UK general election minus ten days

Labour remains over 20 points ahead with Reform surging. Also covered: the French parliamentary elections on June 30 and July 7, the US election and the final European parliament results.

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 national polls has Labour on 41.9% (down 1.0 since last Monday’s article), the Conservatives on 21.4% (down 0.9), the far-right Reform on 15.0% (up 1.4), the Liberal Democrats on 10.9% (up 0.6) and the Greens on 5.7% (steady).

Most individual polls have Reform between 16% and 19%, within a few points of overtaking the Conservatives for second place. The most spectacular poll in the last week was a People Polling poll that had Labour on 35%, Reform on 24% and the Conservatives on 15%. While other polls have had Reform just ahead or tied with the Conservatives, no other poll has been close to People Polling’s numbers.

The Electoral Calculus site has lower vote shares for Labour and the Conservatives than The Guardian (39.5% Labour, 19.9% Conservative) and higher Reform and Lib Dem votes (17.8% Reform, 11.6% Lib Dems). But with first past the post, the forecast is for Labour to win 457 of the 650 House of Commons seats, to 76 for the Conservatives, 66 for the Lib Dems, 22 for the Scottish National Party, just three for Reform and two for the Greens.

Labour remains ahead of the SNP in Scottish polls, which represents a big swing to Labour and against the SNP since the 2019 election in Scotland. If replicated at the election, Labour will make large seat gains in Scotland, where they won just one of 59 seats in 2019.

There are two recent seat polls of Clacton, which Reform leader Nigel Farage is contesting. Both polls have Farage easily winning, with a 15-point lead in Survation and a 27-point lead in JL Partners. The Conservatives won 71.9% in Clacton in 2019, but are in the 20s in these two polls, with Farage in the 40s. A seat poll in PM Rishi Sunak’s seat has Sunak leading Labour by 39-28 with 18% for Reform, so Sunak should hold his seat.

French election: Far-right National Rally likely to win most seats

The French parliamentary election will be held on June 30 (first round) and July 7 (runoffs). In first round polls, the far-right National Rally (RN) and its allies are in the mid-30s, the left-wing alliance of four parties (NFP) is in the high-20s, President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble is just over 20% and the conservative Republicans are on about 8%.

This means that Ensemble are likely to be eliminated from the runoffs in the large majority of the 577 seats, which will be RN vs NFP contests. Seat forecasts suggest RN will win about 250 seats, short of the 289 needed for a majority. A poll of hypothetical runoff contests had RN beating NFP by 41-33 but losing to Ensemble by 40-37, implying that if Ensemble could make the final two, RN would do much worse.

US: Biden closes on Trump ahead of debate

The US general election will be held on November 5. There will be a debate hosted by CNN between Joe Biden and Donald Trump this Thursday (Friday at 11am AEST). Biden has moved ahead of Trump by 0.3% in the last week in the FiveThirtyEight national aggregate, reversing a one-point Trump lead previously. Biden has also gained in the key states that will decide the Electoral College, with Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania effectively tied. Biden needs to win all three of these states for a 270-268 EC win.

Near-final European parliament election result

There were 720 total seats for the European parliament election that was held June 6-9 by proportional representation in the various countries, up 15 seats from the post-Brexit European parliament. The conservative European People’s Party won 189 seats (up two since 2019 adjusted for Brexit), the centre-left Socialists and Democrats 136 (down 12), the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists 83 (up 21), the liberal Renew 74 (down 23), the far-right Identity and Democracy 58 (down 18), the Greens 51 (down 16), the far-left 39 (down one) and all Others 90 (up 54). The Others group includes far-right parties that were expelled or resigned from other groups, such as Germany’s Alternative for Germany and Hungary’s governing Fidesz.

87 comments on “UK general election minus ten days”

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  1. BTSayssays:
    Tuesday, June 25, 2024 at 9:23 pm
    Toronto – St Pauls

    “The Liberal Party deployed heavy hitters like deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland and a dozen other cabinet ministers to the riding to shore up Church’s support but, in the end, it wasn’t enough.

    Voters in the riding told CBC News throughout the campaign that the government’s handling of the housing crisis, inflation and the Israel-Hamas conflict were sore spots.

    But it wasn’t just about the issues — a number of voters expressed a desire for change and fatigue with Trudeau.

    Even past and present Liberal supporters told CBC News Trudeau should resign as leader if the party loses this one-time ruby red Liberal seat.”

    Conservative Don Stewart 15,555 42.1 % (+16.8%)
    Liberal Leslie Church 14,965 40.5 % (-8.7%)

    Thumbs up emoji

  2. BTSayssays:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2024 at 3:44 pm
    The whole way the media operate stinks, whatever side of politics you are on. They have their agendas, and the truth is merely a tool that can be used if to their advantage.

