Labour would now be the largest party if election were held today

Our forecast (or 'nowcast') puts Labour on for 294 seats to 283 for the Conservatives with the most recent polls ending as of 11 October 2017.

In the closing days of August we produced an election forecast showing that though Labour at the time held a slim lead in the polls, the Tories would still come out in a hypothetical ‘if the election were held today’ as the largest party.

Today our forecast (or ‘nowcast’) now suggests that a Labour lead of 3pts in the polls (see our poll tracker) would have them secure the status of largest party in the House of Commons, with an estimate of 294 seats (up 32 on 8th June) to 283 for the Conservatives (down 34). From the 59 simulations conducted, we put the probability of the Tories retaining the status of largest party at 12.3%.

The Liberal Democrats would gain two seats (Richmond Park and St Ives, both from Con), totalling 14. The SNP would make no net gains but due to a fallback in Tory support in recent Scottish polls they’d gain four from the blues but also lose four to Labour.

No party would attain a majority in the Commons, but it seems from these numbers a minority Labour government would be the most likely outcome. It’s not clear as to how willing Labour are to opening talks with the SNP or Liberal Democrats about a confidence and supply agreement or even a coalition.

Seats by probability of changing hands

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It should be noted that though not evident in the forecast, there is a great deal of uncertainty in our forecast (see probability column in above table). To make these estimates we used probability based on 59 simulations, and among the 294 seats we have for Labour is, to name one example, the constituency of Watford. The model for Watford forecasts a 57.6% of Labour gaining the seat from the Conservatives. A 57.6% chance of something happening is in no way certain, and so should be taken with caution.

Naturally, because a model is a model, this forecast does not account for the potential incumbency bonuses that will inevitably play a part at the next election.

If public opinion has shifted noticeably, or if new data becomes available, we will issue an update to our forecast.


The model we use to make this forecast is the same model used for the 2017 General Election, where our final projection (or ‘nowcast’) overstated the Conservatives by around 40 odd seats and understated Labour by around the same number. It follows the same methodology as outlined on our Nowcast page, which involves playing 59 simulations that can gauge the potential vote shares each party may attain within a constituency based on current national and regional polling. Our model was reliant on such polling at the time, which underestimated Labour on average by 4pts. Had the polls been accurate in measuring the Labour share, then so would our forecast, which would have produced a final projection on 08 June of Con 322, Lab 256, SNP 37, LDem 14.

Ben Walker is the Co Founder of Britain Elects.
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