In less than 24 hours the British electorate will start voting in the election for the 650-seat House of Commons with the result expected early in the morning of Friday 9th June.
While the last general election was only held two years ago, there is arguably as much if not more at stake this time round than in May 2015.
Opinion polls still point to the ruling Conservatives winning a record-high 44% of the national vote ahead of the opposition Labour Party, but polling agencies which in the past have misestimated true voting intentions still display great inconsistency.
Ultimately it is the number of seats which British parties command which matters and the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system makes it difficult to predict.
You Gov’s constituency-specific model forecasts the Conservatives winning only 304 seats as a result of a record number of “wasted” votes, a 26-seat loss and well short of both a working and absolute majority. Labour would increase its seat numbers from 229 to 266.
This would result in a hung parliament and either a coalition or minority government.
My own model points to the Conservatives winning around 360 seats (55.4% of total) and Labour 212 seats. Admittedly, this prediction is based on a number of assumptions, namely the net share of votes which Conservatives gain from other parties as well as voter turnout.
Whether the Conservatives significantly improve on their current 330 seats or fail to secure a parliamentary majority remains a tough call and there is an almost infinite number of possible outcomes.
However, I have narrowed down in Figure 10 the number of seats the Conservatives could win to eight possible scenarios, in each case assessing i) Their probability; ii) Their numerical impact on the Conservatives’ majority (or lack thereof); and iii) The risk of opposition parties and/or Conservative backbenchers high-jacking the policy agenda.
Figure 11 assesses for each of the eight scenarios their likely impact on iv) Theresa May’s standing within the Conservative Party and v) Sterling and currency volatility.
Regardless of what happens tomorrow, two events beyond British shores also scheduled for 8th June – the ECB’s policy meeting and Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee – will conceivably exacerbate Sterling volatility.
Read ‘UK General Election Scenario Analysis – Impact on Policy, Theresa May and Sterling‘ on my website.