Political Upheaval

The above chart is from Electoral Calculus, a reputable polling and forecasting firm in the UK. When I see my friends in Parliament these days, I largely confine myself to buying them drinks and telling jokes. Nothing much is happening in the policy areas I know something about, so I instead focus on providing some transitory relief of their suffering and uncertainty.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

3 thoughts on “Political Upheaval”

  1. This would be a disastrous outcome for Britain (and Ireland), but not for the EU, who could just shrug and move on.

    Conservatives + Brexit Party + DUP would have ~376 seats, strong enough to form a Government committed to a no-deal Brexit. It is possible to see Hunt or Johnson leading such a Government, but with the Conservatives in the minority, it would be an uneasy and unstable arrangement, united only for one thing: no-deal Brexit. The DUP might baulk at the Brexit Party, which is more committed to Brexit than the Union. However, their 9 MPS (if even that) would not matter in the final shake-up.

    The fly in the ointment might be a Troy revolt, but watching the two leadership contenders basically auctioning the country to the Tory Brexiteers does not inspire one with any confidence.

    In an ironic way, this outcome would justify Theresa May – her deal would have spared both Tories and Labour this humiliation. And it would still have delivered Brexit.

    How likely is it? Hard to tell. There are now 4 parties competing, or at least 3, in every constituency in a first-past-the-post system. That means narrow margins and 50% probability outcomes, almost impossible to call, as a zig or zag in opinion could change the outcome. The Brexit Party are competing with the Tories for the Brexit Leave vote, and Labour and the Liberals are competing for the Remain vote. One of each pairing could knock out the other, and let a 3rd party through. Voting pacts are unlikely. Opinion polls are pretty much all over the place.

    I somehow feel the Green may win more than one seat.

    FYI, the latest YouGov poll has for voting intentions:

    Conservatives 24%
    Brexit Party 21%
    Lib Dems 20%
    Labour 18%
    Greens 9%
    Scots Nats 4%
    Welsh Nats 1%

    Labour have their lowest % in a poll since the Great Recession, but that may be their “floor”, and 24% may be the the Conservatives’ “ceiling”. Given the British system, the conversion into seats is difficult.

  2. Just checked, and the % in the Election Calculus model are identical to those in the latest YouGov poll – I took the figures from an online article that got them wrong.

    So the Brexit Party will get nearly 1/3rd of the seats with barely 1/4th of the vote? While the Lib Dems get just over 1/10th of the seats with 1/5th of the votes! It is possible under the British system, and a great argument for Proportional Representation.

    If it is any comfort, a political editor said on Sky News last night that the poll is an outlier compared with others, with the Labour vote underestimated, and the Tories overestimated. Maybe so.

  3. New Poll in the Daily Telegraph:

    Labour 28% (+1)
    Conservatives 25% (+2)
    LibDems 16% (-1)
    Brexit Party 19% (-3)

    Signs of a swing back towards “traditional” party divisions? How much is that due to Labour becoming more firmly Remain, and the Conservatives about to make Boris Johnson leader (and probably PM)?


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