New MRP election pact analysis: Labour's chances at the next General Election

Best for Britain has undertaken a major 10,000-response poll and seat-by-seat MRP investigation into how the parties would fare at a UK General Election and, crucially, what would happen in different election pact scenarios.

The poll fieldwork took place throughout April 2022, at the same time the government was facing Partygate fines and scandals involving Conservative MPs. So the MRP analysis represents the most favourable conditions for Labour and the least favourable conditions for the Conservatives and allows us to look at these results as a best-case situation for Labour.

We know, though, that UKIP and then the Brexit Party (now ReformUK) stood down candidates in the 2017 and 2019 general elections in marginal target Conservative constituencies. Our analysis shows if they do that again they would deny Labour a majority.

We have also looked at how similar opposition cooperation could affect the outcome, and found even with a right-wing electoral pact cooperation between the Greens, Lib Dems and Labour in a minority of English seats would give Labour the keys to No.10.

Join the campaign >

Key findings

  • Labour will fall short of a majority if other right wing parties stand down for the Conservatives as they have in the last 2 elections.

  • The polling was undertaken over a month of scandal for the Conservative party when conditions were most favourable for Labour.

  • Analysis suggests cooperation between the Greens, Lib Dems and Labour in a minority of English seats would put Starmer in Number 10.

  • The polling further shows that the Prime Minister is projected to lose his seat in all scenarios.

The Regressive Pact:
If ReformUK stands aside for the Conservatives

A first past the post voting system structurally favours the right-wing parties as, typically, right-wing votes are concentrated in one or two parties whereas left-wing votes are spread across Labour, Lib Dems, Greens and to an extent the nationalist parties in Wales and Scotland.

In modelling what happens if the current smaller right-wing party (ReformUK) stands its candidates down to give the Conservatives a free run we have assumed a 100% vote transfer from Reform UK to the Conservatives in this model. Of course it is unlikely that every single potential Reform UK voter would switch to voting Conservative in a real election, but we feel it is prudent to illustrate the 'worst-case' situation facing Labour and the other left-wing opposition parties.

The regressive alliance scenario produces a hung Parliament, giving the Conservatives an extra 31 seats and putiting Labour at the mercy of the SNP if the party hoped to form a minority government.

The Progressive Alliance:
If the Opposition parties cooperate against the Regressive Pact

There are lots of myths about how votes transfer between parties so we polled specific questions as part of our MRP to get an accurate reflection of the interchangeability between Lab and LD voters. We used that data to predict how voters would change parties if two of either Labour, Lib Dems and Greens stood down to allow one of them to stand unopposed against the Conservatives.

We published findings of a similar exercise in October 2021 here.

Our new May 2022 analysis shows that even when we apply the 100% transfer of ReformUK votes to Conservatives, cooperation between Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Greens in just a minority of seats in England would be enough to get a majority for a coalition of the three parties.

Our MRP analysis from November 2021, before the Conservatives were hit by Partygate and prior to the big shift in Labour's polling, told a similar story of cooperation between the opposition parties being key to their success.

What do voters think about electoral co-operation?

We asked people to tell us whether they agreed that the leaders of Labour and Liberal Democrats should cooperate more closely with the Green Party leaders. We found that 54% of Labour supporters, 74% of Green supporters and 56% of Lib Dem supporters agreed.

About the MRP and Poll

Focaldata MRP analysis based on Focaldata polling on behalf of Best for Britain. 10,010 GB adults were polled between 6th and 14th April 2022. Further analysis on electoral pacts by Best for Britain. 

Data tables available here.

What is MRP?

Multilevel regression and poststratification (MRP) is a statistical technique for estimating public opinion in small geographic areas or sub-groups using national opinion surveys. The MRP technique has two main elements. The first is to use a survey to build a multi-level regression model that predicts opinion (or any quantity of interest) from certain variables, normally demographics. The second is to weight (post-stratify) your results by the relevant population frequency, to get population level (or constituency level) estimates. At the end of this process, you yield more accurate, more granular (thus more actionable) estimates of public opinion than traditional polling.

Join the campaign fo cooperation between Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens at the next election.

Join the campaign >