UK general election minus 17 days

Labour is still over 20 points ahead in UK national polls. Also covered: the French parliamentary elections on June 30 and July 7, Mexican final results and a South African government formed.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The UK general election will be held on July 4. The Guardian’s aggregate of UK national polls has Labour on 42.9% (down 1.1 since my June 9 article), the Conservatives on 22.3% (down 1.1), the far-right Reform on 13.6% (up 1.7), the Liberal Democrats on 10.3% (up 0.6) and the Greens on 5.7% (steady).

In the last two weeks, there has been movement to Reform and to a lesser extent the Lib Dems, and against both Labour and the Conservatives. A recent YouGov poll had Reform in second, one point ahead of the Conservatives, but this has not been repeated in other polls.

Owing to first past the post, these vote shares would mean a massive Labour landslide if they occur at the election, with the Electoral Calculus site on Friday giving Labour 461 of the 650 House of Commons seats, the Conservatives 80, Lib Dems 63 and Scottish National Party 20. Labour is still ahead of the SNP in Scottish polls, which would mean a big swing in Scotland to Labour and against the SNP, and a large seat gain for Scottish Labour.

Snap French parliamentary election likely disaster for Macron

On June 9, French president Emmanuel Macron announced a snap election for the lower house of parliament after dismal European election results for his Ensemble party. This election comes two years into a five-year term.

The 577 MPs are elected in two rounds using a single-member system. The first round will be held June 30, and candidates that finish top two in a seat, or win at least 12.5% of registered voters can continue (this is a high barrier because it factors in turnout). Candidates can withdraw before the July 7 runoffs, at which FPTP applies. The vast majority of seats won’t be decided until the runoffs.

At the 2022 parliamentary election, Ensemble won 245 of the 577 seats, below the 289 needed for a majority. The left-wing NUPES alliance won 131 seats, the far-right National Rally (RN) 89 and the conservative Republicans 64.

Left-wing parties have formed the New Popular Front (NFP) and will run one candidate in each seat. Polls suggest RN is in the low 30s, the NFP in the mid to high 20s, Ensemble below 20%, the Republicans about 8% and another far-right party has about 4%.

If these polls are replicated in the first round, Ensemble won’t make the top two in the large majority of seats, with the majority of runoffs between RN and NFP candidates. Some pollsters have seat projections that suggest RN would be close to a majority. Ensemble is likely to be drastically reduced from its current 248 seats, a disaster for Macron.

Mexican election: landslide for the left in legislature

I previously covered the June 2 Mexican election, in which left-wing candidate Claudia Sheinbaum won the presidency by 61.2-28.1 with invalid votes excluded. For the Chamber of Deputies, 300 seats were elected by FPTP and the remaining 200 by proportional representation. In the Senate, 96 seats (three for each of the 32 states) were elected by giving the strongest party in a state two seats and the runner-up one, with the remaining 32 allocated by PR.

In the Chamber, the left-wing coalition won the FPTP seats by 256-42, on vote shares of 56.8-31.6. They won overall by 373-102 with 24 for a centre-left party. In the Senate, the left won the state seats by 64-30, and won overall by 83-40 with five for the centre-left. The left exceeded the two-thirds majority needed to change the Constitution in the Chamber, but were two seats short in the Senate. At the previous presidential election in 2018, the left won 308 Chamber seats and 69 Senate seats.

South Africa: ANC and DA agree to form coalition

I previously covered the May 29 South African election, in which the African National Congress (ANC) lost the majority it had won at every election since 1994. On Friday, the ANC and pro-business Democratic Alliance (DA) agreed to form a governing coalition, and the ANC’s Cyril Ramaphosa was re-elected president. At the election, the ANC won 159 of the 400 seats and the DA 87, so the coalition will have 246 seats, easily surpassing the 201 needed for a majority.

86 comments on “UK general election minus 17 days”

Comments Page 2 of 2
1 2
  1. Adrian what level of support would Reform need to attract to win say 20+ seats. Is their support base concentrated enough in particular areas to actually win FPP polls?

    They seem to be tracking up to a result of 20 or more points on election day.

