Monday, February 13, 2023

John Curtice: The Tories' general election losses could be greater than any we’ve seen before

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Here's an encouraging story for a Monday. John Curtice says that, according to a large opinion poll carried out for the Telegraph, the Conservatives may face unprecedented losses at the next general election.

That poll shows the Tories are down 22 per cent on their performance at the last election. That, of course, suggests they will do very badly next time round.

But the news for them is worse than that headline figure suggests:

There are 90 seats in which the Conservatives won less than 22 per cent of the vote in 2019 and thus where it is arithmetically impossible for the party’s support to fall by 22 points. Consequently, the party’s support must be down by more than 22 points in some places where it performed better last time. 

That is likely to include constituencies the party is trying to defend, resulting in a greater loss of seats than the conventional calculation would anticipate.

Further analysis of the results suggest that the higher the Tory vote was in a seat last time, the greater is likely to be its fall next time:

On average, Electoral Calculus estimate the party’s vote in its 120 strongest seats is now as much as 30 points down on 2019 – and by 27 points in the 120 next strongest.

Which is why the Telegraph poll suggests the Tories could win as few as 45 seats next time round.

Curtice sayswe should be a cautious about forecasting the consequences of the Tories' current unpopularity because we have never seen a major party experience such a collapse in support. And it is, of course, possible they will stage a recovery before the election.

But his conclusion is clear:

One thing though is certain. Unless the Conservatives can haul themselves out of the electoral doldrums, the party will be a much diminished parliamentary force after the next election.


Stan Collins said...

It has happened before, just not in this country - in Canada in 1993. The Conservatives went from 169 (156 after losses) down to 2 (TWO!).

Their catastrophe was helped by the intervention of new parties including one called 'Reform'...

Matt Pennell said...

Not gonna lie I REALLY enjoyed John Curtice's mathematical commentary on current polling. As boring as it sounds, however, I would apply the financial advisory maxim 'Past performance is a good indicator of future outcomes', therefore if electoral calculus sites are predicting Labour winning 500+ seats it's unlikely to verify. The National Government won 554 seats in 1931, an exceptional result with an exceptional set of circumstances.

Hopefully his analysis will help opposition parties gauge the extent of their targeting and allocation of resources, if they don't get carried away.

Anonymous said...

So perhaps we will see Labour in government and the SNP as the Official Opposition after the next election…..