When the first YouGov MRP poll of the election campaign was published last month, it was a cause of anxiety in Conservative Campaign Headquarters. The projection of a Tory majority of 68 was seen as overly optimistic – and there were concerns that it could lead to complacency in the polling booth. The second – and final – YouGov MRP poll of the election campaign does not carry the same baggage. With two days to go until polling day, it now suggests the Tories are on course for a small majority of 28.
Were the election held tomorrow, YouGov forecasts that the Conservatives would win 339 seats with Labour on 231, the Lib Dems on 15 and the SNP on 41. The previous MRP poll had Labour losing 44 seats to the Conservatives – this has now been reduced to 29. Seats the Tories are still seen as likely to take include Bishop Auckland, Dudley North, Bury South; Newcastle-Under-Lyme and Scunthorpe. Meanwhile, Labour are on course to win two seats: Putney and Chipping Barnet.
What will give the Conservatives pause for thought, however, is that although the MRP projects a majority – its range of possible outcomes stretch from 367 Tory seats to just 311, short of a majority. Based on the data, YouGov’s director of political research Anthony Wells said: ‘based on the model we cannot rule out a hung parliament.’
So, what does this poll mean for the last days of the campaign? Given the Tories were notably frustrated with the last MRP poll, and the comfortable lead it suggested, there is an argument that this could even prove helpful to the Tories. One of the things Tory aides are worried about is voter complacency – this poll suggests that every vote counts. However, it could also work to motivate Remain voters to vote tactically. With just two days to go, this election is not a done deal.