  2. @mmamster at 7:40pm

    It’s honestly very hard to say. The last time there was a significant split in a party vote in the UK was in 1983, which got the outcome as follows:

    Conservatives: 42.4% with 397 seats
    Labour: 27.6% with 209 seats
    SDP-Liberal Alliance: 25.4% with 23 seats.

    The swings in this election are going to be massive, so predictions are hard to make at this stage.

  3. mmanster – It is really hard to judge at what point Reform would start winning more a handful of seats. At the moment, the Reform vote is not particularly concentrated so it seems they would need a very high vote (20% plus) to start winning tens of seats. But if they are doing much better in a few areas then the percent would go down. However, the only seats they look like they are a chance of winning are the few with very high profile candidates (Farage, Rice and Lee Anderson).

    The problem with all the modelling, including with the multilevel regression with poststratification polls, things tend to breakdown the further away from past performances. This is because they in part rely upon what has happened at previous elections as a major input. When it gets to situations like the current where the results are not looking like any previous results things get more chaotic….
    There were 3 MRP polls yesterday with 3 wildly different results (ranging from very bad result for the conservatives to virtually being wiped out).

  4. Got to love the fact that now multiple Tory candidates have been caught out bet on a July election before it became public knowledge. The amounts bet were relatively small too – 100 pounds at 5/1 – The wisdom of risking your career and a criminal conviction for a massive 5oo quid is mind blogging. For Sunak, it is an amount would be down the back of the couch on a bad day.

  5. 4 so far being investigated!

    2 Tory Candidates (one a former MP and Sunaks Parliamentary Private Secretary) and the other married to the Tory party director of campaigns who is now in “leave of absence”

    The 4th and the arrested one is a police officer in Sunaks personal protection detail.

    You can’t make this stuff up!

    Some one asked up thread if I’d been door knocked – yes once by the Greens (who had the departing MP who is standing down – I live in Brighton Pavilion ) and once by Labour but I was out both times.

    I’ve had about 6 green leaflets including a pseudo hand written letter in such a pale blue font it was hard to read. Still the recycling pile is getting bigger.

    The postal vote will get done over the weekend.

  6. This betting scandal does seem to be like the final nail in the coffin for the Tories.

    Ironically some of the polls today – PeoplePolling aside – seemed to show a ‘stabilisation’ of the Tory vote – YouGov showed them up 2% with Labour and Reform down 1%, for example, and others about the same vote – horribly low still, but there we are.

    I doubt it will last, their vote will probably implode further. Whether Labour will come down further as well and Reform up remains to be seen.

    I also wonder if Reform are being seen more as the ‘alternative’ to the big 2 and Lib Dem are being abandoned, however crazily different the two parties are. Just when Lib Dem were relatively soaring, the new batch of polls shows a drop. All supposition of course.

  7. YouGov poll, survey size 1,625 taken from 17-18 June (compared to the last one 12-13 June)

    Labour: 36% (-1)
    Conservative: 20% (+2)
    Reform: 18% (-1)
    Lib Dem: 14% (0)

    More in Common poll, survey size 2,059 taken from 17-19 June (compared to the last one 14-16 June)

    Labour: 39% (-2)
    Conservative: 25% (0)
    Reform: 14% (0)
    Lib Dem: 11% (0)

    BMG poll, survey size 1,627 taken from 18-19 June (compared to the last one 11-12 June)

    Labour: 42% (+1)
    Conservative: 19% (-2)
    Reform: 19% (+5)
    Lib Dem: 9% (-3)

    Redfield & Wilton poll, survey size 2,500 taken from 19-20 June (compared to the last one on 12-13 June)

    Labour: 42% (0)
    Conservative: 18% (0)
    Reform: 19% (+2)
    Lib Dem: 11% (-2)

    Techne poll, survey size 1,642 taken from 19-20 June (compared to the last one on 12-13 June)

    Labour: 42% (-1)
    Conservative: 19% (0)
    Reform: 17% (+1)
    Lib Dem: 12% (+1)

  8. On the polls – PeoplePolling is run by a GBnews presenter and it’s base sample seems to be heavily weighted towards voters with similar views to GBnews.
    YouGov reweighted their sample about 2 weeks ago and has knocked the Labor vote down about 4%. It will interesting to see which weighting was right.
    There is a lot variation between the pollsters – More in common has a higher Tory vote then others, YouGov has a lower Labor vote, etc. But they all show a Conservative beating.

