UK Conservatives extend lead to 10 points over Labour - Kantar poll

Cheryl Sanders
June 5, 2017

A new poll suggesting that June's general election could end in a hung parliament, with Theresa May 16 seats short of a majority, prompted the pound to fall below $1.28 on Wednesday morning.

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.

Previous opinion polls suggested Prime Minister Theresa May's party would increase its majority, which is now 17 seats. An ICM poll for the Guardian also shows a narrowing gap, but it still stands at 12%, enough for an absolute majority and even for a larger one.

According to The Times, the estimates were "met with scepticism by Tory and Labour figures".

However, it has a very wide margin of error, saying the Conservatives could get anywhere between 274 and 345 seats meaning they could also increase their majority.

The currency's drop "is another example of markets not being prepared for a close election, let alone a hung parliament", said Sean Callow, a senior currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp., the second most-accurate major currencies forecaster in Bloomberg's latest ranking. While the recent opinion polls show the prime minister's party maintains a slender lead, the Tories' diminishing advantage is likely to spur on their political rivals with just eight days to go until the election.

Nevertheless it is rare for a polling company to produce a seats prediction and one rival pollster, Britain Thinks founder Deborah Mattinson, tweeted that YouGov had been "brave". British Prime Minister Theresa May's lead over the opposition Labour party has nearly halved to eight points in the space of a week, an opinion poll from Panelbase showed today.

"Were this to be the outcome of the general election on 8 June, we can expect a repeat of this behavior, with significant volatility in sterling", Geoffrey Yu, head of the United Kingdom investment office at UBS Wealth Management, said in a note.

Betting markets give a more than 80-percent probability of May winning an overall majority, though betting markets were wrong ahead of the unexpected Brexit result in the June 23 referendum.

YouGov chief executive Stephan Shakespeare said the data could change dramatically between now and June 8.

A YOUGOV analysis has suggested the United Kingdom faces a hung parliament.

"The data suggests that there is churn on all fronts, with the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats all likely to both lose and gain seats", he wrote in The Times.

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