UK Election 2017: Pollsters say Tory victory likely, but others bet on hung Parliament

Marred by two terror attacks, Britain's snap general election is set to go ahead on Thursday and will decide who shapes the United Kingdom's future as it seeks to leave the European Union.

File image of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. Reuters/AP

File image of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. Reuters/AP

Prime Minister Theresa May, who came to power without a national vote in 2016 after David Cameron's resignation, called the election after just one year in charge; she had three years to go. May had a slim working majority of 17 at the dissolution of the last Parliament and called the election in a bid to strengthen her position going into the Brexit talks.

The main parties across Britain are the Conservative Party (centre-right) led by May, and Labour Party (left) led by Jeremy Corbyn, the Liberal Democrats (centre-left), the United Kingdom Independence Party (far-right) and the Green Party (far-left). With the election ticking down, predictions from different organisations paint a slightly muddled picture.

While many predict that the Tories are on course for victory, others say that Labour might be able to form a government with backing from smaller left-wing parties.

Livemint reported the opinion polls make it clear that it is going to be a straight fight, a “two-cornered contest” between Tory and Labour. The report also gauged the ratio-swing model, which might be more accurate. It predicts interesting times for the United Kingdom: With the presence of a significant regional party like the Scottish National Party, a hung Parliament may be on the cards.

According to The Washington Post, when May had announced the snap election in April, it seemed like she would win by a landslide. However, two months later the race seems tight. Their forecast, which is based on voter expectations of the winner screened through a survey sheet, predicts that the Conservative Party will increase its majority, winning about 361 of the 650 seats in Parliament.

According to a report in The Sun, the YouGov poll conducted on 5 June showed Tories getting 50 percent of the vote, which would give them a greater majority than under Tony Blair in 1997.

However, the poll predicted that the Conservative Party would win 305 seats, which is just shy of the 326 seats needed to form a majority. According to the same poll, Labour was predicted to win 268 seats.

On Wednesday, The Telegraph poll tracker — a rolling daily average of the last eight polls —  showed that May's lead has dropped from 17.8 points to below 10 points since she called for the election.

According to the report, the pollsters still give the Tories a clear lead, but, the party's dwindling advantage will be a concern to party headquarters and a boost to their rivals.

Some experts had estimated that the Tories would take as many as 56 seats from Labour, leaving them with a 200-seat lead over the Opposition party, helped by UKIP's apparent collapse in support over recent weeks.

But according to a poll published on Tuesday by the group Survation, May's one-time 20-point lead over Labour has shrivelled to just over a single point: 41.6 percent to 40.4 percent.

Bookmakers, meanwhile, forecast the Conservative Party to increase their majority.

Ladbrokes predicted the Conservative Party would pick up anywhere between 17 and 70 seats, whereas William Hill suggested a more modest increase: Between 40 and 50 seats.

A report by Mirror mentioned a poll survey by Opinium which found that despite all the progress Jeremy Corbyn has made in bridging the gap, the Tories could increase their majority. It kept the Tories' lead at seven points, one more than the party had a week earlier.

May's personal approval rating has dropped from +21 percent to +5 percent since the election was called. "The campaign has damaged the reputation of the prime minister, despite a likely Conservative Party win," Opinium said.

Since failing to predict the outcome of the last general election and Brexit, pollsters have adjusted their methodologies. They broadly show the Conservative Party ahead, despite the lead narrowing. With sceptics rejecting many of the predictions, it will be fascinating to see whether any of the pollsters hit the bullseye.

With inputs from AFP

Published Date: Jun 07, 2017 09:15 pm | Updated Date: Jun 07, 2017 09:36 pm

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