Electoral Reform Society correctly predict 316/316 safe seat General Election results

Posted on the 16th December 2019

  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society, for immediate release, 16th December.
  • Contact Jon Narcross on [email protected]/ 07794728820 for interview requests or further info/data
  • Full data available here– including by region and party

The Electoral Reform Society correctly predicted the result in half of Britain’s constituencies before the election, following analysis released last week.

The Society achieved a 100% prediction success across last week’s predictions in 316 ‘one-party seats’, which represent 50% of Britain’s total (i.e excluding Northern Ireland).

Over 16,000,000 votes were cast in the 316 seats represents 51.6% of all votes in Great Britain.

In England alone, the ERS correctly predicted the outcome in 300 seats – 56% of the total – covering 22,007,281 potential voters.

The ERS say this ‘scourge of safe seats’ is made worse by Westminster’s winner-takes-all voting system.

In 2010 and 2015, the ERS predicted the result in over half of seats with around 99% accuracy [1]. Despite reported ‘volatility’ this election, the Society could still accurately predict the outcome in the majority of England’s seats.

The focus on swing seats can be seen by the parties campaigning in the election period. New analysis published last week found just one in four people (25%) in safe seats report receiving four or more election leaflets/communications compared to almost half (46%) of those in swing seats, according to extensive BMG analysis for the Society [2].

Pre-election research by the ERS has found that nearly 200 seats had not changed hands since World War II – a ‘damning indictment’ of Westminster’s winner-takes-all system [3].

The Society are calling for proportional representation following ‘warped results and an unjust majority’ in last week’s election.

Recent polling revealed that just 16 percent of the public believe politics is working well in the UK – and only 2 percent feel they have a significant influence over decision-making [4].

GB wide: 316 seats classed as safe (50% of total) – 22,922,490 potential voters in these seats

Figures by party

  • 204 seats safe for Conservatives (32% of total MPs / 64% of 2017 Con seats – 15,178,210 potential voters in these seats
  • 104 seats safe for Labour (16% of total / 40% of 2017 Lab seats) 7,208,558 potential voters in these seats
  • 4 seats safe for SNP (11% of 2017 SNP seats) – 264,836 potential voters in these seats
  • 1 seat safe for Lib Dems (1% of 2017 LD seats) – 80,215 potential voters in this seat
  • 1 seat safe for Greens (100% of 2017 Green seats) – 69,889 potential voters in this seat
  • 1 seat safe for Plaid Cymru (25% of 2017 seats) – 42,982 potential voters in this seat
  • 1 seat safe for Speaker N/A – 77,800 potential voters in this seat

Figures by region (sorted by highest % of seats safe, out of region’s total)

  • Eastern England: 45 seats classed as safe (78% of E total) – 3,398,009 potential voters in these seats
  • South East: 55 seats classed as safe (65% of SE total) – 4,209,510 potential voters live in these seats
  • London: 45 seats classed as safe (62% of London total) – 3,279,855 potential voters live in these seats
  • East Midlands: 28 seats classed as safe (61% of EM total) – 2,085,374 potential voters in these seats
  • South West: 33 seats classed as safe (60% of SW total) – 2,475,168 potential voters live in these seats
  • West Midlands: 34 seats classed as safe (58% of WM total) – 2,390,873 potential voters in these seats
  • North West: 31 safe seats (41% of NW total) – 2,188,926 potential voters in these seats
  • Yorkshire & Humber: 19 safe seats (35% of Y&H total) – 1,364,108 potential voters in these seats
  • North East: 10 safe seats (34% of NE total) – 557,914 potential voters in these seats

Wales had just 12 seats classed as safe (30% of Wales total), with 650,373 potential voters live in these seats. Scotland had just 4 (7% of Scotland total), with 264,836 potential voters in these seats.

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society said:

“Long before a single vote was cast, the results in hundreds of seats across the country were already a foregone conclusion. Westminster’s warped voting system writes off real competition.

“For all the talk of electoral ‘volatility’, for millions of voters, it must have felt as if there was barely an election at all. The change we saw relied on less than 80 ‘swing’ seats that hold the keys to Number 10.

“In correctly predicting the outcome in 316 seats – half of constituencies in Britain – it’s clear that the electoral system is stale, out-dated and only serves to alienate voters.

“If we switched to a democratic, proportional voting system, where seats in Parliament match how we vote, elections would be far more competitive – and millions of voters in these ‘one-party seats’ would find a voice. Parties should have to listen to voters everywhere.

“It’s time for a voting system where every vote counts equally, no matter where you are.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Full data available here, including by region and party.

Methodology: The ERS analysed data from when seats last changed party hands, alongside YouGov’s respected MRP polling model. In 2010 and 2015 we correctly predicted the outcome in around 99% of the hundreds of results we predicted before polling day.  

[1] https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/do-you-live-in-a-safe-seat/

[2] The question asked was: 
During the 2019 general election campaign so far, have you received an election leaflet, letter or flyer through your door from a political party or candidate?

  • No – I’ve not received any election leaflets, letters or flyers
  • Yes – I’ve received between one and three election leaflets, letters or flyers
  • Yes – I’ve received between four and nine election leaflets, letters or flyers
  • Yes – I’ve received ten or more election leaflets, letters or flyers
  • Summary: Yes

[3] https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/media-centre/press-releases/revealed-nearly-200-seats-havent-changed-hands-since-world-war-ii/ 

[4] https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/media-centre/press-releases/bmg-poll-just-one-in-six-people-believe-westminster-is-working-well/

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