Labour set for big majority: see the result of every seat
Stonehaven’s latest MRP model provides our first detailed forecast of how tactical voting will shape the next election.
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The headline result is clear: our model shows that Labour would secure 372 seats – a stable majority of 90 – were the election held today. This would leave the Tories on just 196 seats and the Liberal Democrats on 36, taking Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s constituency with them.
Overturning Boris Johnson’s 2019 landslide would be a seismic win for Labour. Our polling shows that Starmer is on course to meet three crucial milestones: 1) winning back the red wall, 2) making progress in suburban affluent Britain, 3) re-establishing Labour in Scotland.
Labour is currently on track to not only win back former safe seats like Bassetlaw, Bishop Auckland and Dudley, but also flip Tory Chairman Greg Hands’ Chelsea and Fulham constituency, and Welsh Secretary David TC Davies’ Monmouth constituency. Beyond these big scalps, Labour looks set to gain ancestral Conservative seats like Tatton and Ruislip, Northwood, and Pinner. These losses are symptomatic of affluent suburban voters’ unhappiness with the Conservatives.
In Scotland, Labour is set for a major resurgence – a key route to power if the polls tighten south of the border. Our model shows Labour winning 19 seats, with the Scottish National Party almost halving their MP delegation to just 25 seats, in the first election since Nicola Sturgeon’s departure. The upcoming Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election is in a seat Labour won in 2017 and is a weaker litmus test of any Scottish Labour revival. Nevertheless, our model indicates that the SNP’s decade-long grip over Scottish politics is coming to an end. The SNP will be facing a pincer movement from the unionist parties with both the Scottish Tories and Scottish Lib Dems picking up seats through tactical voting.
General elections are tricky to forecast. Recent by-elections suggest that voters are increasingly rallying behind the party which is most likely to beat the candidate they don’t want to win. But national polls struggle to account for this unpredictability.
Our latest modelling suggests that this tactical voting will be key to the Lib Dems’ prospects in 2024. Ed Davey’s Party is projected to end up with 36 seats - more than double their current count of 15. Potential gains include Cabinet upsets like Justice Secretary Alex Chalk’s Cheltenham seat, and Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan’s current Chippenham seat (noting the Culture Secretary is due to stand in Melksham and Devizes at the next election).
However, this is not a rerun of the 2010 or 2005 elections. The Lib Dems are polling 10.8% of the vote and, despite projected gains in the South West, it is Labour who are now challenging the Tories in seats that the Lib Dems had previously seen as winnable like Bournemouth East.
This is good news for Labour. But there are two caveats that should give the Party pause for thought.
First, almost half of voters (49%) chose “neither” when asked to pick between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer as their preferred PM. This is the highest leadership dissatisfaction ever recorded by Stonehaven. Only a third (32%) of voters picked Starmer. It is antipathy towards the Tories, not Blair-like enthusiasm for Labour, that is driving their current lead.
Second, campaigns matter. Labour is acutely aware that it cannot afford to alienate 2019 Tory voters, as the Conservatives seek to leverage wedge issues like net zero, migration, ECHR membership and EU relations. Our data shows that Liz Truss’ brief premiership severely dampened the enthusiasm of core small-c conservatives who believed in the Party’s inherent economic competency. The Conservatives need to avoid further alienating these voters by being too radical on social and cultural issues.
Starmer needs those core Tory voters to stay home, but a divisive campaign could prove enough to reenergise parts of the Tory base against his premiership. It was only in 2017 that Theresa May failed to realise a near 20-point polling lead.
Overall, however, Stonehaven’s MRP points to one conclusion. Labour is highly likely to form the next Government. Our latest model shows Labour securing 39% of the vote and the Tories just 26.3%. The challenge for the Government is twofold. They need to rebuild trust within their base, and they need to convince voters that they have a meaningful offer after fourteen years in power.
Failing to reconnect with this historic Tory base could turn a significant election defeat into an unprecedented fall from grace in post war politics. If Labour can hold together its current coalition of support, then Starmer will find himself with a sizeable majority as Britain’s next Prime Minister.
The current projection is based on a Stonehaven nationally representative poll of 2,000 voters from England, Wales, and Scotland, surveyed online between 29th Aug 2023 and 31st Aug 2023. However, this projection leverages a sophisticated model refined over the past two years with cumulative data from approximately 100,000 UK respondents. Data tables are available here.