    I’m sure this is a global truth, not merely a UK one.

    I fully agree with that sentiment.
    Every media outlet has their agenda.
    Media gave/give more importance to opinion pieces and click baits/ TV ratings than actual reporting. Even public broadcasters have fallen for that trend.

    They will find someone, who is critical of the party they want critical to be, and project it as the majority view and try to mould the topic to their agenda.
    Because of this, increasingly the party needs to find a leader, who has cut through message like Daniel Andrews.

    The media has become a player/ insider instead of holding ‘truth tothepower’.

  3. “If the conservatives are reduced to a rump of 100, they will have to change the leadership rules. Currently, only backbenchers can call for a leadership change. There is about 70 opposition front bench positions. So that would leave only a few handfuls of MPs who could be the ones to decide if there leadership contest.”

    The rules were specifically changed for the last leadership election to increase the numbers of nominations needed in order to reduce the field for MPs to vote on and then going to the members ballot.

    Front benchers are able to nominate in leadership elections. What they don’t overtly do is send in no confidence letters to trigger one but I don’t believe there is a bar on them doing so.

    Depending on how many Tory MPs are the 1922 committee will soon change the threshold back to a much reduced number to reflect the actual number of MPs they have.

  4. This election just feels truly bizarre. The conservatives are giving off vibes of falling to pieces like a wet newspaper that has been soaked in the rain. Normally governing parties can have a smell of death about them, but this has a feel like their entire civilisation is about to be wiped off the face of earth.

    Sunak has truly proven to be the Toffee-coloured Toff that one British Asian friend told me he would be. There had been discussion that his ethnic background might allow him to connect to different parts of the British electorate, but if anything it has made him seem completely aloof.

    Starmer will go down as one of the luckiest leaders in political history. All he has been required to do is keep the ship on steady keel and he is going get probably the largest majority in 120 years. As Napoleon said he did need the brightest Generals, he needed them to be lucky.

    Reform is likely to perform in a way that means they are not going to disappear off the scene anytime soon, so that is likely to cause the Tories more strife for years to come. It would not be unexpected if some of the more Right wing Tories defect post election if they can see a better future with them.

  5. It is, respectfully, quite misleading to refer to Reform as being “far-right”. If it be necessary to select a pejorative term, “populist” would be much more apt. None of Reform’s policies could, on any considered view, be regarded as being “far-right” whether in the context of British politics or by analogy with Australia.

  6. @B.S. Fairman at 7:48pm

    That’s true. I think Jonathan Pie said that if polling is accurate, Reform is going to be the runner-up candidate in many of the seats that Labour is going to win this time around, especially in the “red wall” seats.

    If the incoming Labour government fails to turn things around by the time the next election is due in 2029, then they’ll lose a lot of them to Reform. Very small chance of actually losing their majority if they get 400+ seats though, but then that’ll realign UK politics if Reform replaces the Tories as the opposition.

    But following that in the next election due by 2034, I believe Nigel Farage’s age will be starting to go against him. He’ll be 70 then, and I recall talk that he is a heavy alcohol drinker, so, that’s going against the long-term plan for Reform, unless a successor is able to rise up through the ranks in time.

    With UKIP/Brexit/Reform, only someone like Farage has been able to bring the charisma needed for the success of such parties and movements. I mean from a certain angle he resembles King George VI. That’s a problem he shares with Trump, there’s nobody in the rabble in his movement that can replace him.

  7. French Election – Just a thought I had earlier – I am struggling to understand why Macron did not wait 3 months until after the Olympics and summer, when people might be feeling good about the country?

  8. In other world political news, there seems to have been a failed coup attempt in Bolivia today.

    Bolivia’s President Luis Arce appears to have seen off an attempt to topple his leftwing government after a dramatic afternoon in which heavily armed troops, seemingly commanded by a top army general, stormed the government palace before beating a retreat and seeing their alleged leader detained.

    On Wednesday afternoon Arce urged citizens to take to the streets to defend the country’s democracy from an apparent coup attempt, after troops seized control of a central square in La Paz which houses government buildings.

  9. Polls in the UK for the past couple of days seem to have shown that Reform’s climb in vote intention seem to have stopped for the time being, averaging at a bit over 15% after its peak average of 17% last week.

  10. There was a Special Election in Colorado’s 4th congressional district yesterday as well. Unfortunately for the Democrats, there was no swing to them, results being about the same as they were in 2022.

    2022 Result: 61-37 Republican
    2024 (Special) Result: 58-35 Republican

    The new member Greg Lopez will serve out the remainder of former member Ken Buck’s term, until he will be presumably replaced by Lauren Boebert after winning the primary for this safe Republican seat (unless she stuffs up so badly that she loses to the Democratic candidate Trisha Calvarese in November).

