POLITICS EXPERTS PREDICT CONSERVATIVES AND LABOUR WILL BE “VIRTUALLY INSEPARABLE” IN TERMS OF BOTH VOTES AND SEATS
Disappointment for UKIP and Greens but SNP to be a major force in Scotland according to top figures from the worlds of academia, journalism and polling.
A new survey by the Political Studies Association asked a group of major political academics, journalists and pollsters in the United Kingdom for their election predictions.
The Political Studies Association today released the results of a survey of expert predictions for the 2015 general election. The survey was distributed to members of the Association as well as a large number of survey researchers from major polling companies in Britain and to political journalists from the print and broadcast media. The Association asked respondents to share their predictions on the vote share and seat numbers for each of the major parties in May’s election.
The result of the ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ expert prediction is:
- Experts are predicting a tight race, with the Conservatives and Labour virtually inseparable in terms of both votes and seats: the Conservatives are marginally ahead on vote share (32.6% to 32.3%) and Labour are marginally ahead on seats (282 to 278).
- Experts foresee potential disappointment for UKIP supporters, who are expected, on average, to pick up around 6 seats (with academics slightly more optimistic on UKIP’s prospects than journalists or pollsters). Experts also predict that the Greens will pick up just 2 seats.
- Experts predict that the SNP will be a major force in Scotland, picking up 29 seats, but somewhat below the level of support they are currently polling.
- Notably, the predictions of the three expert groups differ very little across the worlds of academia, journalism and polling.
- Our expert predictions implicitly recognize the way in which the electoral system means Labour is likely to win more seats, even though it is expected to win fewer votes (49.4% of respondents believe the Conservatives will receive a greater share of votes than Labour, but only 36% believe that they will win more seats).
See the key tables and predicted vote shares in the full report on the Expert Survey.
Notes for editors:
- Download the survey report in full.
- The survey was carried out by Dr Chris Hanretty (University of East Anglia) and Professor Will Jennings (University of Southampton) on behalf of the Political Studies Association.
- The Political Studies Association exists to develop and promote the study of politics. Founded in 1950, we are the leading Association in our field in the United Kingdom, with an international membership including academics in political science and current affairs, theorists and practitioners, policy-makers, researchers and students in higher education.
- For more information or to request an interview with the team behind the survey, please contact Jamie Ralph at the Political Studies Association – Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org / phone 0207 321 2545
- The idea of the “wisdom of crowds” was popularized by James Surowiecki’s book of the same name published just over a decade ago, but can be traced at least as far back as Francis Galton’s famous experiment at a county fair in Plymouth, as detailed in Nature in 1907, in which competitors paid 6d each to enter a competition to guess the weight of an ox – with the average “voter” guessing the weight of the ox almost perfectly (to the nearest kilogram), as the errors of individual guesses cancelled out.