Who will win the next general election? Latest polls and odds

Rishi Sunak is spluttering in the polls while Keir Starmer is riding high, but is a likely election in 2024 already a done deal? We take a look.

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer arrive to the House of Commons Members' Lobby during the State Opening of Parliament at the Houses of Parliament in London on November 7, 2023. (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak's Conservatives and Sir Keir Starmer's Labour are set to contest a general election later this year. (AFP via Getty Images)

Rishi Sunak is headed towards a crushing general election defeat similar to the Conservatives’ 1997 blowout, according to a new poll.

The latest YouGov polling has found Labour would win 403 seats from across the UK, leading to a 154-seat majority in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives would win just 155 seats, down from the 365 seats they won at the 2019 general election.

The analysis, which uses the multi-level regression and poststratification (MRP) method of polling, found that prominent Tory figures including Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, and Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg would be on course to lose their seats.

Other well-known Conservatives at risk of losing their seats include Cabinet members Michelle Donelan, the science secretary, and Welsh secretary David TC Davies.

In 1997, former Labour prime minister Tony Blair won 418 of the available 659 Commons seats, defeating Tory PM John Major in a major landslide.

In the new poll, The Reform Party was found to have a growing share of the voting intention. It is not predicted to win any seats, and while it places second in 36 constituencies, it is not close to winning them. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats are on course to expand their parliamentary comeback, with a projected win of 49 seats.

North of the border, YouGov estimates that Labour will be the largest party in Scotland. They are projected to win 28 Scottish seats, followed by the SNP with 19.

A general election is set to take place in the second half of this year, with Sunak having ruled out Britain going to the polls on 2 May. But Tory hopes of a revival before the country votes are looking ever more unlikely.

A budget that saw national insurance cut has done nothing to revive the party's fortunes and it is still lagging some distance behind Labour.

Ahead of the next election, Yahoo News UK looks at how the polls have changed, what is behind this and the latest odds.

What do the opinion polls say?

YouGov's voting intention tracker (see chart, below), which has been regularly surveying voters since January 2020, demonstrates the extent to which support for the Tories has collapsed - and backing for Labour has ascended.

In their most recent poll, Labour's dominance under Sir Keir Starmer continues, and makes grim reading for Sunak.

Four years of polling shows how Labour has transformed its fortunes. (YouGov)
Four years of polling shows how Labour has transformed its fortunes. (YouGov)

Recent data – covering 26 and 27 March – shows Labour on 40%, the Conservatives on 21%, Reform UK on 16%, the Lib Dems on 10%, the Greens on 8%, SNP on 3% and Plaid Cymru on 1%. The results are particularly bad for Sunak as it shows the Tory vote share falling to around the same level as the lowest point under former prime minister Liz Truss, while Reform UK reach their highest score to date.

What are the latest odds?

As of 3 April, Oddschecker – a website which compares odds across different bookmakers – had Labour at 1/7 to win the most seats.

The Conservatives are 10/1 to win the most seats.

What went wrong for the Tories?

So, why have the polls changed so dramatically? It's worth looking back on an extremely eventful four years in UK politics.

Tory support peaked at 53% (with Labour on 32%) in April 2020, months after the party's stunning success in the 2019 general election and Boris Johnson's pledge to “get Brexit done”. That month also saw Starmer take over as Labour leader from Jeremy Corbyn.

This was also amid a spirit of national unity following the onset of the COVID pandemic which nearly killed Johnson himself. The then-PM had been released from hospital five days before this particular survey was taken.

TOPSHOT - Britain's outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers his final speech outside 10 Downing Street in central London on September 6, 2022, before heading to Balmoral to tender his resignation. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson formally tenders his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday, handing over power to Liz Truss after his momentous tenure dominated by Brexit and Covid was cut short by scandal. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson delivers his final speech as prime minister outside 10 Downing Street in September 2022. (AFP via Getty Images)

Over the rest of the year, there was a downturn in support amid chaos over COVID rules, with the Tories falling as low as 35% in November 2020, compared to Labour on 40%.

However, the UK’s successful COVID vaccination programme provided a pathway out of lockdown and with it, improved poll ratings. Tory support peaked at 41% in June 2021, with Labour at 30%.

In October that year, there was a sense Johnson was untouchable. At the Tory party conference, the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg remarked how the PM was "in total command of his party, and politically dominant in the country".

But this fell apart quickly with the Partygate scandal, which emerged in November that year. Time and again, reports emerged of government and Tory staff – including Johnson – having taken part in lockdown-era social gatherings when their own COVID rules had prohibited them. By January 2022, Tory support had plummeted to 28%, with Labour on 38%.

Johnson struggled on, but never recovered and a wave of ministerial resignations forced him to resign in July that year.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on November 12, 2023 in London, England. Every year, members of the British Royal family join politicians, veterans and members of the public to remember those who have died in combat. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
The UK had three separate prime ministers – Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak – between 6 September and 24 October, 2022. (Getty Images)

His successor, Truss, then embarked on arguably the most disastrous prime ministerial reign in history, characterised by the catastrophic "mini-budget", containing £45bn of unfunded tax cuts, which prompted an economic crisis. Like Johnson, she lost the confidence of Tory MPs – and voters – and had to resign.

Her 49-day spell as PM was the shortest in history, with Tory support plummeting to 19% (with Labour on 56%) the day after she announced her resignation in October 2022.

Sunak, who had lost to Truss in the previous month's Tory leadership election, took over. However, as the above YouGov voting intention chart indicates, he has failed to cut through with voters. Tory support was at 23% two days after he assumed office, with recent surveys showing it either dropping or staying on the same level.

In short, the polls, not to mention other factors such as notable by-election victories for Starmer's Labour, are pointing to a Labour government – whenever the election is called.

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