What would happen if an election was held today?
As of 12 October 2021, the current linear national polling averages extrapolated by politics.co.uk place the Conservative party on 38%, Labour on 35%, and the Liberal Democrats on 9%.
Drawing on the findings of major UK opinion polls from the last 4 months, the Conservatives are shown maintaining their lead over Labour.
If a General Election was held today, and the public vote reflected this polling position, this would likely lead to the following composition of the House of Commons:
The result of an election is projected as a hung parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party.
Notable recent polls
Although support for the Conservative party has declined since the summer, recent polls have not yet demonstrated any major swings as a result of the proposed rise in national insurance to fund social care. This was first announced on 7 September.
Similarly, there appears to have been no adverse impact in government support following the petrol shortages experienced in early October. Sir Keir Starmer does not appear to have made any breakthroughs in the polls following his first full Labour Party conference as leader.
If anything, the polls in early October so far suggest a slight consolidation in support for the Conservatives. The latest opinion polls released during early October included:
Redfield and Wilton (11 October) which placed the Conservatives on 40%, Labour on 36%, and the Liberal Democrats on 9%.
YouGov (6 October) which placed the Conservatives on 39%, Labour on 31%, and the Liberal Democrats on 7%.
Public Opinion since the 2019 General Election
In the aftermath of the 2019 General Election, the Conservative party enjoyed a healthy lead in the opinion polls. With the Conservatives polling over 50%, this lead briefly surpassed 20% at the beginning of the Covid pandemic in March and April 2020.
In the latter part of 2020, the Conservative’s lead in the polls diminished significantly. Indeed between October 2020 and January 2021, the two major parties were running neck and neck.
However, coinciding with the roll out of the coronavirus vaccine and the conclusion of prime minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal at the end of 2020, the Conservative party once again opened up a significant election poll lead over Labour. The Tory lead over Labour was as high as 10% throughout April, May and June 2021.
This Conservative poll lead coincided with the unusual event of a governing party winning a seat from the Opposition, as occurred in the May 2021 Hartlepool by-election.
The summer of 2021 has though seen the polls tighten slightly. The drop in Conservative support (circa 3%) appears to have commenced immediately after the furore surrounding the resignation of then health secretary, Matt Hancock, in late June 2021.
Pollsters show that support for the Liberal Democrat party during this Parliament has been constant at around the 8-9% mark, with the party failing to make any significant breakthroughs. Lib Dem support did surpass 10% in June 2021 following the party’s success in the Chesham and Amersham by-election, but it appears to have since returned to the previous trend level.
The above analysis of current voting intention levels has been calculated through linear average equation modelling of the latest opinion polls.
The headline data used in calculating these averages has been drawn from that laid out in the published polls of a number of leading firms: YouGov, Opinium, Survation, SavantaComRes, Redfield and Wilton, and Ipsos Mori.
In terms of translating these election poll findings into a projected make up of the current House of Commons, Politics.co.uk has used the Butler method to calculate the current swing between the parties compared to the 2019 General Election.
Given that the parliamentary results in Wales and Scotland are influenced by the existence of a fourth major party (Plaid and the SNP), Politics.co.uk has undertaken separate analysis for swings in Welsh and Scottish constituencies. This analysis has drawn on the latest polls that were specific to Wales and Scotland respectively.
In the case of Scotland, Politics.co.uk drew on the opinion poll from Opinium on 8 September, and in the case of Wales it drew on the YouGov poll of 4 May. In the case of Northern Ireland, with its own political parties, Politics.co.uk has drawn on the LucidTalk opinion poll of 1 September.
In terms of specific adjustments then made to this analysis, Politics.co.uk has assumed that the Green MP Caroline Lucas would continue to hold her safe seat in Brighton Pavilion, and that Sir Lindsay Hoyle would be returned as Speaker for his constituency of Chorley.
Politics.co.uk’s current Westminster projections are also drawn through an aggregate extrapolation of the data on election polls. They do not factor in the potential for further additional regional or constituency centric swings.
Similarly, the above analysis has been conducted based on the existing United Kingdom constituency boundaries. The Boundary Commission is currently in the midst of a review designed to better equalise constituency sizes. Although these recommendations are yet to be finalized, the next General Election will almost certainly be fought on a redrawn constituency map.
The commission’s interim findings most notably increase the number of seats in the South East of England (+7), London (+3), East Anglia (+3), and the South West (+3), at the expense of Wales (-8), the West Midlands (-3), the North East -3), the North West of England (-3), and Scotland (-2). It has been suggested that equalising constituencies may assist the Conservatives by as many as 10 seats, given that the party’s seats in the south of England are currently numerically larger than those found elsewhere in the country.