Wednesday, 5 May 2010

UK Election 2010 - Time to vote

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Election Day in the UK - Thursday 6th May 2010
So it is nearly that time when the pain and distress comes to an end and finally the British people can put the candidates out of their misery. Tomorrow is Election day in the UK. The leaders are madly trying to pack in as many last minute photo opportunities and persuade the newspapers that each of them is the best choice as Prime Minister. The last celebrity endorsements and spin doctors’ musings are being milked for all their worth.

Brown is promising to fight every inch of the way, [there is some serious trouble ahead if you are forced to wear a hard hat]

Sarah and Gordon Brown

Cameron claims the Conservatives have had the strongest finish, [or was that fish?]
David Cameron

and Clegg attacks Labour for being ‘desperate’. [will more people vote for you if you 'love' them?]

Nick Clegg

The exhausted candidates race around knocking on doors and urge on equally exhausted volunteers to deliver the last bundles of leaflets. As for the British electorate, they will be glad that normality could just be over the horizon. We will be able to get back to repeats of old movies and sitcoms and catch up on soap operas and celebrity reality TV without being disturbed by the endless analysis of the election by commentators (on second thoughts....). However, before then we will have to endure various ‘highlights’ shows and documentaries analysing the 2010 Election.

So what do the latest polls say?

The BBC Poll Tracker is showing:-

Latest BBC Poll Tracker                  Election Seat Calculator
Conservative         35%                        270
Labour                  29%                        272
Lib Dem                26%                          79
Other                    10%                          29
Total                   100%                       650

Latest Sky reports

Conservative         37%                        296
Labour                  28%                        248
Lib Dem                27%                          78
Other                      8%                          28
Total                   100%                       650

This seems to confirm that (as I predicted) the Lib Dems have slipped back from those giddy days just after the first TV Prime Ministerial debate when Clegg catapulted his party’s standing in the polls from around 21% to sometimes 33%.

As usual, I have to qualify the uniform swings that calculate the number of seats as this never happens on the ground. There will be local factors at play from a sitting MPs expenses being scrutinised to only new candidates standing (so no incumbency to factor in to the equation) through to local politics affecting the outcomes such as who is supporting the planned incinerator or . However, it gives us some idea as to what people are telling the pollsters (and not necessarily how they actually vote....).

What we can say though is that :-

1.       Cameron and the Conservatives seems to have lost around 5% of the vote since the election campaign kicked off and perhaps will only gain around 60 seats (up from 210 at 2005 election). The Conservatives will talk this up as making the threshold of power and given they may be doing much better in the marginal seats then Cameron could yet pull something amazing out of the hat at the last minute. If on the other hand it turns out they are some 50 seats short Cameron will come under a lot of criticism in the coming weeks.

2.       Brown and Labour is staring at losing around 80 seats (down from 349 seats at 2005 election) but let’s face it compared to the low expectation, the poor Labour campaign and Brown’s own goals including poor TV debate performances, Bigot Gate, a lacklustre manifesto, then Labour would (as I predicted) be in the position of still clinging to power through a Coalition with the Lib Dems. There will be pressure on Brown to stand down if Labour is much lower than 290 seats. Whilst Clegg won’t force Brown out as leader, the party may well now feel enough is enough and lever Brown out (especially if a deal can be struck with the new leader (David Miliband?) but not with Brown).

3.       Clegg, in spite of dropping back from polls that may have given him over 90 seats may still have pushed up the Lib Dem number of seats by a modest 15 to 20 seats (up from 62 seats in 2005 election). The Conservative onslaught against the Lib Dems on the immigration amnesty, the Euro and Trident took its toll. However, let’s not forget that prior to the campaign starting it seemed most likely that Clegg would be looking at around 15 fewer seats so if this all plays out as the polls suggest, Clegg will be hailed as a hero by Lib Dem supporters. The more tricky bit will come with the potential Coalition negotiations and then actual seats in Government.

4.       The Nationalists such as Plaid Cymru, SNP, Unionists, Sinn Fein (and possibly the Greens) could suddenly find themselves in the eye of the storm come 7th May if either the Conservatives or Labour are scrambling around for a handful of votes to win a confidence motion in the Commons and take power.

25 hours until polling closes. Are there to be any last minute twists and turns or has this election played its last trick?

A Lab-Lib Dem Coalition or can Cameron somehow pull off a final surprise by winning many more seats in the marginals than predicted and perhaps with Unionist help clamber over the finishing line?

And my prediction (which is always madness to try and estimate election outcomes)? Hung Parliament. Lab-Lib Dem Coalition.

Conservatives         285
Labour                   262
Lib Dems                 74
Green                         1
Other                       28 (perhaps the SNP gaining 3 seats and Plaid Cymru gaining 2 seats on 2005 election)
Total                     650

No BNP MPs but they will no doubt have picked up many more votes and their poison will continue to increase.

Now get voting!

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