Electoral Reform Society predict the election result in half of seats in Britain

Posted on the 11th December 2019

Society had 99% prediction success rate in 2010 and 2015.

  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society, for immediate release, 11th December
  • Contact Josiah Mortimer on [email protected] / 07717211630 for bids.
  • Full data available here – including by region and party

The Electoral Reform Society have predicted the election result in half of Britain’s constituencies, days before polling day.

In new analysis, the democracy organisation describes 316  seats as ‘one party seats’ (50% of Britain’s total, i.e. excluding Northern Ireland).

Nearly 23m voters in Britain are in these ‘competition free zones’, according to the ERS.

In England alone, 300 seats as safe – 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].

The findings come after the ERS wrote to party leaders urging them to make proportional representation a red line in the event of a hung parliament [2].

Polling by BMG Research has found that 30% of voters plan to ‘hold their nose’ on Thursday and vote tactically [3].

Recent research by the ERS has found that nearly 200 seats have not changed hands since World War II – a ‘damning indictment’ of Westminster’s winner-takes-all system [4]. YouGov’s analysis suggests that under 10% of seats are likely to change hands on Thursday.

And polling launched last week 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 [5].

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

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

“While we don’t know who’ll form the next government yet, we do know this: in hundreds of seats across the country, the result feels like a foregone conclusion.

“This election is being fought in the handful of ‘swing’ seats that hold the keys to Number 10. Meanwhile, millions of people in Britain’s one-party seats feel like there’s almost no election at all.

“Some of these constituencies are so secure that we’re confidently predicting the outcome in 316 seats – half of constituencies in Britain. That means 23 million potential voters are in seats highly unlikely to change hands.

“If we switched to a democratic, proportional voting system, where seats in Parliament match how we vote, elections would be far more competitive – and your voice would always be heard.

“It’s time for a voting system where every vote counts equally, no matter where you are. We call on all parties to make PR a red line issue in the event of a hung parliament.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Full data available here, including by region and party: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Copy-of-Definition-of-seats-as-safe-or-marginal-for-polling-question-on-election-material-received_final_for-Comms_v2.xlsx

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] https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/media-centre/press-releases/campaigners-urge-parties-to-make-truly-fair-elections-a-red-line-in-hung-parliament/

[3] https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/media-centre/press-releases/poll-reveals-record-breaking-30-of-public-plan-to-vote-tactically-in-general-election/

[4] 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/ 

[5] 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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