May 7, 2015 by Paul Goldsmith
Just when the Twittersphere was about to go into meltdown with rumours of a Labour coup to get rid of Miliband as well as a defenestration of the entire opinion polling industry YouGov have come along with an ‘exit poll’ that makes a whole lot more sense. It was actually an online poll taken during the day rather than an exit poll, but a poll it is.
This has the Conservatives on 284, Labour on 263, SNP on 48, Lib Dems on 31, and UKIP on 2. If this poll is correct then we are in for a different result. To explain what it would mean:
1) The Conservatves plus UKIP plus DUP is about 325. That is a majority but it isn’t much of one and may not be workable.
2) It may not be workable because Labour plus SNP plus DUP is 321, and there are some other left wing parties who can also contribute seats to a working majority, and that’s without the Lib Dems, who may well prefer to join with Labour in a coalition, depending on which MPs have seats. Labour will not form a coalition with the SNP but under the YouGov exit poll they can have a working government.
3) The Lib Dems have more seats than they expected and it is likely that Nick Clegg will have won, which means they will be ready to form a coalition with either of the parties. The next step is to see what the MPs who HAVE won want to do. They will talk to the largest party first which are the Conservatives and they may then form a coalition with Labour if the latter offers them electoral reform and, rumours have it, House of Lords reform.
4) The SNP will still have had a great night and will still have a lot of influence on the way the country is run. But it is not quite the wipeout that the BBC exit poll is predicting.
As i said, there is only one official exit poll and it is predicting 316 Conservative seats, Labour 239, Lib Dems 10 and SNP 58. The YouGov poll is an online poll, which isn’t the same. Harriet Harman has been on and pointed out that exit polls in a lot of marginal seats can easily be wrong. She has to hope the exit polls are wrong, and the YouGov poll is right (and it does sound more right to me). But it might be that the exit poll is right.