The Independent on Sunday asked the bosses of the 10 top polling companies for their predictions.
We combined their estimates, where given, for the number of seats in the new House of Commons, excluding Northern Ireland.
Since last week, the Tory lead over Labour widened slightly in the average forecast: Conservative 278 seats (+2 on the week before); Labour 273 (-2); Scottish National Party 46 (+1); Liberal Democrat 26 (no change); Ukip 4 (-1); Plaid Cymru 3; Green 1; Respect 1 (all unchanged).
Run the numbers through the hung parliament decision tree, on page 16, and they point to a Labour minority government, ruling “vote by vote” with SNP support.
Martin Boon ICM
“Not much going on really, and no reason to change my mind. Tories by a couple of points.”
James Endersby Opinium
“Our poll shows a one-point Tory lead, statistically a tie. It’s going to be incredibly tight. Labour and the Tories would do well to be negotiating with the smaller parties behind the scenes. In the likely event of a hung parliament, we’ve been testing various combinations of coalition. Labour teaming up with the Lib Dems would be more popular than with the SNP, which in turn would be more popular than a Tory/Ukip scenario.”
Michelle Harrison TNS
“Still no change, but Nicola Sturgeon goes from strength to strength in Scotland. For me, who the biggest party is will hinge on the crucial marginals. But what ultimately wins – safety first, for the Tories, or Labour’s ‘get out the vote’ ground war?”
Andrew Hawkins ComRes
“This is an election of wild promises and political cross-dressing; so no differentiation, no breakthrough, no majority. The most likely outcome is Ed Miliband in No 10 because only he will be in a position to work with enough parties (that is, the SNP) to form a workable government.”
Damian Lyons Lowe Survation
“Ukip’s vote share is prone to be squeezed, benefiting the Conservatives, while the SNP’s onslaught on Labour continues. Based on three UK/Scotland polls, I am upgrading the Conservatives and the SNP, and downgrading Labour. Both the Lib Dems on 30 seats and Ukip on 5 to 10 remain unchanged.”
Nick Moon GfK
“Tories most seats, SNP 45 or more, Ukip fewer than five: minority Labour government.”
Rick Nye Populus
“The Populus/Hanover Predictor has Ed Miliband ending up as Prime Minister in more than five out of six simulations we run.”
Ben Page Ipsos MORI
“A better week for Ed Miliband than for David Cameron – personal ratings improving, and the betting markets moved in his favour. The poll numbers have him ahead by a whisker which, combined with the electoral maths, makes him more likely to be able to form some kind of government on the raw numbers right now. However, Cameron will be hoping for a 1992 moment when ultimately voters can’t quite bring themselves to try someone else – and 38 per cent of voters still say they may change their mind.”
Joe Twyman YouGov
“As each day passes and the Conservatives fail to increase their vote share, the likelihood of Ed Miliband becoming PM (albeit still with a minority) grows. That’s due to the continued performance of the SNP in Scotland and former Lib Dem voters propping up Labour in England.”
Michael Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Polls
Refuses to make forecasts, saying: “My polls are snapshots not predictions.”
The Independent has got together with May2015.com to produce a poll of polls that produces the most up-to-date data in as close to real time as is possible.
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