Poll shows Tories on course for sizeable majority, as Labour set to lose seats

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Boris Johnson is on course to win the General Election with a comfortable majority by taking seats in Labour heartlands, according to a projection poll which accurately forecast the hung parliament in 2017.

With just over two weeks to polling day, the constituency-by-constituency estimate by YouGov indicates that if the election was held on Thursday, the Conservative Party would win 359 seats, 42 more than they took in 2017.

They would also take 43% of the vote, winning with a 68-seat majority, a result that would make it the party’s best performance since 1987.

Labour, meanwhile, are set to lose 51 seats, falling from 262 seats in 2017 to 211 now, and taking 32% of the vote, a nine percentage point decrease.

This would be the party’s worst performance in terms of seats won since 1983, YouGov said, adding that the party are on course to not take any new seats.

Of the 76 Labour-held seats where they lead the Tories by fewer than 8,000 votes, Jeremy Corbyn’s party is currently behind in 43 of them, according to the analysis.

Chris Curtis, political research manager at YouGov, said the current analysis shows the Tories have a “comfortable majority”, with seats coming their way at the expense of Labour in the North and Midlands.

“As expected, the key thing deciding the extent to which each of these seats is moving against Labour are how that seat voted in the European Union referendum.

“In the seats that voted most strongly to Leave in 2016 (60% or more in favour of departing the EU), the swing to the Conservatives is over 6%.

“This is allowing the Tories to overturn quite substantial majorities in places like West Bromwich East, the seat held until recently by Tom Watson, and Don Valley, the seat currently held by Caroline Flint.

“The only silver lining for Labour is that there are still 30 seats where it is currently 5% or less behind the Tories.

“If it can manage to squeeze the gap over the coming fortnight, it may be able to paste over the cracks in their so-called Red Wall. But with just two weeks to go, time is running out for Labour.”

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems are currently on course to see their number of MPs increase by just one from 12 to 13, picking up four new seats while losing out in three they currently hold.

The SNP are on course to secure a further eight seats, although crucially for the Tories’ chance of securing their majority, only two come from Mr Johnson’s party (Stirling, and East Renfrewshire).

By contrast, Labour are set to lose five seats to the SNP, with the Lib Dems losing one in Scotland, the figures show.

The Greens will still have one seat, while Plaid Cymru will still have four, according to the data.

YouGov’s model draws on the data collected from about 100,000 panellists questioned on their voting intention over the course of the last seven days, and uses a recently-developed technique called multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP).

Mr Curtis said: “Traditional polling can tell us what happens at a national level, but it doesn’t answer the question of what might be happening in each of the constituencies across the country.

“MRP is a polling technique aimed at solving that problem, a way of using large sample sizes to project figures onto smaller geographical areas.

“It works by using an extremely large sample to model people’s vote preferences based upon their demographics (their age, gender, education, past vote and similar factors) and the local political circumstances (are they living in a Conservative or Labour seat? Is it a pro-Brexit area? Is there an incumbent MP?).

“Once this model has been developed it is applied to the demographic make-up and political circumstances of each of the 632 constituencies in Great Britain, providing projected vote shares for each and every seat.

“YouGov used the same method in the 2017 General Election, when our model accurately predicted the results in 93% of constituencies, and pointed towards a hung Parliament, when many other election predictions were pointing towards a Conservative majority.”

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