New MRP poll shows Lib Dems can stop Boris Johnson from winning a majority

The latest You Gov MRP poll shows us gaining slightly in both vote share and seats from 2017 but  still gives Boris Johnson a majority. But before we all panic, the figures show that we can stop him and gain more seats.

The headline figures have the Tories on 339, Labour on 231, us on 15, the Greens on 1, Plaid on 4 and the SNP on 41.

The study has us on 12% and with 15 seats. That doesn’t ‘t tell the whole story. Seats like Lewes, Finchley and Golders Green (Luciana Berger) and Cities of London and Westminster (Chuka Umunna) are in reach for us if we can squeeze that Labour vote.

North East Fife has moved from being SNP two weeks ago to a toss up and Caithness has gone from a 1% SNP lead to a 4% Lib Dem  lead.

If these results were replicated, we would gain St Albans, Richmond Park, South Cambridgeshire, Sheffield Hallam and Winchester by significant margins.

Here are the seats when we are in with a shout of a gain:Cheadle


Esher and Walton,- Monica Harding could unseat Dominic Raab with the race tightening in the two weeks

Finchley and Golders Green, (Luciana Berger)


Hazel Grove,


St Ives


Chelsea and Fulham – a longer shot but Labour votes switching to Lib Dem could see Nicola Horlick elected.


The SNP could gain a few more seats from the Tories, too.

The take home from this poll is that a Tory majority is not inevitable.

Incredibly, Bolsover, one of the safest Labour seats in the country, is predicted to go Conservative. Who would have thought that Dennis Skinner would face electoral defeat at the hands of the Tories?

And on other side, Iain Duncan Smith also faces defeat by Labour in Chingford and Wood Green.

I suspect that this poll underestimates the Lib Dem vote from what I have seen and heard about on the ground in Lib Dem seats.

The data will have been gathered before the events of yesterday when Boris Johnson, when confronted with the reality of a wee boy having to sleep on the floor in A & E, confiscated ITV journalist Joe Pike’s phone and before the deeply embarrassing leak of phone conversation from Labour’s Jon Ashworth in which he trashed Jeremy Corbyn. As a joke, of course.

It all goes to show that there is a chance that the Liberal Democrats can play  a significant role in the next Parliament.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • I think you mean Caithness now has a 4% LibDem lead?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 10th Dec '19 - 11:51pm

    @Ross That is exactly what I mean! Now amended.

  • If I have got this right then these are the seats the MRP model have us losing to the Tories (up to 20%) with the amount we are behind. As yougov notes in some seats may be atypical and some of these with a lib dem heritage (although that is partly taken account of) I would expect us to do better.

    Cheltenham -1
    Esher and Walton -2
    Cheadle -5
    Guildford -5
    Wokingham -5
    Cities Of London and Westminster -6
    Lewes -6
    St Ives -6
    Wells -8
    Sutton and Cheam -9
    Eastbourne -10
    Hazel Grove -10
    Wimbledon -11
    Brecon and Radnorshire -11
    Harrogate and Knaresborough -12
    Chelsea and Fulham -13
    Thornbury and Yate -13
    Taunton Deane -14
    Wantage -14
    Eastleigh -15
    Hitchin and Harpenden -15
    North Norfolk -15
    Mid Dorset and North Poole -17
    Newbury -17
    North Cornwall -17
    Romsey and Southampton North -17
    Chesham and Amersham -18
    Mole Valley -18
    South West Surrey -19
    North Devon -20
    South East Cambridgeshire -20
    Totnes -20
    Woking -20

  • @Caron – I bet you enjoyed doing that. 🙂
    Parliament would be a less colourful place without the legend that is Jamie Stone. I hope the good people of CSER are coming to realise that in these last few days.
    Another one I would suggest for the list is Eastbourne. MRP have us losing it, but not by much. I’d say it’s a good prospect to hold.

  • Well of to Cheadle I must go. Wife is not happy apparently I should spend my leave with her not delivering leaflets.

  • John Marriott 11th Dec '19 - 8:26am

    This has been an election that is very hard to predict, given the possibility of large amounts of tactical voting. One thing, however is pretty certain, namely that the Lib Dems are not going to form a majority government.

    As for me, it’s baby sitting day tomorrow so I shall take my grandson (nearly 3) to the Polling Station, get my ballot paper and write on it ‘None of the above’. Will I feel satisfied with myself. Of course not, just fed up with the over exaggerations, giveaways and the abysmal choice for candidates, who realistically have the chance to be Prime Minister.

    PS With one day to go, still nothing from the shoo in Tory candidate or the Lib Dem. Arrogance v negligence?

