General Election 2015: Is anyone going to win?

The 2015 General Election is literally just around the corner with only 10 days to go.  I was interested to know exactly how close it is going to be.  I have always been cautious when looking at the Polls because they never seem to tell the full story.  It always amazes me how there can be such big swings between different polls, basically proving the point that you cannot take any single one as the truth.  However they are a good indicator of roughly assessing the mood of the nation.

Another issue I have with polls is that they are not necessarily indicative of how people will actually vote on the day.  People may be feel altruistic prior to voting, convincing themselves that this time they are going to vote for an Independent, the Green Party or some other small party. But when that moment comes as you stand in the ballot box, you just can’t help but vote how you always have done before.  This is of course not true for everyone, but if it were true for even a small percentage of people then it could have a huge impact on the results and potentially change the overall outcome of the election.

It was good to see Nate Silver’s assessment of the General Election, a US statistician who has no bias and is only interested in the numbers.  Even he believes this election is too close to call.

So how close are we looking at?  Well the magic number for a government is 326 and the current assessment sees the result on May 7 looking something like this:

PartyPrediction2% Swing4% Swing
Conservatives286291297
Labour267263259
SNP484848
Liberal Democrats242321
DUP999
Sinn Fein555
Plaid Cymru444
SDLP222
Greens111
UKIP111
UUP111
Other222

This means that no single party is anywhere near getting a majority. I do think there will be a swing to the Conservatives but I believe a 4% swing that some are predicating is highly unlikely.  I do believe there will be a swing due the ‘shy tory vote’ effect, but I think this will be closer to a 2% swing.  We are therefore looking at either a grand coalition or a minority government propped up by some of the smaller parties.

The Liberal Democrats have said they would support the party with the most seats. As progressive parties the SNP, Plaid and Greens will only back Labour with UKIP backing the Conservatives as the only party to offer a referendum. The Northern Ireland parties could be split with DUP and UUP with Conservative, SDLP with Labour and Sinn Fein abstaining from Westminster.  This only leaves two independents.

So what do the Coalition numbers look like at with a 2% swing? If you take Sinn Fein out of the numbers a government would need 323 seats.  A coalition of the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the DUP would give 323.  Labour in a coalition with everyone else (exc Sinn Fein) would only give them 322.

At the moment the bookies are predicting a minority government with Ed Miliband as Prime Minister.  However I cannot see how Labour could maintain an effective working government as they would need the support of the SNP and that just doesn’t sit very well with the rest of the UK.  Even a Labour / Liberal Democrat coalition would still put them behind the Conservatives.

Therefore as we stand at the moment my money is going to be on David Cameron as Prime Minister with another Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition with the help of the DUP on a vote by vote basis when needed.  Everyone seems to think the SNP hold the balance of power in this General Election, whereas I think it could actually be the 9 seats of the DUP.

This is going to go down to the wire with a number of constituencies having to conduct recounts. I am still not ruling out the possibility that no government can form and we have to have a second General Election. Wouldn’t that be interesting?