Onward analysis of marginal seats in The Sun

2019-01-25T18:10:24+00:00 January 23rd, 2019|Research, The Sun|

In today’s Sun, Onward’s Director Will Tanner warns of the risks of a General Election for the Conservative Party.

Onward analysis of the 2017 General Election data shows that:

  • In the 2017 General Election, there were 97 constituencies which were won by a margin of 5% or smaller – nearly double the number recorded in 2015 (51).
  • Of these marginals 40 are held by Conservatives, and Labour hold second place in 35 of them. 3 of the remaining 5 have Liberal Democrats in second place, with the SNP second in 2.
  • There are 20 Conservative-held seats with an even tighter margin of less than 2.5%, of which 17 have Labour in second place. 9 Conservative seats were won with a hair’s-breadth majority smaller than 1%, two-thirds of which are Conservative/Labour marginals.
  • There are 179 constituencies which have majorities of fewer than 5,000 votes. Of these, 53 are currently held by the Conservatives with Labour second and 9 are Conservative-held marginals with the SNP.
  • In Scotland as a whole, there are 22 constituencies with a margin of victory of 5% or smaller in 2017 and 41 seats have a majority of fewer than 4,000 voters. The figures mean that 46 out of 59 seats in Scotland are vulnerable to a 5% swing to Labour.

Will Tanner is quoted:

“The prospect of a General Election should concern anyone who fears the damage Jeremy Corbyn would wreak on Britain’s economy and security in Downing Street. It would take a tiny swing for Labour to sweep dozens of seats to become the largest party – with 40 Conservative constituencies held with a majority of just 5 per cent or smaller.”

“If Conservatives can get back to a reforming domestic agenda, there is no reason they can’t win over wavering voters in key marginals and regain a working majority – but an election now, with Labour at the gates, risks it all”.

The report is followed up by Paul Goodman on ConservativeHome. Paul writes:

“The Sun also cites “analysis by centre-right think tank Onward”: “of the 317 seats that the Tories won in 2017, 40 are held by a margin of five per cent or smaller – and Labour hold second place in 35 of them”. Will Tanner, its Director, is quoted, but it may be worth noting that a member of the think-tank’s advisory board is one of the few Conservative strategists who emerged from the last election with his reputation enhanced. James Kanagasooriam sits on it. He helped to mastermind the Tory advance in Scotland.”