The Pointless UK Election #GE2017

UK Prime Minister Theresa May called for a snap election for a “stronger Brexit mandate.” Why she needed this, who knows. She had a wide advantage in the Parliament, the public voted to Leave the EU, and she was picked by her party to lead the Parliament. Polls showed a wide lead when the campaign began, but now, based on the polls, the composition of the Parliament would barely change.

For Labour to win the election, they would need to 1) recover in Scotland where they went from 41 to 1 seat in 2015, 2) have the Liberal Democrats take back seats from the Tories that they lost in 2015 in constituencies where Labour does not compete, and 3) have UKIP hold down the Tory vote total so Labour could win narrowly in more conservative districts. None of these things are likely to happen so Labour needs to hold on to what they have. They are doing this. While the Tories would win the election easily, much like they did two years ago, this doesn’t give them any more of a “mandate.” If anything, it makes them weaker heading into the talks with the EU.

The following looks at what is going on in the polls in each major region of the Union. Projections are based on the regional breakdowns in public polls. Each poll company reports results differently. We chose the regions used by most of them. They are defined as:

London — London
Midlands — East Anglia, East Midlands, West Midlands
North — Northeast, Northwest, Yorkshire and the Humber
South — Southeast, Southwest

For the nations of Scotland and Wales, we chose large sample polls of those countries and did not mix in the small subsamples from UK wide polls. You can get links to all of the polls here.

North
In 2015, Labour won the plurality of votes in the 2015 election and took 110 seats to 44 for Conservatives and 4 for the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives have gained 9.7 points in the polls but Labour has also increased. All of this comes at the expense of UKIP.

At the beginning of the campaign, the Tories led in this region but Labour has overtaken them.

As of today, we project 54 (+10) seats for the Tories, 101 (-9) for Labour, and 3 (-1) for the Liberal Democrats. The seats most vulnerable to move from Labour to the Conservatives are:

Barrow & Furness
City Of Chester
Copeland
Dewsbury
Halifax
Lancaster & Fleetwood
Middlesbrough
South & Cleveland
East Wakefield
Wirral West

Southport is most likely to switch from Liberal Democrat to Conservative.

London
Besides the North, London provides a significant share of Labour’s MPs. They won a plurality in 2015 and have increased support in the polls along with the Liberal Democrats. The Tories and UKIP have ticked down.

The Tories began the campaign in the lead here, but like in the North, they have given in back to Labour.

As of today, we project 46 seats for Labour (+1), 22 for the Tories (-5), and 5 (+1) for the Liberal Democrats. The seats most vulnerable to move are:

Labour to Liberal Democrat
Bermondsey & Old Southwark

Conservative to Labour
Croydon Central
Hendon

Conservative to Liberal Democrat
Kingston & Surbiton
Sutton & Cheam
Twickenham

South (Not London)
This is the heart of Tory UK. They dominated in 2015: 130 seats to 8 for Labour (Buckingham is officially nonpartisan). The Conservatives have even increased their support in the polls. However, Labour has gained even more. The UKIP vote here is going more to Labour than the Conservatives.

The Tories have pretty much flatlined in support while Labour has steadily increased, particularly the last three weeks.

As of today, we project 115 (-15) seats for the Conservatives and 24 for Labour (+16). This region is the most perilous for Theresa May and if the result mirrors the polls, it will be the biggest reason for all the egg on her face.

Conservative to Labour
Brighton Kemptown
Bristol North West
Crawley
Dover
Gloucester
Hastings & Rye
Kingswood
Milton Keynes South
Plymouth Moor View
Plymouth Sutton & Devonport
Reading East
Reading West
Southampton Itchen
Stroud
Swindon South

Green to Labour
Brighton Pavilion

Midlands
This also represents the heart of the Tory majority. The Tories will win big here and take a large bulk of the seats. However, it won’t net them many more seats as the UKIP collapse benefits both the Tories and Labour by roughly the same amount.

As in the South, the Tories are at where they started while Labour has steadily increased.

As of today, we project 116 (-2) seats for the Conservatives, 46 (+3) for Labour, and 1 (0) for the Liberal Democrats. No change for the Tories will mean no additional “leverage” for negotiations. She needs to wipe out Labour here and she isn’t doing it.

Conservative to Labour
Derby North
Telford
Thurrock

UKIP to Conservative
Clacton

Wales
Only a few nationwide polls have been done in Wales. The three done before 5/5 had the Tories leading. YouGov’s poll on 5/21 had Labour reversing it with a 10 point lead. Average together:

The Tories have gained the most here while Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and Plaid Cymru have either held steady or slightly declined. UKIP has fallen significantly.

As of today, we project 19 (-6) seats for Labour, 17 (+6) for the Tories, 3 for Plaid Cymru (0), and 1 (0) for the Liberal Democrats. Theresa May has the potential for gains here but later polls will tell if it is real or if the Labour surge in England happens here too and stays with a similar party breakdown as in 2015.

Labour to Conservative
Alyn & Deeside
Bridgend
Clwyd South
Delyn
Newport West
Wrexham

Scotland
As in 2015, this country has the potential for the most volatility. The Scottish National Party took 50% of the vote in 2015 and 56 of the 59 seats. Labour held 41 seats going in and took just 1. In the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, SNP fell short of a majority and the Conservatives became the lead opposition party. The Conservatives have the potential to make gains here to as the SNP has slumped and Labour collapsed:

This is the only region of the country where Labour trails where they were in 2015 but it doesn’t really matter because they can lose 1 seat at the most. The Tories have surged at the expense of everyone else except UKIP because UKIP has no support base in Scotland.

As of today, we project 42 (-14) seats for the SNP, 16 (+15) for the Tories, and 1 (0) for the Liberal Democrats. The Tories have gotten the better of the Independence debate here so far, as well as attacking the SNP’s performance in Holyrood and Westminster, factors they can’t benefit from in England and Wales.

SNP to Conservative
Aberdeen South
Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine
Angus
Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock
Banff & Buchan
Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk
Dumfries & Galloway
East Lothian
Edinburgh South West
Moray
Ochil & Perthshire South
Perth & Perthshire North
Renfrewshire East
Stirling

Labour to Conservative
Edinburgh South

Conclusion
Theresa May called this election expecting an easy win. Her personal advantage over Jeremy Corbyn, the belief that Brexit negotiations would subsume all issues and she wouldn’t have to answer on the future of the NHS, social care funding, and relations with Donald Trump. She could just say “strong and stable” and talk about how horrible Jeremy Corbyn is. It hasn’t worked. The Tories will win the election but essentially a rerun of the 2015 results is as bad for her as the Leave vote was to her predecessor. Both campaigns were headed by Linton Crosby and Jim Messina so it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise they haven’t really clued into the pulse of the UK voter since Ed Miliband departed the stage.