British PM May's lead narrows to 7 pct points - YouGov poll

Cheryl Sanders
May 31, 2017

LONDON, May 31 (Reuters) - Sterling dropped on Wednesday after a projection by polling company YouGov showed Britain's ruling Conservative party falling short of an overall majority in the June 8 national election.

The constituency-by-constituency estimate for The Times by YouGov indicates the Conservative Party could lose 20 seats and see its majority wiped out, while Jeremy Corbyn's Labour may gain 28 seats.

It would cause a "hung parliament" with no party having overall control and throw Britain back into the era of coalition government.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is interviewed by Jeremy Paxman
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is interviewed by Jeremy Paxman

Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index, said markets could begin pricing in the prospect of a Labour victory if the polls were to narrow further, although that would not lead to an "outright collapse" in sterling given Labour's stance towards Brexit.

That is because markets initially pencilled in an increased Conservative majority - strengthening the Prime Minister's hand politically as she prepares for Brexit negotiations.

But polls had shown May's rating slipping over the past month and they fell sharply after she set out plans on May 18 to make some elderly people pay a greater share of their care costs, a proposal dubbed the "dementia tax" by opponents.


But polls taken since the opposition Labour Party and May's Conservatives released their election manifestos have shown Labour catching up, worrying investors and pushing the pound down nearly 2 cents last week.

"Once the Conservative lead falls below 7 points we are potentially in the world of a hung parliament", said John Curtice, a leading psephologist who is president of the British Polling Council.

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).


In contrast to YouGov's model, other projections suggested May would win soundly.

A good night for the Tories could see Mrs May's party pick up 345 seats - a net gain of 15 but still well short of the kind of majority she would have hoped to secure following the decision to go to the country. The YouGov result allows for a wide margin of error and the pollster acknowledged that its predictions would be controversial.

Shakespeare said the figures could change dramatically before June 8.


Britain's election has gone from tiresome to dramatic, with polls showing a narrowing gap between Conservatives and Labour and one estimate suggesting no party will win a majority.

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