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Conservatives set for heavy UK election defeat: Polls

Talkback caller tackles Rishi Sunak

Source: X/LBC

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives are in for a record election smash on July 4, according to polls.

Three polls in recent days have instead forecast a large majority – and record seat haul – for Labour after 14 years in opposition.

Polling by YouGov showed Keir Starmer’s Labour is on track to win 425 parliamentary seats in Britain’s 650-strong House of Commons, the most in its history.

Savanta predicted 516 seats for Labour and More in Common gave it 406.

YouGov had the Conservatives on 108 and the Liberal Democrats on 67 while Savanta predicted the Conservatives would take 53 parliamentary seats and the Liberal Democrats 50.

More in Common forecast 155 and 49 seats respectively.

Savanta political research director Chris Hopkins said its projection put Labour on course “for a historic majority”.

The three polls were so-called multilevel regression and poststratification (MRP) surveys, an approach that uses voters’ age, gender, education and other variables to predict results in every British voting district.

Pollsters used the method to successfully predict the 2017 British election result.

They are largely in line with previous surveys predicting a Labour victory but show the scale of the Conservatives’ defeat could be even worse than previously thought.

YouGov’s forecast of 108 seats for the Conservatives was about 32 lower than its previous poll two weeks earlier.

Savanta and YouGov predicted that the party of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher could be left with the lowest number of seats in its near 200-year history contesting elections.

Sunak, who in a final throw of the dice last week pledged to cut £17 billion ($32 billion) of taxes for working people if re-elected, has failed to turn the polls around so far in a campaign littered with missteps.

His task has been made harder by the surprise mid-campaign return to frontline politics by prominent Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, whose populist Reform UK party threatens to split the right-of-centre vote.

Britain has a first-past-the-post electoral system, meaning Reform could pick up millions of votes across the country without winning any individual seats.

YouGov predicted Reform would win five seats and Savanta none.

More in Common did not give a figure for Reform.

The Savanta poll, published by the Telegraph newspaper, said Sunak could even lose his own parliamentary seat in northern England, once considered a safe Conservative constituency. It has the contest as currently too close to call.

Sunak – who was accused by one talkback caller this week of “lying through his teeth” to voters – has acknowledged that people are frustrated with him and his party. It has had more than a decade in power, dominated at times by political turmoil and scandal.

All three surveys projected several senior government ministers, including finance minister Jeremy Hunt, are on course to lose their seats.

Most opinion polls have Starmer’s Labour about 20 percentage points ahead of the governing Conservatives.

Other recent polls have also presented a grim picture for Sunak, with one pollster predicting “electoral extinction” for the Conservatives.

-with AAP

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