    Interestingly Greg Lopez did not run in the primary for the seat at the general election.

  11. Another big election coming up this week is the Iran Presidential election, dated tomorrow no less.

    It seems it’s going to be a close one, with the top 3 candidates these three men.

    Also notably the Iran Supreme Council vetoed former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from contesting the election.

  12. Bolivia – The army general in Bolivia who has been arrested is claiming he was instructed to stage the coup by the president himself as a way of boosting his own status which was flagging.

    UK – Reform’s advance has stalled probably as a combination of factors. But I think Farage’s stance on the Ukrainian war has resulted in a lot of people looking more closely at what they actually stand for.

    France – It will interesting to see what the centre does after the first round.

  13. Reform Party

    I think the ‘best alternative to Con and Lab in the UK’ vote has boomeranged back to Lib Dem from Reform since Farage’s Russia comments and the media dropping coverage of him like a stone.

    Lib Dem are back very much on the up, and Reform very much on the down, though some polls show Reform down only by 1% so it doesn’t look terminal – though terminal for their chances of finishing 2nd in vote share ahead of Conservatives, and terminal for their chance of winning a truly substantial number of seats.

  14. Green Party look set to gain multiple seats in the UK for the first time, and as they are not paying attention the media will demonstrate great surprise as to where those seats are come election night.

  15. In the 2nd and final H2H debate last night between Sunak and Starmer, Sunak basically won hands down in my view.

    Though he spoilt it with a weaker last part where he overplayed his hand with his interruptions being less appropriate and cumulatively annoying by then; and needed not have brought up immigration again having already scored the clear win on the topic.

    Starmer was positively flustered from start to finish, he was honestly flummoxed and left on the ropes on multiple points especially big ones such as tax/pensions/immigration. Sunak won on the economy overall, though less strongly.

    If only a large number of people had actually been watching, Labour would be falling fast in the polls. But as they weren’t, they won’t. (2.9m peak – Portugal vs Georgia peak 6.1m)

    Audience was MUCH more balanced than the far left lot at the 7-way debate I watched – both guys got various claps (and boos), more reflective of their actual performance (hence Sunak got the most) than the party they represent this time. Seemed like more genuinely undecideds.

    Amazing though this is given this is the BBC, I thought if anything she was harder on Starmer than Sunak – though pretty good basically.

  16. The candidate debates don’t matter most of the time. The only people who watch are those seriously interested in politics and the overwhelming majority have already made up their minds a long time ago. Only if someone fluffs it badly do people really pay attention.

    They mattered in 2010 because they were novel in the context of Britain so that was why over 10 million watched. And it was the first time that the Leader of Lib Dems was put at the same level as the Tories and Labour. Cleggs performance briefly put the Lib Dems in the polling lead.

    The fact that viewing figures are so low suggests that the public has already made up their mind. Also Sunak and Starmer are quite “boring”.

  17. France

    It’s fascinating to see the stark contrast between France and UK polls for their respective general elections.

    France’s are incredibly stable with only incremental little movements from poll to poll – and only small differences between different pollsters.

    Whereas UK show a much wider range between pollsters, and even in different polls from the same pollster. Other than being able to say that Labour will win with a large majority, it’s very, very hard to predict seat numbers even in the right ballpark with any degree of certainty.

  18. BT, it’s good for there to be a variety in polls as it shows they’re not “herding”. This happens when many pollsters have very similar vote shares, and means a big poll error is more likely.

    The We Think poll was conducted Thur and Fri, after the Sunak Starmer debate Wed night. It has Labour leading the Tories by 42-20 (43-22 in the last We Think poll on 20-21 June. Reform is up three to 16% and the Lib Dems up two to 10%.

  19. Adrian – Are you going to cover the French results on Monday morning?

    UK Elections – I was quite bored in the middle of last night and ended up watching some of the coverage from the 1997 results. The Portillo moment seems to have been made into a bigger moment than it was at the time; the fact that he had lost was known for about 20 minutes before the announcement. (The other odd thing was how all the clothing looks a little dated but not wildly out of place).

    EU elections – Looks like the European Parliament might get a new grouping called the “Sovereignists” which which contain Far Right wing parties like AfD that I&D don’t even want to be in a grouping with. To create a new group requires 23 MEPs from 7 nations. If this does occur there will be 3 hard Right groupings (ECR, I&D and the new group). Grouping gives access to more benefits than being in the Non-Descript category.

  20. @Fair Comment: Their 2024 platform ticks virtually every “far-right” box there is. So, Reform is a ‘far-right’ party.

