now with totally different pictures from the two opinion poll firms that were most accurate in predicting the 2001 General Election.

    On the one hand is YouGov that is suggesting a vote split that would lead to a hung Parliament with Labour 23 seats short of an overall majority. On the other there is ICM which is predicting a vote split that will lead to Michael Howard’s Tories gaining just 6 more seats than next time and that Labour would have an overall majority of 114 seats.

This is the latest ICM poll with a seat prediction from Martin Baxter’s General Election calculator.

LAB 37% 380 seats
CON 32% 171 seats
LDs 22% 65 seats

RESULT Labour overall majority of 114

This is the last YouGov poll – again with a seat prediction from Martin Baxter’s General Election calculator.

LAB 34% 300 seats
CON 39% 271 seats
LDs 22% 46 seats

RESULT Hung Parliament – Labour short by 23 seats

    The ICM scenario would be disastrous for Michael Howard and he would not be able to survive. The YouGov “result” would see the Tories winning an OVERALL MAJORITY OF SEATS IN ENGLAND and, no doubt, would claim this as some sort of victory.

But how do political gamblers choose between the two opinion polls? The Populus poll is showing the Tories and Labour on 34% each while Mori shows a slight improvement for Labour this month on 36-34%. The big difference between ICM and YouGov is that the former is showing a significant drop in Tory support while the latter has been putting the Tories at 39-40% consistently this year.

    The Websites of both YouGov and ICM firms make the same boast “Britain’s most accurate pollster”.

Understanding these polls is going to be the secret of a profitable General Election for political gamblers. The market price on the Tories continues to tighten.

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