Too close to call?

The tightening opinion polls point to a startling range of possible outcomes in the forthcoming #GE2015.

As the days roll on and #GE2015 gets ever nearer, the polls are still showing no clear front runner. UK Polling Report and Electoral Calculus are both predicting that Labour will fall 26 seats short of a majority.

We’ve examined 4 possible outcomes, including the latest odds (at the time of writing) and Electoral Calculus’ probability of possible outcomes, and what it might take for them to happen. It is worth noting that opinion polls will be more representative than the betting odds, but will be indicative nonetheless.

1. Labour majority (Odds: 16/1) (Probability: 34%)

Labour’s ability to achieve an outright majority increasingly depends on how it fares in Scotland and its ability to significantly pull away from the Tories in the polls. Recent polling shows Labour trailing the SNP in Scotland meaning Labour’s previously unshakeable 41 Scottish seats may now be under threat. With Labour and SNP having both ruled out a Coalition, a more conceivable outcome is a Labour minority with a confidence and supply agreement.

2.    Labour / SNP (Odds: Any coalition involving SNP 7/1) (Probability: 16%)

As polling expert John Curtice, of Strathclyde university, recently said: “If voting took place now, the SNP would be favourites to be the third-largest party at Westminster” making some form of Labour /SNP union a real possibility. The Conservative’s poster campaign framing Salmond as a kingmaker in a potential Labour government in May has forced Miliband’s hand, ruling out a coalition with the SNP, but falling short of dismissing a looser arrangement to guarantee a Labour-led government.

3.    Conservative majority (Odds: 9/2) (Probability: 14%)

The Tories in recent weeks have successfully closed the gap on Labour, and have even gained a lead in some polls. Their chance at achieving a majority lies in the trend towards support for the smaller parties declining and the Tories regaining their vote share. However, the Tories began governing in 2015 without a majority which means that going into this General Election they need to increase their share of the popular vote and buck the ‘costs of governing’ trend. A glimmer of hope lies in the fact that polling data suggests that voters trust the Tories to look after the economy more than Labour.

4.    Conservative / DUP coalition (Odds: 7/2 for a Conservative minority) (Probability: 10%)

The DUP stated that they are not looking for a formal role in any coalition, although they have expressed a willingness to support a future administration. It is not clear which party they are referring to but the Tories and DUP are more natural allies than other parties and the Tories have a history of links with Northern Irish MPs. However, the DUP have a number of demands that they would expect to make as a condition of partnership. It is therefore more likely that in the event of a Conservative minority, a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement would be more probable.

Other selected odds:

Any Coalition Involving UKIP – 8/1

Any Coalition Involving Greens – 33/1