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United Kingdom Elections

UK Election 2017: Best and Worst-Case Scenarios

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Time is running out in the British election campaign. Opinion polls today are pretty much what they’re going to be tomorrow. With this and our best political instincts, we give to you the best and worst case scenarios.

Tomorrow morning, as polling stations open across the United Kingdom, we made concrete final predictions. Now, we look at ranges. What’s a good night for the Conservatives? How bad would their worst night be? As for Labour, what are their best and worst scenarios?

Conservatives: Best and Worst Case Scenarios

Worst-Case: 311 seats. This assumes that the Tories are in third place in Scotland’s popular vote. Further, the national popular vote is a dead-even tie. Given that not one survey from the campaign’s start through Monday showed a Labour lead or tie, this is perhaps a bit generous to them. Losing over a dozen seats would be a pretty bad election night for the Tories.

Best-Case: 370 seats. A seat total of 370 would equal a Conservative majority of 90. Had we done this article a month ago, the best-case number would have been closer to 400. It’s looking less and less like it will be a 1983-type stomping. However, if the polls showing the 11 and 12-point Tory leads are right, it’ll look more like this.

Labour: Best and Worst Case Scenarios

Worst-Case: 204 seats. Labour sheds over two dozen MPs in this electoral rout. The Labour Party loses by about 12 points or so nationally, with their only gains coming in Wales.

Best-Case: 262 seats. This is a Labour gain of 30 from the last election, completely unthinkable a month or two ago. Their popular vote rises to about 39 percent, but strategically placed, they gain seats in Wales, Yorkshire, and even Devon.

Liberal Democrats: Best and Worst Case Scenarios

Worst-Case: 5 seats. The Lib Dems were nearly wiped out in the 2015 election. 2017 could just about finish the job in their worst-case scenario. Orkney and Shetland, Southport, and Carshalton & Wallington all go away. Nick Clegg barely holds his seat in Sheffield.

Best-Case: 12 seats. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s going to take the Lib Dems several strong elections to get back where they were. This would be a good start. The Lib Dems retake a few marginals like Twickenham and Eastbourne.

Nationalists: Best and Worst Case Scenarios

SNP Worst-Case: 44 seats. Now this would put a dent in the SNP’s hold on Scotland. They’d still be the largest party by far, but with 12 fewer seats. Seats that the Scottish Nationals won by 6,000 to 7,000 votes two years ago are suddenly in danger. The SNP vote share drops into the low 40s.

SNP Best-Case: 54 seats. The SNP almost holds together their massive sweep of 2015 with 54 out of 56 seats. Only the closest seats like Berwickshire and East Dunbartonshire change hands.

Plaid Worst-Case: 2 seats. Not only does Plaid fail in Ynys Môn, but Labour’s improved fortunes toss them out in Arfon. They hold together enough of their vote share to retain their other two seats.

Plaid Best-Case: 4 seats. Plaid Cymru snatches Ynys Môn from Labour, having lost by only 229 votes last time. Otherwise, they hold their other three seats with slightly increased majorities. They put up a good fight in Ceredigion but fall again.

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