It’s not looking fantastic for the Conservatives just three weeks out from the General Election, with YouGov giving Labour a three-point buffer in their latest findings and Prime Minister David Cameron’s crowd missing out on an outright lead with the pollsters for the fourth day running.
However, there are a few contradictions at present, with the Guardian/ICM’s most recent numbers giving the Tories a whopping six-point lead, while the party’s former chairman Michael Ashcroft’s polls put them neck-and-neck with Labour.
The Guardian/ICM’s effort must be an outlier given no other firm has the Tories ahead at present, but with aggregated polls suggesting they’ll snag around 280 seats in May, Ladbrokes’ 10/11 about Cameron’s crowd making it past 283.5 should be snapped up.
Most ‘independent’ politics watchers would have expected the Tories to have benefited from an incumbency bounce at this stage of the campaign, especially given the relatively kind economic headwinds.
That hasn’t yet happened, but with the Liberal Democrats disappearing down a black hole after a number of dreadful miscalculations in coalition government, trebling tuition fees and supporting the ‘Bedroom Tax’ being two prime examples, Cameron’s lot will fancy picking up a few of the yellows’ strongholds, such as Torbay, Eastleigh and Eastbourne.
If the Tories manage to gain between five and 10 constituencies from their coalition partners it will be hard to see them losing more than 30 elsewhere, with the Blues looking likely to hang on in marginals such as Blackpool North and Cleveleys, Boston and Skegness, and Battersea.
They currently hold 302 seats in the House of Commons and are certainly being tipped to lose a few, but under 283.5 looks unlikely for a party that can only cede one in Scotland due to the SNP’s surge, with a weekend poll suggesting Nicola Sturgeon’s crowd have broken through the 50% barrier for support.
Ukip will cause much Tory anxiety when May 7th arrives, but with Nigel Farage’s purple ‘People’s Army’ only favourites in three of the 650 constituencies, they’ll be more noise than representation once the polls close.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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