Published: Thu, June 01, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

YouGov Poll: British PM May Could Lose Majority in June 8 Election

The Prime Minister was forced into an embarrassing about-face and the whole affair badly damaged the image of "strong and stable leadership" that May had been trying to project.

"A hung parliament would in more normal circumstances be viewed as quite a negative for sterling", analyst Paul Meggyesi said in a note distributed to media on Tuesday and sent to clients at the end of last week.

The biggest mover in currencies was sterling, which shed 0.3 per cent after a YouGov poll showed the ruling Conservative Party might lose 20 of the 330 seats it holds while the opposition Labour Party could gain almost 30 seats.

But May insisted she had the best plan for taking Britain into negotiations over its exit from the European Union, which start 11 days after the election.

Other surveys have shown May still on course to substantially increase her majority and bookmakers still put the chances of a Conservative victory at more than 90 percent. But it was the first time that a so-called "hung parliament" - where no one party has an overall majority - has been predicted.

"Sterling is about 2 percent higher than when the election was called suggesting markets remain positioned for a big Tory (Conservative party) win that - in theory - would strengthen May's hands in Brexit talks", Tombs added. That was, after all, the reason she announced the vote.

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While May enjoyed a lead of more than 20 percentage points when she announced the snap election, polls published since the resumption of campaigning after the Manchester terror attack last week have shown Conservative leads varying from 4 points up to 14 points.

Sterling weakened against the dollar late Wednesday after a new poll found that British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party's lead over rival Labour was just 3 points with just over a week to go before a national election.

What do YouGov's figures show?

During the 1992 general election campaign they all pointed to a hung parliament; yet on the day the Conservatives under John Major won, albeit only with a small majority.

ICM director Martin Boon told the Guardian that his polling company gives the Tories higher leads than others as its methodology "assumes young people will be less likely to vote than older, and less affluent people will be less likely to vote than the wealthy". A person familiar with the projection model, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it had also been successful in the 2016 US presidential vote.

Michael Ashcroft, a former Conservative Party donor who funds polling, uses the same types of modelling as YouGov but came up with a very different estimate of the election: May winning 396 seats and Corbyn winning 180 seats.

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