At this stage of the last general election, we pundits were in unanimous agreement that Theresa May would win a majority. My predictions were very much at the lower end of those estimates yet still proved miles off, as Labour pulled off one of the most remarkable upsets in the history of political betting.
Don’t assume a repeat of 2017 dynamics
Do bear that experience in mind but don’t assume a repeat of the dynamics behind that upset. No two elections are the same. Conditions change, as do the models and methodology used by pollsters.
This has certainly been an election like no other. The circumstances that brought it about, the December date, the dishonesty and downright, relentless fakery. It has also felt pretty weird from a betting perspective.
The last three general election campaigns were packed with twists and turns. The last two produced massive upsets. This one has been remarkably stable by comparison.
When it was called, I argued a December election would prove ruinous for the fragile coalition of Remainers in parliament. That their vote would split, handing swathes of Labour-held seats to the Conservatives. Once it became clear that Boris Johnson was hoovering up Brexit Party voters, I took the following two positions.
Ever since, my expectations have barely shifted. My position is based around the range between 317 and 349, with 326-339 the best result. As explained in the following tweet, it has been possible throughout to hedge between two Betfair markets (and that will remain the case because our markets will stay open even once the polls close).
Broad agreement between MRP estimates
The most detailed expert projections fall right within that range. I’m a big fan of the new MRP process – because it focuses on the demographic and regional indicators that seem to explain our changing electorate. The latest three such estimates have the Conservatives winning between 337 and 344. Here’s my final predictions for each party’s seat total.