Theresa May's snap election gamble looking like a bad bet

Tanya Joseph

Tanya Joseph

They showed Theresa May's party might lose 20 of the 330 seats it holds, with Jeremy Corbyn's Labour gaining almost 30 seats.

United Kingdom stocks advanced on Wednesday, boosted by a slump in the pound after a new voting estimate showed Theresa May's Conservative Party may lose its majority in the general election next week. The betting markets are still anticipating Labour's polling numbers coming down a little from the high 30s and the central projection of Ladbrokes prices would imply...

On Tuesday, Ms. May sought to re-focus the debate on Brexit, an issue perceived to be one of her stronger ones, telling the audience gathered in the city of Wolverhampton that she was prepared to take hard decisions that leadership demanded, including in negotiations with other European Union leaders, set to commence 11 days after the elections.

The 2015 election led to the first majority Conservative government for 18 years - and she would have thrown that power away in the space of two years.

Others pointed out that YouGov has a mixed track record.

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Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index, suggested the poll's methodology was too untested to be relied upon when making such bold claims, though she conceded even a small majority could hurt the pound.

Patrick Sturgis, who chaired the inquiry into what went wrong in 2015 election polling, made a similar point.

A total of seven polls carried out since the May 22 Manchester suicide attack have shown May's lead over the Labour Party narrowing, with some suggesting she might not win the landslide predicted just a month ago.

- This is the narrowest gap yet since Labour started catching up with the Tories following controversies such as a disastrous Tory manifesto launch dogged by embarrassing u-turns and unpopular policies that punished children losing free school meals, millions of pensioners losing winter fuel allowance and hit by the much hated dementia tax.

Recent opinion polls have shown May's lead has contracted to a range of 5 to 14 percentage points.

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Meanwhile a separate YouGov model based on different data estimated the Conservatives would win 317 seats, nine short of an overall majority of 326 seats.

Despite these claims, other polls are still predicting a comfortable win for the Tories.

GBP/USD had soared back up to 1.30 since the snap election was called, but the previously unassailable Conservative lead has been shrinking in the polls and Labour have clawed their way back into the conversation.

YouGov allowed for big variations in the outcome of the election, ranging from as high as 345 seats for the Conservatives, 15 more than their current number, to as low as 274, the pollster's chief executive, Stephan Shakespeare, said.

YouGov's model draws on the data collected from around 50,000 panellists quizzed on their voting intention over the course of a week and uses a recently-developed technique called multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP).

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