  9. @B.S. Fairman at 3:45pm

    Yeah, that’s true about the variation. I’m paying more attention to the movement between each of the polls themselves to see how things are going, and BTSays is probably right that they’re about stable for the moment.

    Big one that matters is the traditional 10pm Exit Poll on the night (or 7am Friday 5 July Australian time).

  10. Well as one person said the titanic has already sunk. The 20% or so who are still saying they are voting Conservative will vote that way no matter what. They’re not going to vote for Labour or Reform or Lib Dem. They are the truly rusted on. There is literally no more conservative voters left who are going change support.

    Reform can still increase their support but it has to come from other areas – other fringe groups, or voters who are currently thinking voting Labour or Lib Dems or Greens but could be convinced that voting Reform is a better way of sticking the boot into all the bastards.

  11. BBC Question Time last night 20.6.24

    I did something I don’t often do last night: watched the QT. 1/2 hour each, in the following order:

    Ed Davey LD
    John Swinney SNP
    Keir Starmer Lab
    Rishi Sunak Con

    Same audience throughout, asking their questions of the leaders. Audience appeared to skew significantly further left even than the polls currently, this is a bit of a problem tbh. (plus I wish they’d ban clapping or audible responses other than allowed speaking, from the audience in all debates – it’s a very unfair way to influence the viewers at home rather than letting them judge the politician’s answer, whichever side of politics they are on)


    * Ed Davey – thought several questions were wasted asking him about the coalition years 2010-15 (he was a minister), this ground has been trodden far too many times already in the last decade. For goodness sake focus on the now. . . Davey is a decent guy I think, but he seemed nervous and not Prime Ministerial. I expected him to be more polished than that with his experience and the way they’re running such a good campaign. Won’t have done him any harm overall I shouldn’t think, but no good either, and hardly the breakthrough to go higher that he should have been aiming for.

    * John Swinney – much more confident – so confident that he barged in quickly all the time, kept speaking and pivoted away from the question repeatedly in a way that became infuriating rather than smart in the end. Probably played well to the converted, but came over as a hard, not very endearing guy. One audience member (Scottish as well) called him out fairly successfully for attempting to blame Brexit instead of actually giving an answer for what they will do for manufacturing. Probably plenty for all sides of Scottish politics to cut and paste into ads in this one!

    * Keir Starmer – thought he came in quite impressively, and cleverly walked round more conversationally in the first few minutes until Fiona Bruce quietly sent him back to the podium in line with the rules for all 4. But he stumbled occasionally and would not have been reassuring for undecided voters – or those who have decided to vote Labour unenthusiastically and could still be lured away by Reform/Cons/Greens etc.. Pretty wooden in retrospect especially. I suppose he can’t help having an annoying, whiny teenage girl voice that makes him sound incredibly sanctimonious – but doubt this helps his appeal.

    * Rishi Sunak – for the man I think has never sounded that sincere about anything and very corporate style of leading, I got a surprise. In spite of a hostile audience, he remained calm, empathetic when under attack (and then briefly combative towards the end re EHRC etc.) and on top of his brief with every question asked without going on too long like all the others. He had a pep and sounded like he wanted to be PM. If you didn’t know otherwise, you’d have thought this was the guy headed for victory.

    I am staggered to admit that, against all of my expectations, Riski Sunak (IMHO) clearly performed by far the best – not that you would get that from media coverage afterwards and how many watch the QT themselves is a question.

    Not poll-moving at this stage I would think, but would have shored up the remaining party faithful and not given any ammo to opponents with gaffes either. Unfortunately for Sunak, Starmer wasn’t bad enough to be headline news or anything, so on we go I would think. . .

  12. BS Fairman

    I think Tories CAN drop further tbh. I think they will either remain static-ish, perhaps improve a little; or implode and lose quite a few more %, but nothing in between.

