Opinion Poll Shows UK Conservatives Could Fall Short Of Overall Majority

Frederick Owens
June 5, 2017

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party could fall short of winning an overall majority in next week's general election, according to new YouGov research for The Times newspaper. The main opposition Labour Party's share of the vote was unchanged at 33 percent.

Barely two weeks ago, a series of surveys showed May was on course for a landslide parliamentary majority in a June 8 snap election which she called to secure a strong mandate for Brexit talks.

But polls taken since the opposition Labour Party and May's Conservatives released their election manifestos have shown Labour catching up, worrying investors and pushing the pound down nearly 2 cents last week.

Although it has a wide margin of error, the constituency-by-constituency analysis by YouGov based on 50,000 interviews of voters from across the political and socio-economic spectrum, predicts that the Tories could fall short of a majority by 16 seats. A separate YouGov/Times poll released Friday indicated its lead has dropped to five percentage points, from its lead of more than 20 percentage points a month ago.

YouGov's chief executive, Stephan Shakespeare told The Times that the model used on this latest poll had been tested before the European Union referendum past year when it consistently put the Leave campaign in the lead.

The latest Guardian/ICM poll showing a healthy 12-point lead for the Conservatives does, however, contain some crumbs of comfort for Labour.

"The sharp recent reduction in the party's lead, poor poll reliability in past votes, plus an unusually high level of uncertainty about the key issues and how different groups could vote, make this election tricky to call", he said.

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Theresa May, pictured during a televised debate on 29 May, could be leading the Tories to an election in which they lose 20 seats, according to the pollster YouGov.

The polls painted a complicated picture of public opinion, with voting intentions being influenced by both the deadly Manchester attack and May's unpopular social care proposals.

ICM credits Survation with success at interviewing the most hard to reach groups, including 18- to 24-year-olds, but warns there is a danger of repeating the poll failings of 2015 if those who are reached are more likely to vote and more likely to vote Labour than others in their age group.

Both the Survation and ICM polls were conducted in the aftermath of a suicide bombing which killed 22 people in Manchester last Monday.

A collective "poll of polls" by the Press Association, based on a seven-day rolling average of all published polls, places the Tories on 44%, Labour 35%, the Liberal Democrats on 8%, Ukip on 5% and the Green Party on 2%. Instead, May sent her interior minister, Amber Rudd, who dismissed the leaders as members of a "coalition of chaos".

"A hung parliament could easily see Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister - investors simply wouldn't know where they stood", said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital.

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