Major opinion poll predicts 68-seat majority for Conservatives under Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson is on course for a 68-seat majority by taking seats in Labour's heartlands, a major new opinion poll has found.
YouGov unveiled the findings of its constituency-by-constituency multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) model, which correctly predicted a hung parliament 10 days before the 2017 general election.
In a huge boost for the Prime Minister, the poll for The Times shows the Tories picking up 44 seats from Labour while Jeremy Corbyn's party is on track to lose 51 seats overall.
According to the poll, the Conservatives are set to win 359 seats – up 42 on their 2017 result – with Labour plummeting to just 211.
The Liberal Democrats are on course to make a net gain of just one seat, taking them to 13 MPs overall, while the SNP are predicted make eight gains, giving them 43 MPs.
In Scotland, the poll predicts that the SNP will take Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross from the Lib Dems, while also holding on to North East Fife, the seat it held by just two votes in 2017.
If the poll is correct, the Lib Dems will be left with just two seats in Scotland: party leader Jo Swinson’s seat of East Dunbartonshire and Lib Dem heartland Orkney and Shetland.
The SNP is also predicted to take five out of Labour’s seven seats in Scotland, including that of shadow Scottish secretary and deputy Scottish leader Lesley Laird, with only Ian Murray in Edinburgh South and Hugh Gaffney in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill predicted to hold onto their seats.
The Conservatives are predicted hold 11 of their current 13 seats in Scotland, but lose Stirling and East Renfrewshire to the SNP.
In England, YouGov finds that most seats set to change hands in the 12 December election are ones that Labour won in 2017, with Jeremy Corbyn's party currently trailing the Tories in 43 of the 76 constituencies where they led the Conservatives by fewer than 8,000 votes at the last election.
The model suggests that Boris Johnson will benefit from much larger swings in seats where voters opted heavily in favour of leaving the EU in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
But Labour is on course to hold on to seats in southern, Remain-backing parts of the country where the party made gains in 2017.
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats are on track to lose every candidate who defected to the party in the last parliament, despite their share of the vote jumping from 8 per cent in 2017 to 14 per cent this time around.
Independent candidates Anna Soubry, David Gauke, Gavin Shuker, Frank Field and Dominic Grieve are also on course to lose their seats, the pollster finds.
Commenting on the new study, YouGov's political research manager Chris Curtis said: “YouGov’s official election MRP model currently shows the Tories with a comfortable majority with almost all of those coming at the expense of Labour in the North and Midlands.
“As expected, the key thing deciding the extent to which each of these seats is moving against Labour are how that seat voted in the European Union referendum.
“In the seats that voted most strongly to Leave in 2016 (60 per cent or more in favour of departing the EU), the swing to the Conservatives is over six per cent.
“This is allowing the Tories to overturn quite substantial majorities in places like West Bromwich East, the seat held until recently by Tom Watson, and Don Valley, the seat currently held by Caroline Flint.”
He added: “The only silver lining for Labour is that there are still 30 seats where it is currently five per cent or less behind the Tories.
“If it can manage to squeeze the gap over the coming fortnight it may be able to paste over the cracks in their so-called Red Wall. But with just two weeks to go, time is running out for Labour.”