    Whether they do the latter depends on 2 things:

    1. The scandals (eg betting one right now) getting to a tipping point and faithful voters say “I’ve had enough and they’re losing anyway”; and

    2. Reform continuing to perform and get significant media coverage, as they are the obvious place the above voters will go – although they could just vote Labour/Lib Dem out of spite to maximise damage as well

    If Tories keep up the key messages – ironically they have better ones this time and a better way of delivering them than many of their recent elections – and avoid further scandals, they may pick up a sizeable chunk of the ‘undecideds’.

    Where Reform are particularly a dark horse, is with non-voters. Will a significant chunk (eg 4% of eligible voters say) come out to vote for once, like they did in the EU Referendum 2016?
    Normal turnout now in UK is about 65-67%.

    It’s now pretty clear they will win seats, but how many is impossible to predict regardless of how many MRP polls there are.

  13. @BTSays at 5:41pm

    I’m not sure where (probably Jonathan Pie’s latest video, I’ll have to double-check), but they made the point that Reform are on a 2-term strategy here. At this rate, they’ll be surging to second place in a lot of Labour seats, particularly the “Red Wall” ones where Labour are obviously going to win in 2024, but then have to stave off the Reform tide in 2029.

    Nigel Farage is only 60 years old, and going by Trumpian standards he has a lot of time left in politics.

  14. Reform now look very close in one of the Barnsley seats – very ‘old Labour’, never won by the Tories.

    Would be both symbolic and quite an achievement in this particular election, if they win there at least.

  15. BS Fairman

    “PeoplePolling. . . it’s base sample seems to be heavily weighted towards voters with similar views to GBnews.”

    That’s interesting – that could explain it, but can you say what you mean / you found, by that?

    (Matthew Goodwin (who organises the polls) says on his own website that he was so flabbergasted he looked very hard at the poll and – in my words – everything was as it should be. He was obviously a bit nervous knowing that it would be accused of being biased due to his affiliation with GB News and, if I’m reading him right, his support for Reform?)

    The poll is certainly an outlier for now, albeit the direction of travel is the same as other pollsters.

  16. The majority of polls now are conducted online as opposed to 20 years ago when it was phone and door knocking.
    To conduct a poll online requires the polling company to have a much larger poll of people they can contact to get a random sample of the 1000 to 2000 voters for a poll – they need email addresses or phone numbers or whatsapp contact details or however they contact them for a poll.
    How they get that pool of contact information can bias the sample of the poll. The polling companies know this and attempt to weight their sample to reflect the supposed electorate.
    My thesis is how PeoplePolling has created their pool and weighted it has not brought it into line with the other polling companies. If you look at previous polling results from them, some have been a little off where the others have been.
    Of course, it could just be a rouge poll too. They statistical do happen. It just looks suspect that the company that is associated with GB news that throws out one with Reform surging.

    When the results are known in 2 weeks, it will really interesting to see who is closest but that does not equal to who has been right and who’s been wrong.

  17. Spectator: “Rishi Sunak just can’t catch a break. Today the Prime Minister appeared visibly frustrated that he had to answer questions about the Tory betting scandal, instead of talking about the things he wants to tell voters. He was in Wales launching the Welsh Conservatives’ manifesto, which didn’t help, as the Tory candidate most likely to hold on to their seat in Wales is, er, Craig Williams. Williams, Sunak’s PPS, is under investigation by the Gambling Commission for a £100 bet he placed on the election date. The Prime Minister had to answer questions on whether he would make Williams his aide again after the election, and why he hadn’t suspended Williams or Laura Saunders, the other candidate under investigation. He merely said: ‘There is not much more I can add to what I have said previously… What I can tell you is, as I said, if anyone is found to have broken the rules, they should not only face the full consequences of the law, but I will ensure that they are booted out of the Conservative party too.’ Other frontbenchers doing broadcast shows have also had to brace themselves about being asked whether they too were busily betting on the election date.

    Sunak has come under considerable pressure over why he didn’t suspend Williams and Saunders immediately, with Keir Starmer arguing that it showed a ‘total lack of leadership’. He added: ‘Of course, he should suspend these candidates. If they were my candidates, they would be gone by now, out of the door. You need to take tough action, but he’s not even saying today whether there’s more involved.’

