Britain’s Conservatives Ahead of Labour in Recent Polls

Prime Minister David Cameron’s ruling party is pulling ahead of the Labour opposition in recent surveys.

British prime minister David Cameron in Newmarket, Suffolk, February 20
British prime minister David Cameron in Newmarket, Suffolk, February 20 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Arron Hoare)

Relatively small shifts in the polls have put Britain’s ruling Conservative Party within reach of winning May’s general election.

Whereas Prime Minister David Cameron’s party had come in second to Labour in most surveys since early 2011, the last few weeks have seen it ahead of the opposition in two-thirds of the polls, May2015 reports.

The website’s polling average puts the Conservatives 2.1 points ahead which would give them a plurality of anywhere between thirteen and 28 seats.

The party is still not projected to win an outright majority but neither is Labour.

At this rate, despite five years of campaigning, Labour are barely going to win more seats than Brown did in 2010 when he won 29 percent of the vote.

Cameron’s liberal Democrat coalition partners are expected to lose around half their seats but they would still be the fourth largest party in Britain’s House of Commons.

The country’s first-past-the-post voting system rewards the two major parties but it also allows small parties with a strong regional basis to win more seats than they likely would under a system of proportional representation.

The system especially benefits the Scottish National Party which could win 56 out of the region’s 59 seats in Westminster despite winning only 4 percent support nationwide.

The Scottish nationalists have said they could support a minority Labour government on an “issue-by-issue basis.” However, even if they do as well as some polls project, the two left-wing parties would still fall almost a dozen seats short of a majority in May2015‘s calculation.

The same goes for the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats although they could possibly win the “soft” support of Nigel Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party — which will probably win only a handful of seats despite polling as the third largest party — and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.

Similarly, the Greens, who are polling neck and neck with the Liberal Democrats, and Northern Ireland’s Social Democratic and Labour Party could win just enough seats to give Labour and the Scottish nationalists a razor-thin majority. But such an arrangement would be even less stable than a right-wing pact, given the Scots’ refusal to formally join any national government.