Predictions for the 2015 UK General Election

Various predictions have been made for the 2015 UK General Election, which looks like being one of the closest-fought in living memory.

In 2010, the result was as follows:

Conservatives 306
Labour 258
Liberal Democrats 57
Green 1
Scottish National Party (SNP) 6
Plaid Cymru (PC) 3
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) 8
Sinn Fein (SF) 5
Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) 3
Alliance 1
Independent 1
Speaker 1

Since May 2010, there have been 21 by-elections. Respect gained one seat from Labour, Labour gained one from the Conservatives, and UKIP gained two from the Conservatives; all others were held by the party which won in 2010. So the modified or added figures to the above are: Conservatives 303, Labour 259, UKIP 2, Respect 1.

My own predictions are below (corrected from an erroneous set of results before). These are nothing like as carefully picked as, say, those of Iain Dale, but are based upon various factors and predictions of particular swings in different areas (and a lot of reading on British politics and electoral trends). I do believe that the SNP will eat quite deeply into Labour’s vote in Scotland, that the Conservatives will lose a similar number of seats to Labour as they did in 1992, but I also believe – and to a greater extent than many other commentators – that the tactical anti-Tory vote for the Liberal Democrats which has existed ever since 1997 will slump to a very large degree. In 1992, the Liberal Democrats won 17.8% of the vote and 20 seats; in 1997, with a massive increase in tactical voting, they won 16.8% of the vote and 46 seats; this would rise to 52 seats in 2001, and 62 in 2005 (with 22% of the vote – the best ever Liberal Democrat election result, with the underrated Charles Kennedy as leader). I believe the ratio of votes to seats is likely to revert to pre-1997 levels. With this in mind, I think 2015 will be a disastrous election for the Liberal Democrats, which will set them back more than 20 years in terms of seats, though they are still likely to play a part in any post-election coalition. The Tories will benefit more from this collapse than Labour, playing a part in negating the seats Labour will otherwise gain.

Labour 290 (+33)
Conservatives 288 (-15)
Liberal Democrats 18 (-39)
Green 1 (-)
(Respect 0 (-1))
SNP 26 (+20)
UKIP 5 (+3)
PC 3 (-)
DUP 8 (-)
SF 5 (-)
SDLP 3 (-)
Alliance 1 (-)
Independent 1 (-)
Speaker 1 (-)

With this result, Labour/LD have a total of 308 seats, Con/LD 306, Labour/LD/SNP 334 seats, Con/LD/UKIP/DUP 319 seats. As any party needs at least 325 seats to command a majority (or 323 if the Sinn Fein members continue not to take up their seats), the Labour/LD/SNP grouping (perhaps joined by PC, SDLP, Green) looks the only possibility. However, I do not believe a formal coalition between Labour and the SNP will be feasible (nor would it be politically acceptable), so I predict a confidence and supply arrangement between these three parties. This will make getting most other legislation through Parliament extremely precarious; furthermore, there will be a number of Labour MPs unhappy with any such arrangement.

Here are the predictions of Iain Dale, who has done an exhaustive study of every seat (The figures I give for the change in seats relate to the numbers at the time of posting, not to those in 2010).

Labour 301 (-42) 
Conservative 278 (-25)
Liberal Democrats 24 (-33)
UKIP 5 (+3)
Green 1 (-)
Respect 1 (-)
SNP 18 (12)
PC 3 (-)
DUP 9 (1)
Sinn Fein 5 (-)
SDLP 3 (-)
Independent 1 (-)
Speaker 1 (-)

And here are the predictions of Peter Kellner of YouGov:

Conservative 293 (-10)
Labour 277 (+18)
Liberal Democrats 30 (-27)
UKIP 5 (+3)
Green 1 (-)
(Respect 0 (-1))
SNP 23 (+17)
PC 3 (-)
DUP 8 (-)
Sinn Fein 5 (-)
SDLP 3 (-)
Alliance 1 (-)
Independent 1 (-)
Speaker 1 (-)

(Kellner does not give details of the Northern Ireland parties’ results, nor for Plaid Cymru, so I am assuming these will remain as in 2010).

Some other predictions can be found at the link for Kellner above.

I am not a professional opinion pollster, just an amateur with a keen interest in British politics, which I have followed very closely for almost 30 years. It will be interesting to see which, if any, of the above results proves closest to the final outcome.

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3 Comments on “Predictions for the 2015 UK General Election”

  1. Many thanks for your prediction and the others that you quote.

    There can surely be little doubt that, as you observe, this next UK General Election will be the closest fought in living memory and, as you also note, the need for more than two parties to agree to work in coalition in order to achieve an overall majority between them will be vital if indeed the formation of a government of any kind is to result. That said – and I’m no more of a sephological expert than you (and, I daresay, considerably less of one!) – the sheer weakness of any government made up of three or more parties will be painfully obvious and, insofar as I could predict any outcome, it would not surprise me were the end result to be even closer than any of those mentioned above. I agree that the likely outcome for the LibDems will be disastrous, but I suspect that SNP might do better than any of the above predict and even the Greens might end up with several MPs rather than just one; recent figures (whose source I cannot now recall) mention that the Greens now have more members than UKIP and not many less than the LibDems.

    A week is a long time in politics, so 99 days speaks for itself and there’s many a potential slip twixt party cup and voter lip, but it would not entirely surprise me if the outcome of this election is that no three parties can combine to form an overall majority and that, as such, no agreement to form a government might arise; I’m not suggesting that this result is likely, but I do believe that it is perfectly possible and so it would be unwise to dismiss it altogether.

    Belgium managed without a government for some 18 months, but how UK cold cope with such a situation I have no idea.

    All that seems certain is that the days of blue, red and others are well and truly over for the foreseeable future.

  2. […] Predictions for the 2015 UK General Election → […]

  3. […] My predictions from January for the election results turned out to be significantly out; but then so did almost everyone else’s, including those of Iain Dale and Peter Kellner which I cite in the above link. One small consolation, in predictive terms, is having forecast a bigger collapse in the Liberal Democrat vote than many others did; it always appeared to me that with the loss of the major tactical vote which had doubled the Liberal Democrat representation in Parliament in 1997 from what it had previously been, the party would fall away to less than 20 seats, though it is still shocking to see them fall to 8. […]


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