    Mind you, Starmer has been struggling with his own questions about tough action. His claim last night that Jeremy Corbyn would have been a better prime minister than Boris Johnson has had a lot of attention. I take a look at what the Labour leader could have said here. It has meant that other Labour frontbenchers have had their own difficult questions to answer about Corbyn, who hasn’t featured that much in this campaign at all. Peter Kyle, for instance, had a tricky time on LBC this morning, merely saying: ‘Those were difficult days in our politics, and we each had to find our own way through it.’ Corbyn, for his part, has relished the attention, saying: ‘He was part of the shadow cabinet that agreed the manifesto, and part of the Clause V meeting who agreed the manifesto. Own it.’”

  18. While the Labour Party looks certain to win. Under the hood, the combination of rusted on conservatives and right-wing extremists might roughly match or possibly exceed the Labour vote.
    My naive thinking would be, under the FPTP system, the maximum damage to the conservatives would be when the Reform vote is roughly equal to their vote. This seems to be where the election is tracking.
    When the election was called my expectation was a solid, but not massive majority, (say 100) for Labour. Based on the presumption the conservatives would find (or invent) a flaw in Labour and, with the aid of the Murdoch media, scare enough voters back the last couple of weeks (taxes, taxes, taxes). I’d still expect a decline in the Labour vote, but if the right-wing vote is neatly split in two, it may not prevent the conservatives dropping to a double-digit number of seats.
    The result might be a huge majority for Labour but with a deeply wounded right-wing group having the largest block of voters. Still the poms love a winge, so it may well suit.

  19. Farage has been out saying that the Ukraine War is the west’s fault. Also he his previous comments attacking the King (pre-elevation) have resurfaced. Either of these things are going to appeal to the small C conservatives who are still voting Conservatives. It might appeal to the more rightwing Populist voters but Reform have already got almost all of them.

    Sunak and the other conservatives need to start pointing out the flaws in the Reform platform, as they are more likely to recover voters who are on the fence between Reform and Tory than they are appealing to voters who are on the fence between them and Labour.

  20. Re Farage / Ukraine:

    Former Nato Secretary-General and Labour MP Lord George Robertson said it well when he said in response:

    “Saying that we provoked Russia [through Nato expanding] is like saying that if you buy a burglar alarm, in some way you provoke burglars.”

    Farage will lose votes over this for sure, what a fool especially after he usurped Sunak on patriotism by being very visible in Normandy on D-Day for much longer and being at the forefront of criticism of Sunak afterwards for his early departure from same.

    It’s not actually true that Farage supports Russia, but he knows as well as anyone how this is going to be reported – plus it’s worrying that he’s even giving voice to such wrong thoughts re the West taking part of the blame for Russia’s invasion.

  21. There are two scenarios I can see happening:
    One is simply a bad beating of conservatives – they can win between 75 and 150 seats in this scenarios. They will survive as a party, take a decade or so to be look like they are suitable to take government again.

    The other is a wipe out – they get flogged to the point were they are not going to be able to recover. This is a below 100 seat scenario but the Lib Dems are able to get up to over 50 seats, Reform wins seats, the Greens win seats off the conservatives, some completely unexpected results…. What’s left of conservative MPs can’t agree on leadership and there is splits. This is a scenario where the party is self-destructs.

    I have generally been of the view that Scenario One is likely to happen. But a handful of seat level polls and the continuing national polls is suggesting the latter scenario is looking more likely. Basically every Clacton poll shows Farage winning. Wethinkpolling has polls showing the Greens winning North Herefordshire and Waveney Valley. Reform is leading the Conservatives in more than one national poll.

    So what happens in the case of Tories self-destructing? Politics naturally abhors a vacuum. They could merge with Reform, in which case a rump will split to the middle ground and will probably end up finding a home in some new party which will probably end up in an Alliance with either the Lib Dems or even the Greens. Or there could be a literally a new movement with little to no involvement of existing MPs.

  22. BS Fairman

    I wasn’t aware of those constituency level polls that WeThink had carried out, thanks.

    Not surprised re Waveney Valley, which is a new seat that retains towns such as Beccles and Bungay which have swung hard Con-Green at local council level in recent years. Labour aren’t in it much any more at local council level, although are projected to win the seat this election in most MRP polls.

    I don’t know North Herefordshire well enough to comment.

