The Conservatives are on the verge of being virtually wiped out at this Thursday’s European election, whilst the Brexit Party look set to improve on the 24 seats that Ukip won at the 2014 poll.
Using the data from this YouGov poll and analysis on the number of seats won by the vote received in the 2014 election, I estimated the probability of each party winning each seat in each European constituency. The Brexit Party would be, by far, the largest party based on this projection, looking certain to win in 28 seats, favoured to win in a further four, and competitive in six more.
Labour are forecast to be the second largest party, favoured to win in 13 seats, which would be a reduction of seven from the 20 seats won in 2014. The Liberal Democrats would have the third largest number of seats on 10, and the Greens would the fourth biggest party with seven.
On these polling numbers, the Conservatives only have one safe seat (Daniel Hannan’s seat in South East England), and are favoured to win in only two more, with two additional very close contests in the East Midlands and the South West of England, giving them a projected total of four seats. This would be a reduction of 15 from the 19 seats that they won in 2014.
The probabilities of each party for each constituency are shown in the table below.
A huge factor behind the Brexit Party’s virtually inevitable success this week will be the fact that they have such a large proportion of the Brexit supporting public backing them (Ukip are polling in the low single figures), whilst the Remain vote is fragmented across Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the SNP, Change UK, Plaid Cymru and possibly even the Labour Party.
The Remain backing parties may well see this election as a massive missed opportunity. I ran the forecast model again, except I merged the forecast votes for the Remain supporting parties into a single “Remain List”. The results are striking. Whilst the Brexit Party might still have still been the largest party, it would have been a close run contest, and the combined list would have favoured in 26 seats, in comparison to the 20 seats they are favoured currently.
The forecast seat flow in the scenario that the Remain parties had formed a single list is shown in the diagram below.
The failure of the Remain supporting parties to put aside their differences and form a single list, together in the slump in the polls by both Labour and the Tories, means that the Brexit Party will easily win the most seats in the election. Whether the Brexit Party will continue their strong showing in Westminster polls remains to be seen. Ukip were polling in the mid-20s in Westminster polls prior to the 2015 General Election, only to see their support fade away as the election approached.
Labour are likely to have a bad election, but as happened in the local elections earlier this month, their blushes are likely to be saved by the fact that the Conservatives will fare much worse. The Tories are heading for a disaster.