Boris Johnson on course for 68-seat majority as Labour faces wipeout, major new poll finds
Boris Johnson is on course for a 68-seat majority by snatching seats in Labour's heartlands, a major new poll has found.
YouGov unveiled the findings of its constituency-by-constituency multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) model, which predicted a hung Parliament 10 days before the 2017 election.
In a huge boost for the Prime Minister, the poll shows the Tories picking up 44 seats from Labour while Jeremy Corbyn's party is on track to lose 51 seats overall.
According to the pollster, the Conservatives are set to win 359 seats - up 42 on their 2017 result - with Labour plummeting to just 211.
The Liberal Democrats are meanwhile on course to make a net gain of just one seat, taking them to 13 MPs overall, while the SNP are predicted make eight gains, leaving them dominant in Scotland with 43 MPs.
Labour-held seats expected to fall to the Tory wave include the West Bromwich East constituency formerly held by deputy leader Tom Watson and Caroline Flint's Don Valley seat.
Other big Labour names who could be ousted include Dennis Skinner, John Cruddas and Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird.
YouGov finds that most seats set to change hands in the 12 December election are ones that Labour won in 2017, with Mr Corbyn's party currently trailing the Tories in 43 of the 76 constituencies where they led the Conservatives by fewer than 8,000 votes at the last election.
The model suggests that Mr Johnson will benefit from much larger swings in seats where voters opted heavily in favour of leaving the EU in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
But Mr Corbyn's party is on course to hold on to seats in southern, Remain-backing parts of the country where the party made gains in 2017, including Battersea, Portsmouth South and Canterbury.
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats are on track to lose every candidate who defected to the party in the last Parliament despite their share of the vote jumping from 8% in 2017 to 14% this time around.
While the party will gain one seat overall, the YouGov study finds that it will sacrifice Leave-supporting seats including Eastbourne and North Norfolk.
Independent candidates Anna Soubry, David Gauke, Gavin Shuker, Frank Field and Dominic Grieve are also on course to lose their seats, the pollster finds.
Commenting on the new study, YouGov's political research manager Chris Curtis said: "YouGov’s official election MRP model currently shows the Tories with a comfortable majority with almost all of those coming at the expense of Labour in the North and Midlands.
"As expected, the key thing deciding the extent to which each of these seats is moving against Labour are how that seat voted in the European Union referendum. In the seats that voted most strongly to Leave in 2016 (60% or more in favour of departing the EU), the swing to the Conservatives is over 6%.
"This is allowing the Tories to overturn quite substantial majorities in places like West Bromwich East, the seat held until recently by Tom Watson, and Don Valley, the seat currently held by Caroline Flint."
He added: "The only silver lining for Labour is that there are still 30 seats where it is currently 5% or less behind the Tories. If it can manage to squeeze the gap over the coming fortnight it may be able to paste over the cracks in their so-called Red Wall. But with just two weeks to go, time is running out for Labour.”
The major study came as the Prime Minister's most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, urged the Conservatives not to be complacent.
In a lengthy blog post, the former Vote Leave strategist said: "You will see many polls in the coming days. Some will say Boris will win. Trust me, as someone who has worked on lots of campaigns, things are MUCH tighter than they seem and there is a very real possibility of a hung parliament,” he said. “Without a majority, the nightmare continues. ALL other MPs will gang together to stop Brexit and give EU citizens the vote. It’s that simple.”
And he added: "The most useful thing most people can do is make the time to speak to friends and family and explain why you will vote for Boris and why you think any other move means a Corbyn-Sturgeon alliance controlling Downing Street, which would be a disaster."
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“The much awaited YouGov MRP has given the prediction that most people expected – a majority for the Tories. A forecast of 350 is in line with Star Sports’ expectations for the Tories, who are 5/6 (54.64%) to win 349 or more seats following the poll. That’s a sizeable lead, and corresponds pretty well with the market expectations for a Tory majority (Star bet 4/11, or 73.53%, that there’s a Conservative majority). However, there’s still all to play for. James Morris, the MD of Edelman and former Labour pollster, estimated that there are 67 seats were no more than five points separated Labour and the Conservatives – in other words, all of the majority is still there to play for. Markets aren’t sold on Labour winning the most seats (12/1, 7.69%) or a majority (28/1, or 4.35%) but on that evidence the chance is still there to deprive the Conservatives of a majority.
"The Lib Dems will be disappointed with their showing, piling up a number of second places behind predicted Tory wins, and Star go evens (50%) that they win between 10 and 19 seats, and 5/6 (54.64%) that they win less than 17 seats, which would be a disappointing return for Jo Swinson. The SNP won’t be happy at the idea of a Tory Majority, and will hope to take more of the 13 seats that the Tories hold in Scotland, but a predicted gain of eight seats at this point is a strong performance, especially in a country where 40 of the 59 seats are marginal. Star go 3/1 (25%) they can win 50 or more seats and some punters will still back that outcome.”
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