General Election 2015: Where will the Tory marginals end up?

 
Ashley Kirk
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A Conservative supporter leaves the Hampstead and Kilburn Conservative office to go canvassing for the general election. Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

With the General Election predicted to be the closest in a generation, and polls refusing to give either Labour or the Conservatives a clear lead, the outcome is likely to come down to handful of marginal constituencies.

Looking at the 72 most marginal Conservative constituencies - all of those with a majority of less than six per cent in 2010 - we can see some interesting patterns which may play out in the election.

The Conservatives are holding seats they won by more than two per cent last time...

Just 20 of the 72 constituencies are due to remain Tory, if the General Election follows Lord Ashcroft’s constituency polls.

In these 20 seats, their average majority holds up relatively well - in 2010, they had an average Tory majority of 4.1 per cent. This time round, Ashcroft has it at 2.7 per cent.

Some marginal seats even have stronger Tory majorities expected this time round. Kingswood, for example, had a Tory majority of 2.55 per cent. The latest Lord Ashcroft poll now has the party on a 4.5 per cent majority over Labour.

… But Labour could take more than 40 seats from them

Some 41 constituencies are expected to swing to Labour as the party retakes English seats that the Tories won in 2010.

Across these seats, there is an average swing of 5.8 per cent from Tories to Labour, with the biggest swing appearing in Wolverhampton (8.9 per cent).

If it was not for the fact it faces wipeout in Scotland, Miliband's party would be on course to become Westminster’s largest party.

Ukip may not be taking seats from the Tories - but it could help Labour win some

Only Thurrock, according to the Lord Ashcroft polls, is likely to switch to Ukip - with the party currently four points ahead of Labour in this seat.

Its support is helping depress the Tory vote in several key marginals such as Waveney, which currently has Labour on a nine point lead over them.

Equally, however, Thurrock should be an easy take for Labour - but Ukip is currently depriving the party of this seat. The Ukip vote is unpredictable a week away from the election, but it could prove vital in deciding the balance of power.

You may as well flip a coin for some seats

Three of the constituencies have Labour and the Tories on exactly the same percentage of the vote. South Ribble, Pudsey and Rossendale & Darwen each have the two parties polling equally at around 40 per cent.

These three seats will prove important battlegrounds on 7 May - with both major parties wanting to win them to help their chances of forming a government.

In both South Ribble, Labour has risen in popularity - taking some votes from the Lib Dems. In South Ribble and Rossendale & Darwen, Ukip has eaten away at the Tory vote - but the parties are neck and neck in both constituencies.

In Pudsey, both the Tories and Labour have risen in the polls at the expense of the Lib Dems.

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