  • Here,s hoping that the polls have under estimated our position, anyhow best of luck to all our candidates.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Dec '19 - 11:04am

    There was a general election in 1992. One of the Tory ministers did not stand again and was surprised when they won. Their overall majority was reduced to zero in a series of bye-elections.

  • Laurence Cox 11th Dec '19 - 12:37pm

    MRP by its nature cannot deal with tactical voting directly, only constituency polls can give this fine-grained information. MRP rests on the assumption that people from similar demographics will vote in similar ways wherever they are in the country. This means that although they interview an average of 150 people per constituency, far too few for a constituency poll, by making this assumption they can predict how people they did not sample will vote.

    Let’s say that 10% of the voters (a fairly typical tactical voting number) vote for us in 50 constituencies that we have targeted, while across the other 600 we get no tactical votes. That would increase our percentage support by 15*50*100/100,000 = 0.75% so would be well within their MOE and wouldn’t be apparent, but as Michael1 points out above would gain us an extra 12 seats.

    So don’t get completely despondent about YouGov’s MRP forecast; a good Polling day organisation with the right tactical voting message could still give us a massive increase in number of seats in the Commons; their 95% points have us on between 11 and 22 seats as it is, showing the level of uncertainty in the forecast.

  • Charles Smith 11th Dec '19 - 6:29pm

    With the finishing line of Britain’s Brexit election in sight on Thursday, Boris Johnson’s mouth had more or less avoided the kind of headline-making gaffes that have partly defined his political career — until four-year-old Jack came along.

    To start the week, a photograph of the little boy lying on the floor of a hospital in Leeds waiting to be treated for pneumonia was splashed across the front page of the Daily Mirror. The image instantly became a potent symbol of a health-care system in decay.

    But instead of offering a compassionate response, the Conservative leader fumbled during a scrum, doing his best to avoid addressing the issue directly.

  • @Laurence Cox

    And on any seat where last minute local campaigning matters, the constituency poll will be well within the margin of error (and they tend to have smaller samples than national ones, so bigger error margins) so as long as you’re within about 10% in those it’s nowhere near certain.

    Hope it all goes well for you in those target seats.

  • The yougov MRP model is not well understood (prob. including me!) but as I understand it does take into account the type of seat and that and therefore that certain voters may be voting tactically in certain types of seats. But there are quite big caveats. Firstly people on the Vote UK forum have pointed out that in 2017 it got the winner of a quarter of marginal seats wrong – you can have course be very accurate in the percentage but being out by a few percent changes the winner! But the errors will (probably) go both ways.

    It also relies on the seat being “typical” of its type and voters within its type being typical. For us Finchley and Golders Green does not seem to be typical with its large Jewish vote. I have no knowledge of Cambridgeshire but it does seem to be better ground for us than in other similar seats across the country and Brecon and Radnorshire is likely to be atypical as well given the by-election.

    Of course as is pointed out (just a bit on LDV!) we can also change it by getting the votes out and depriving Boris and Leave of 10-20 more seats and I agree with, @Ruth Bright although I suspect that in those seats that have had a Lib Dem MP at some point since 1997 we will do better than the MRP model predicts.

    In addition to the above – the model has us ahead in the following seats (the first 4 plus Richmond Park and St Albans) would be gains (with predicted majority and party in second place):
    North East Fife SNP 0
    Winchester Con 1
    Sheffield, Hallam Lab 4
    South Cambridgeshire Con 4
    East Dunbartonshire SNP 7
    Orkney and Shetland SNP 8
    Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross SNP 9
    Westmorland and Lonsdale Con 9
    Carshalton and Wallington Con 10
    Edinburgh West SNP 11
    St Albans Con 12
    Richmond Park Con 14
    Oxford West and Abingdon Con 15
    Bath Con 17
    Kingston and Surbiton Con 20
    Twickenham Con 28

  • These polls do provide an idea of how parties are doing, but they are not great at factoring in sudden high voter turnout or tactical voting.

    I live in Buckingham where the Lib Dem’s have bombarded the seat with leaflets and locals have been telling people to vote tactically with people saying vote Labour in the neighbouring constituency of Milton Keynes and Lib Dem in Buckingham. Interestingly I haven’t had one Labour leaflet through my door. It’s as if they forgot there was an election on…..

    Buckingham is of course Bercows seat and was safe Tory but has a strong remain vote. No one really knows what the swing will be or where the swing will go from to, because the data is unreliable.

    If I wake up tomorrow morning and this seat goes Lib Dem I wouldn’t be shocked at all, just pleasantly surprised.

    Point is this election is so unpredictable we could still do really well

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