Typical. On the very day I confidently pronounced that Labour didn’t have a hope in hell of winning next week’s election, based on polling evidence, YouGov launched its election prediction model with the shock news that we’re heading for a hung Parliament and Tory losses. Their model also provides the first relatively solid evidence for voting intentions in Cornwall (although based on a state-wide methodology).
As of today YouGov is predicting four likely Conservative wins in Cornwall and two safe Tory constituencies. In every seat, the Tories are comfortably ahead by more than ten points. There is however a wide margin of error in YouGov’s estimates, as they admit. Thus on a good day, they’re suggesting that the Lib Dem vote in St Ives could be as high as 41% (an increase of 8% on 2015). But on a bad day for the Lib Dems it could slump as low as 25%. And, given that Derek Thomas’s equivalent range at the 95% confidence level is 38-51% Andrew George needs a very good day to sneak past him.
Here are the current details of YouGov’s predictions for Cornwall (estimated % of support and change on 2015).
|St Ives||Camborne||Truro||St Austell||North||South East|
|Con||45 (+7)||50 (+10)||45 (+1)||50 (+10)||47 (+2)||56 (+5)|
|Lib Dem||33 (nc)||11 (-1)||19 (+2)||23 (-1)||33 (+2)||21 (+4)|
|Labr||23 (+14)||37 (+12)||28 (+13)||27 (+17)||17 (+12)||20 (+11)|
|Green||3 (-3)||4 (-5)||3 (-2)|
The big surprise has to be the rise in the Labour vote, which is very bad news indeed for Lib Dem strategists hoping to squeeze that vote. In fact, in Truro & Falmouth and St Austell & Newquay YouGov is suggesting that Labour will come second and even in South East Cornwall, it’s a very close thing, with Lib Dems and Labour tied on around 20% each. Is this really likely? It’s perhaps possible in Truro & Falmouth, where Labour are well organised in Falmouth and Penryn. It’s difficult to imagine an improvement of 17% in the Labour vote in St Austell & Newquay. And it would be a historic first and a symbolic end to Cornish Liberalism if Labour were to edge out the Lib Dems in the South East.
Nonetheless, however sceptical we might remain and however much weight we might give to the ‘local factors’ that YouGov ignore, there are implications here for those being swayed by the calls to vote ‘tactically’. Keep an eye on YouGov’s model, which they tell us will be updated daily. Things may yet change radically in the week left before the election. If you’re considering your postal vote I should hold off until the last moment possible.
Moreover, there’s another far less scientific ‘poll’ that might give a little more credibility to YouGov’s predictions for Cornwall. More on that tomorrow.