Labour losing support on three fronts
In Warning Signs for Labour, Chris Hanretty uses the latest release of the British Election Study to understand who the “new” Conservative voters are, given the consistent rise in Tory support. Hanretty forecasts the constituencies where this support will show up, addressing some of the weaknesses in current polling methodology discussed in our recent post on How Polls Work, such as applying a national poll swing to individual seats.
The results are not good for Labour. While the Tories may lose some support in seats they currently hold, this is offset by gains in Labour held constituencies. Furthermore, Labour is losing additional vote share as they leak Remain votes to the Lib Dems and Leave votes to UKIP, which could spell electoral disaster for the party.
Is Wales the new Scotland?
The FT looks at the changing political landscape in Wales and points to one of the harder-to-predict and thus more interesting battlegrounds in this election. The article suggests that the 2017 general election could be as catastrophic for Labour in Wales as it was for Scottish Labour in 2015. The state of schools and other public services, alongside a “new nationalism” that could see Plaid Cymru gaining ground, are cited as reasons for this potential shift.
What are the chances of a Le Pen victory in France?
Over in France, there has been speculation that Marine Le Pen could win the second round of the Presidential election. An unusually solid support base means that the National Front candidate stands a chance of winning, even if less than half the electorate support her candidacy. What matters is turnout, specifically whether Le Pen’s supporters turn out in significantly greater numbers than those of her rival Emmanuel Macron.
Nate Silver dismisses the idea of a Le Pen victory, arguing that pundits tend to have poor intuition when it comes to translating polls into probabilities. Macron is currently leading Le Pen by 26 percentage points in polls, greater even than the Conservatives 19-point lead announced in the latest ICM / Guardian poll. Whilst a 26-point error in French polling would be unprecedented, Silver points out that there could still be an error margin as large as 18-points.
We should remember that unprecedented things do happen - just ask a Leicester City or New England Patriots fan. But as it stands, the chances of either a Le Pen or a Labour victory seem to be as likely as one of those events.