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Politics experts predict hung parliament at next UK election

A hung parliament at the next UK election is predicted by four experts in the new LSE Election Experts Blog.

Professor Simon Hix and Nick Vivyan of the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) predict a 67% probability of some form of hung parliament, with the Conservatives six seats short of a majority. David Cameron could become PM and govern alone on this basis, but would need the support of Northern Ireland Unionists. Hix and Vivyan see no chance of an outright Labour victory, and a one third chance of a clear Tory majority. *

This prediction is essentially echoed by a longer-run econometric model based on voters' economic expectations put forward by Professor David Sanders of the University of Essex, also on the Blog. Both presentations were given at the LSE British Election Conference 2010 and are available for download online.

Professor Patrick Dunleavy of LSE Public Policy Group commented: 'It is significant that two very sophisticated but very different scientific prediction methods have generated clear 'hung Parliament' results. In addition, the latest (10 March) poll tracker on the LSE Election blog shows that the median Tory lead over Labour is now down to just 5 percentage points – meaning that a three per cent shift in Labour's favour could throw the election outcome wide open'.

The Experts Election Blog will be updated regularly with research, predictions and comment by academics around LSE and beyond. Other contributors include Professor Emeritus Rodney Barker, LSE Government Department, and Charlie Beckett, director of media think-tank POLIS.

Read the latest election news or follow the LSE Election Experts blog through twitter at http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/election/


For more information contact LSE press office on 020 7955 7060


* Hix-Vivyan election prediction, from polls up to 2 March

We have developed a model for predicting the outcome of the next British General Election. This works in three steps. 

The first step combines information from national polling data, to gain an estimate of national vote-share for each party. To do this we adapt a "pooling the polls" method developed by Simon Jackman, a political scientist at Stanford University in California. This method combines recent polling data from each British polling agency, taking into account how far each agency tends to deviate from the overall average.

The second step involves translating these polled estimates of national-level party vote shares into constituency-level predictions. In doing this we take into account information on how marginal seats in different regions in the country deviate from national-level vote-swings between parties. For this we use the most fine-grained polling data from marginal seats that is currently available.

The third step involves calculating the probability of likely election outcomes, in terms of seats in the House of Commons. We do this by generating a large number of simulations of national vote-share for each party, based on the pooling the polls model. Then for each of these simulations we calculate constituency-level predictions and aggregate these up to House of Commons seats.

Based on the opinion polls up to 2 March, our model predicts the following outcome:


2005 Election Result

Hix-Vivyan Prediction







Liberal Democrat






Other parties




In other words, our model currently predicts a hung parliament, with the Conservatives 6 seats short of a majority.

In terms of the probability of certain outcomes, our model currently suggests that there is a 67% chance of a hung parliament, a 33% chance of Conservative majority, and a 0% chance of a Labour majority.

Simon Hix is a Professor of European and Comparative Politics in the Department of Government at the LSE

Nick Vivyan is a PhD student in the Department of Government at the LSE.