What election outcomes do Britons think are realistic?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
November 14, 2019, 2:51 PM GMT+0

Conservative victories top the list, while only 41% believe a Labour-led Government is a plausible outcome

The 2017 general election campaign saw a remarkable reversal in the fortunes of the Labour Party. Having started far behind in the polls, they pulled it back to finish only close behind the Conservatives.

This election campaign YouGov is tracking not just our usual voting intention polls, but also how the public think the horse race is going and which outcomes are likely.

We are now two waves into the study, the result that the largest number of people can see happening is a Conservative-led Government involving other parties.

More than six in ten Britons (63%) believe it could happen, including 70% of those who intend to vote Conservative, 73% Lib Dem and 72% Labour.

A similar proportion (59%) also see a Conservative majority as a realistic outcome. This figure has risen slightly from the first study, run from the 4th to 5th of November, when it was 54%.

While Conservative voters are actually even more likely to see a full majority Government as a plausible election result (82%) than a Conservative coalition, voters for other parties are far less convinced. Only 55% of Labour voters see a Tory majority as likely, and 58% of Lib Dems – although this of course is still a majority of each group.

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For understandable reasons, parties always want the public to think they are in with a chance of winning, believing that it helps mobilise people to vote for them who may otherwise not.

It is therefore good news for Labour that a solid proportion of the public think that the party is in with a realistic chance of forming a Government. In less favourable news, that is only the case if it is in conjunction with other parties – while 41% see a Labour-led government involving other parties as realistic, only 19% of people see Labour winning a majority as likely. Worse still, the 41% who can see a Labour-led coalition happening is down slightly from 46% at the beginning of the month.

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Almost eight in ten who intend to vote Labour (78%) think the election could realistically put the party in place to form a Government with the help of other parties, as do 55% of Lib Dem voters. This in fact makes a Labour-led Government the most realistic of all the options according to Labour voters. However, only around half of Labour voters (49%) believe a majority Government is possible, although these optimists outweigh the 36% who see such an outcome as unrealistic.

With Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson having raised eyebrows by telling the country that she thinks she can become Prime Minister, the results show the public to be highly sceptical. Just 6% of Britons think the Lib Dems stand a realistic chance of securing a majority, including only 19% of those who intend to cast their ballot for them.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here

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