Data experts say election still in the balance, despite new poll predicting big Tory majority

The general election contest is still in the balance, according to data experts, despite a new mega poll forecasting a big Tory majority.

Released yesterday evening, the Times-YouGov poll showed that Boris Johnson is on course to win a thumping 68-seat majority, with Labour performing only marginally better than its disastrous result in 1983.


However, a number of data experts have provided some optimism for those who want to stop a Boris landslide.

Sam Freedman, former senior policy adviser at the Department for Education, has crunched the YouGov poll numbers and found that there are 68 seats in the model where there are five points or fewer between the Tories and Labour.

If the polling data is marginally wrong, a number of these seats could actually be red rather than blue. And, even if the polling data isn’t wrong, there is still an opportunity for Labour to overturn this narrow deficit, in the two weeks remaining in the campaign.

Adding to this, American polling legend Nate Silver has sounded a note of caution on YouGov’s polling method – MRP. This system is widely lauded, because it accurately predicted the result of the 2017 general election. However, Silver is not so convinced.

Tweeting yesterday evening, he said: “The news in YouGov’s poll tonight is that it has Tories up 11 UK (fairly typical of recent polls). It’s no surprise that Tories would expect to win lots of seats if that’s the final margin. But MRP is not magic. It’s an OK/reasonable technique but its powers are overstated.”

Of course, it would be lazy to assume that the polls are wrong and nothing needs to change in the fight against Boris Johnson. But a crumb of comfort is probably needed right now.


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