Opinion polls suggest hung parliament
With just over three weeks to go before the general election on 7th May the polls continue to suggest that the country will have a hung parliament.
All the major parties launched their manifestos this week, normally a time when one party might start to pull away or gain an advantage. All the party manifestos have a similar ring to them which includes cutting the deficit, more austerity and lots of spending promises especially in health and education.
Despite nearly three months of intensive campaigning and one major television debate the public seem set on their approach to all the parties. Both the ruling Conservatives (36.1% in 2010) and the main opposition Labour Party (29% in 2010) are on 34% in the poll of polls. The Conservatives’ coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats are on 8%/9% of the poll compared with 23% in 2010.
The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), after a very good European elections result in 2014 when they took 26.6% of the vote, are down to 16% in the latest polls, but that is much better than the 3.1% they received in 2010. The problem for UKIP is turning their widespread vote into wins in the first past the post (FPTP) system in the UK.
Because of the way in which constituency boundaries are drawn in the United Kingdom the Labour party currently enjoys an advantage over the Conservatives. On the basis of the current polls they would be the largest party. However, in Scotland the Labour vote has evaporated according to the opinion polls. In 2010 Labour had 42% of the vote against the Scottish National Party (SNP) which took 19.9%. In the latest Times/YouGov poll Labour are on 25% and the SNP are on 49%. That would see Labour losing 30 seats down to 11 seats and the SNP would go up from six seats to 48 seats. The Conservatives would also lose their one remaining seat in Scotland and the Liberal Democrats would lose all 11 seats they currently hold.
To view the manifestos of all the major parties, visit the UK country page.