May avoids debate as Labour cuts Tory lead

Laura Christensen
June 4, 2017

The Prime Minister insisted the only poll that matters is the June 8 vote after the seat projection study suggested the United Kingdom faces a hung parliament.

May's Conservatives had 330 seats when the snap election was called last month. There was slightly better news for May from a Panelbase poll which put her party 8 points ahead of Labour, but that still meant the Conservatives' advantage had nearly halved in a week.Meanwhile a separate YouGov model based on different data estimated the Conservatives would win 317 seats, nine short of an overall majority of 326 seats.

Labour owes some of its rise in the polls to Corbyn's improved rating as voters discover the Labour leader's agreeable, easy manner on the campaign trail.

Recent national opinion polling suggests that Labor has closed the gap on the Conservatives, but not as dramatically as the YouGov projection indicates.

But if she does not handsomely beat the 12-seat majority her predecessor David Cameron won in 2015, her electoral gamble will have failed and her authority could be undermined just as she enters formal Brexit negotiations.

According to figures released Wednesday by pollsters YouGov, May's Conservatives could end up on June 8 with 310 seats, 16 short of having a majority in the House of Commons. It had nothing much to do with TV debates but rather the dramatic YouGov poll showing a Tory lead of just 4 per cent. Polling numbers are what really move the markets rather than the day-to-day campaign headlines.

The findings again weakened sterling GBP=D4 which had earlier fallen nearly a cent against the US dollar on the YouGov model before rising on a Kantar poll which showed May's lead had increased to 10 percentage points.

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This pricing feels to me that the market is priced for the Conservatives to gain a majority, with the party likely to pick up somewhere between 50-80 seats.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper's rolling average of the last eight polls now puts the Conservatives on 44%, Labour on 36%, the centrist Liberal Democrats on eight percent and the anti-EU UK Independence Party on 5%. The projection, which uses data about each constituency to predict how voting intention would translate into seats, suggested that the Conservatives could lose 20 seats while Labour could gain nearly 30. "She reminds a bit of Maggie Thatcher", added 25-year-old Wayne Layton, referring to Britain's other female prime minister.

In contrast to YouGov's model, other projections suggested May would win soundly.

It is not clear whether these voters will keep the habit, and whether they will back Labour or switch to the Conservatives who have been more explicit in promising to deliver Brexit.

YouGov's chief executive, Stephan Shakespeare, said the model had been tested during the European Union referendum campaign, when it consistently put the winning Leave side ahead.

Over six in 10 said he was doing a good job, against two in 10 who said he was doing badly.

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