    Definitely a possibility that Greens lose their longstanding one and only flagship seat of Brighton Pavilion (I don’t think they will although they have a new candidate so no incumbency benefit any more and Lucas had a high profile) but win seats elsewhere such as these.

  23. @BTSays

    I actually live in Pavilion and the result will be tight.

    Lucas was popular in her own right but the way the Greens led the council it damaged the brand so much so that in last years local elections they lost 2/3rds of their seats (including their leaders).

    Their candidate – Sian Berry – has some issues re her address saying she lives in Brighton (she does rent a flat here) yet at the same time used her London address so enable her to stand for the Greater London Authority and get elected as their top-of-the-list candidate only to resign days later (and before Sunak called the election). It’s not a requirement for a candidate or MP to live in the constituency but it has upset a lot of people. Professing that Pavilion is her priority yet at the same time standing for the GLA and so on.

    Part of their voting bloc is seen to be students at the two Universities in the city but most students went home weeks ago at the end of term so they will have to be organised to arrange postal votes/proxies/travel back for the day. Let’s just say the minutiae of voting isn’t always their top priority – that is even if they are registered to vote here.

    I know a couple of green supporters who have told me the green manifesto has turned them off completely.

    The green leaflets have been almost devoid of policy and are basically now following the tory messages of “vote for me to stop a huge Labour majority in Parliament”

  24. The French poll will drop a few days before polling day in the UK. This is likely to lead to headlines around the rise of the far right. It might be just the kicker that some of the apathetic voters to get out to stop the rise of Reform.

    The Farage statements on the Ukrainian War have gone down like a lead balloon with the traditional Tory media. The Mail and Telegraph have both lead with it. It looks like a great own goal.

  25. There was an interesting discussion on Saturdays edition of the BBCs Newscast podcast (available via the iPlayer and BBC Sounds app and also shown on the BBC news channel) about the “don’t knows” and the “do know but aren’t sure if they’ll vote” cohorts.

    The former grouping do get included in the opinion polling figures but its the latter group that will likely have a bigger effect on the results in individual constituencies.

    From reading elsewhere it appears that Reform party voters are more certain that they will vote but there are a softer group of both Tory and Labour voters who are less certain about if they’ll turn out or not.

    How that comes out in the wash no one really knows but this differential turnout could impact a number of seats and who ultimately wins them.

    The betting scandal is still angering people and reports are that a 4th Tory is under investigation and has taken a leave of absence from the Tory Party where he is their Chief Data Officer. Given the spike in betting for a July election in the days before it was announced it’s likely more names will emerge once the Gambling Commission tracks these people down as part of its investigation.

    Michael Gove has said it’s as bad as the partygate scandal.

  26. Chris C

    Brighton Pavilion: interesting, and I’m not surprised if it’s tight.

    That said, I do agree with the Greens’ political strategy of emphasising that Labour are going to win regardless because it makes it safe for people to vote Green knowing the Tories will be voted out anyway.

    Had it been a closer election nationally between Tories and Labour, I would definitely have expected Labour to take Pavilion this time, esp with Lucas retiring.

    Sian Berry is one of the former co-leaders I believe.

  27. I actually think Labour vote would have softened / shrunk further and a mild increase in Con vote would have taken place, had it not been for the betting scandal.

    People don’t need to read much about it to ‘get it’ and it sticks in the mind, especially at a ‘cost of living’ election.

    It’s not a scandal for Sunak personally, and he can only hope his more optimistic messages still get air time, and express his anger over ‘bet-gate’ each time he’s asked about it.

    I think a lot of Con candidates are raging mad with their foolish colleagues.

    The irony of it is that they probably only did it for a bit of fun given the tiny sums involved, rather than to make a fortune – no-one was going to get rich or send a bookie bust – but that doesn’t change the principle and people’s resentment. Boy how they regret it now they’ve been found out.

  28. Most categories of election bets generally have a limit on how much the bookie will let you place on the category. The exception is generally the overall come out where they will take as much as you are willing to put down. So for example, when I was backing individual seats at the last Australian federal election with one of my bookies, it was $200 or so. So I suspect the people laying bets on the timing were maxing out – they would have bet more if they could.

Comments Page 2 of 2
1 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *