Pollsters tell Sunak he is wrong over ‘hung parliament’ prediction

Pollsters tell Sunak he is wrong over ‘hung parliament’ prediction

Pollsters have dismissed Rishi Sunak’s claims that his party still has a fighting chance with a general election likely to produce “a hung parliament.”

The prime minister is set to try to persuade MPs tomorrow that the result will be closer than many people predict at the first of two briefing sessions on the local elections alongside his party chairman Richard Holden and head of election strategy Isaac Levido.

The session will include a full assessment and breakdown of what the disastrous local election results mean after the Tories lost almost 500 council seats, the Blackpool South by-election and, most devastatingly, the West Midlands mayor.

Mr Sunak though has already made his “hung parliment” claims based on the vote share in the local elections. Thi was based on Labour’s vote share being 34 percent to the Tories’ 27 percent with the seven point lead much lower than the one shown in most national polls.

Rishi Sunak defended the claim the general election will lead to a hung parliament (Getty)
Rishi Sunak defended the claim the general election will lead to a hung parliament (Getty)

Sky News had suggested that the result replicated in a general election would leave Labour but biggest party but 32 seats short of a majority. This prediction was sezed on by Mr Sunak but leading pollstars have insisted he is wrong.

Tory peer and pollster Lord Hayward told The Independent: “He [Sunak] would say that wouldn’t he.”

Lord Hayward was deliberately quoting the words of Mandy Rice-Davies during the Profumo scandal in 1963 in court when Lord Astor had denied having an affair with her.

Lord Hayward said they reflect that he thinks the prime minister’s assessment is wrong although he added: “Labour’s problems are greater than I expected too.”

A more detailed breakdown came from Michela Morizzo, the chief executive of polling firm Techne UK whose weekly tracker has Labour 22 points ahead of the Tories.

She said: “The local elections, on the one hand, are a test for the generalelections and on the other they do not represent a clear picture of the real national situation.

“In local elections the turnout is lower and voting tends to be widespread, which means there is a tendency to vote more for smaller parties or independent candidates. Last but not least, the local vote is a much more personal vote, that is, often based on the candidate of reference.

“Conversely, in a general election, there is a tendency not to disperse the vote and to concentrate on the political parties that have a concrete possibility of governing the country.”

She went on: “At present, it is very difficult to envisage a hung parliament for the Conservatives as there are no conditions for this to happen. The local elections were a strong defeat for the Tories and - today - the only scenario facing us is that of a probable defeat in favor of Labour.

“Conservatives have to battle against Labour but also against Reform UK that is picking up a good part of 2019 Tories voters, and this will lead to a difficult campaign because in this case they speak to the same voter base.”

Ms Morizzo pointed out that polls cannot predict what will happen in six months time and that “politics can change very quickly”.

However, she added: “People are unhappy, facing difficulties in their daily lives (work issues and cost of living) and if they continue to think that the Conservatives are not able to deliver what they need, this will lead to a ‘protest’ vote at the next general election.”