Polling expert Sir John Curtice updates his General Election prediction

5 December 2019, 14:45 | Updated: 5 December 2019, 15:04

A month ago, Sir John Curtice predicted we could be in for a hung parliament. With one week until polling day, the elections expert gave LBC his updated forecast.

The Conservatives have a commanding lead according to the polls, but recent ones suggest their lead is closing.

Seven days before the election, Shelagh Fogarty spoke to Sir John Curtice, the UK's leading polling expert, to find out his current thoughts.

Sir John Curtice's election forecast: Seven days to go

"I think one prediction was quite enough last time. What I would say is it's very clear where we are. If the polls are at all right, there is about a 70% chance the Conservatives will get the overall majority they need.

"The 10-point lead they currently have in the polls will be adequate if it translates to the ballot boxes. But if the lead turns out not to be more than 6%, then we get into a world where there is a 50% chance of a hung parliament.

"That is because Boris Johnson has got to get a majority if he's going to get his Withdrawal Agreement through - and probably even if he's going to remain Prime Minister. He's not sufficiently far ahead of where he needs to be that he can assume it's in the bag.

Sir John Curtice in the LBC studio
Sir John Curtice in the LBC studio. Picture: LBC

"But the 10-point lead is an average figure. Some polls give a bigger lead and if that's the case, then frankly there is nothing much for the Tories to worry about.

"But conversely, there are a couple of other polls which gives them a 6- or 7-point lead and if they prove to be closer to the truth, then this is potentially a tight election so far as Boris Johnson's future is concerned."

Will smaller parties still do well?

A month ago, Sir John predicted: "I think the safest prediction is that we will have a record number of non-Conservative and non-Labour MPs in this parliament."

He's less sure about that now, stating: "It's not looking as bright as it once did, not least because of the Liberal Democrats.

"In Scotland, the SNP still look likely to make gains although perhaps not as many as they once looked like getting. We expect Caroline Lucas to hang on to her seat. We expect the Welsh nationalists to have at least four seats.

"So the key thing is how well the Liberal Democrats do.

"The record number of third-party MPs is 88. If you would take the polls at the moment, we might be slightly below that figure at 82."