    Tax breaks on private schooling.
    Ending public support for the BBC due to “institutional bias” against Reform.
    ‘Zero-tolerance’ policing, plus massive funding increases for cops.
    Partly privatising the NHS.
    Massive boosts to defence funding – from 2.3% of GDP to 3.0%.
    A “patriotic curriculum”, requiring that examples of slavery and/or imperialism be non-British.
    Anti-transgender policies, including a ban on discussing transgenderism in schools and forbidding any support for gender-questioning students.
    Freezing almost all immigration.
    Punishing businesses which hire foreigners as workers.
    Scrapping anti-emissions targets & policies, and forbidding local governments from establishing similar policies on a local level.
    Repudiating human rights conventions.
    Immediate, massive corporate tax cuts, with more to come.
    Cuts to/removal of welfare options for working-age people.

    It’s a laundry list of 21st-century Fascist policies.

  21. I have a friend who knows Marine Le Pen. Went to school with her. She is not going to vote for her. I wonder if the Tour starting on the same day will have any impact on turn out.

  22., the New Yorker talks of a ‘w[]ipeout’ election

    “After fourteen years of Conservative – damage limitation election, surprise, surprise, the have nots are worse off – rule, how will [renewedly centrist, with carefully triangulated policies they don’t seem to actually believe in] Labour pick up the pieces?”

    “As things stand, [Sir Keir Starmer’s] Labour could win a similar proportion of the popular vote as Corbyn’s did in 2017, but, instead of losing the election, it could sweep to a record-breaking majority in the House of Commons. Because of Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system, the smaller parties are all over the place. [Formerly UKI, Nigel] Farage’s Reform UK could take fifteen per cent of the national vote but end up with as few as five M.P.s; the Liberal Democrats, with a smaller vote share, could take around sixty. The Scottish National Party, for reasons of its own, is in free fall. The over-all likelihood is that Labour will win a mandate that is enormous and fragile at the same time—an electoral sandcastle. Many of Britain’s underlying tensions—disaffection surrounding the failure of Brexit[, the pain of Wuflu/ Covid-19 with restrictions on the common so not the special and their privileges], the cost of living, high levels of immigration, and politicians in general—will remain untouched.”

  23. From the big MRP polls, the UK Greens are looking competitive in 4 seats. First one is Brighton Pavilion (which they already hold), second is Bristol Central in SW England, which they look like they’ll pick up from Labour, third is Waveney Valley in the East of England, where it seems like they’ll come out best in this Conservative seat in a 4-way contest between the Tories, Reform and Labour, and the fourth is North Herefordshire in the West Midlands, again another Tory seat with a tough 4-way contest.

  24. French Election – Turnout at Noon is 25.9%. This compares to 19% at same time last time. Turnout is up so far. Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

    UK Election – Sunday Times is the first Murdoch owned paper to back Labour in a very long time. Newspaper endorsements however mean diddle squat.

  25. @Kirsdarke (from previous thread)

    “From the big MRP polls, the UK Greens are looking competitive in 4 seats. First one is Brighton Pavilion (which they already hold), second is Bristol Central in SW England, which they look like they’ll pick up from Labour, third is Waveney Valley in the East of England, where it seems like they’ll come out best in this Conservative seat in a 4-way contest between the Tories, Reform and Labour, and the fourth is North Herefordshire in the West Midlands, again another Tory seat with a tough 4-way contest.”

    It’s quite feasible they don’t win the contests with Labour (Brighton and Bristol) but counter-intuitively win the much more right-wing seats of Waveney Valley and North Herefordshire.

    This might actually be good for the Green Party (and the UK as a whole) long-term, if more moderate leadership that is not such rabid loony left has some success esp in Tory seats. It might help the Green Party to become a more mature, broader church party with more balanced policies. They are obviously bonkers policies at this election costings-wise, but you have that luxury when you are not likely to win more than a handful of seats.

  26. @Democracy Sausage (from previous thread)

    “According to the Guardian, the Liberal Democrats are going after supposedly safe Tory seats in the South of England, including of course Jeremy Hunt’s constituency.”

    There’s nothing safe about these seats since 2017, don’t be deceived by Boris’s majority in 2019.

    Lib Dems will win dozens of such seats and be very much a Southern England party with a few other MPs dotted around, notably Scotland.

    They will win probably every seat that Davey has visited – not because he’s visited exactly, but because he has good intel telling him exactly what seats are competitive for them.

  27. Oh, and btw I’m sure The Sun will endorse Starmer.

    It will be less nuanced and caveated than the Sunday Times endorsement. Tabloids don’t do nuance.

    So it will hit the news more when they do – but there’s also a lot of people not a fan of The Sun or of Murdoch, though he’s not talked about as much as it seems he is in Australia (as a native of Oz, perhaps not surprising).

    You can certainly count me in this category of “not a fan”.

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