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Vote 2010: the latest election barometer

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 12 April 2010

The Conservative share of the vote slips a little, benefiting the Liberal Democrats - but can the Tories still win an overall majority? Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams of Nottingham Business School's Political Forecasting Unit analyses the latest opinion polls.

The latest poll, published by YouGov for the Sun has the Conservatives on 37 per cent, Labour on 31 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 20 per cent.

This is part of a recent trend downwards for the Conservatives in the YouGov polling, and if reproduced as a uniform swing nationally would mean the Conservatives and Labour tie for the number of seats won.

Better news for the Conservatives comes from the markets, which continue to point to a Tory majority, albeit of only 14 seats.

Meanwhile, the Political Forecasting Unit 'Polling Tracker' has the Conservatives seven points ahead of Labour.

Reproduced as a uniform swing across the country, this would make the Conservatives the largest party, by almost 20 seats, but 32 seats short of an overall majority.

Polling Commentary
There is one national poll out today.

YouGov/Sun: Con 37, Lab 31, LD 20

Political Forecasting Unit's (PFU) "polling tracker" shows the Conservatives doing slightly better than is suggested by the daily poll of polls, but still down a point compared to yesterday.

Put simply, the tracker is based on the most recent surveys by different polling organisations, and is adjusted so that the more recent the survey the more weight is attached to the vote shares.

There is also some statistical smoothing which has the effect that outliers or vote shares that diverge most from the general consensus are allocated less weight.

Election barometer
The PFU's 'election barometer', designed to capture the changing state of the race as it unfolds through the campaign, shows the Conservatives falling short of an overall majority based on the recent polling, assuming a uniform national swing.

But an analysis of the money bet in political betting markets currently translates into a Conservative overall majority of 14, and a 57.5 per cent chance of a Tory overall majority, down from 16 and 58.5 per cent yesterday.

Daily poll of polls
Conservative: 37 per cent
Labour: 31 per cent
Liberal Democrat: 20 per cent

PFU polling tracker (recent polls, weighted)
Conservative: 38 per cent
Labour: 31 per cent
Liberal Democrat: 20 per cent

Outcome (Based on polling tracker, assuming national swing reproduced in every constituency)
Conservatives: 294 seats
Labour: 275 seats
Liberal Democrat: 51 seats
Other: 30 seats
Conservatives short of an overall majority by 32.

Where the money is (Analysis based on money wagered on the election in political betting markets)
Conservative: 332 seats
Labour: 224 seats
Liberal Democrat: 62 seats
Translates into a Conservative overall majority of 14
(Chances based on odds from betting exchanges)

% chance of Conservative overall majority: 57.5 per cent
% chance of No overall majority: 35.6 per cent
% chance of Labour overall majority: 6.8 per cent

Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams is Director of the Political Forecasting Unit at Nottingham Business School.

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