A giant ballot box. Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
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The blagger's guide to the election

What happens if no-one wins? Why are people not voting? What happened in 1974, and why does it matter?

What would the UK look like (if the current polls are correct)?

This is what the electoral map of Britain will look like on 8 May if current polls are correct. To create this map, we have used a “poll of polls”, averaging out nationwide surveys and the work undertaken in individual constituencies by the Conservative peer Michael Ashcroft. This filters out rogue polls and takes into account the standard margin of error (3 points). The result is a swath of yellow as Scotland votes overwhelmingly for the SNP; Labour is reduced to a handful of seats there and the Lib Dems just one. The Lib Dems also face heavy losses in the south-west. Elsewhere, it is clear that the Tories have not broken through in northern cities; nor has Labour made big gains in the south-east outside London. End result? A hung parliament.

 

What happens if no-one wins?

Since there's likely to be a split vote, the question now is what happens after 7 May.

Anoosh Chakelian explains the most likely scenarios.

 

What's the difference between vote share and seat share?

With a first past the post system, it can be substantial. Here are our latest predictions.

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What can we learn from past elections?

With Scottish Nationalists, a hung house and even debates over North Sea oil, the 1974 election looks just a little bit familiar.

Stephen Bush explains what we can learn from it.

 

Can Labour or the Tories get a working majority?

Maybe!

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Who are the "lost voters" (and what happens if they vote)?

There's been a lot of attention on those who don't vote, and why.

Ashley Cowburn sorts the fact from the fiction.

 

What did the polls look like in previous elections?

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How much does it cost to stand?

Someone has to pay for all the leaflets and rosettes. 

Caroline Crampton tots up the cost of running for parliament.

 

Are people changing who they support?

In a word, yes.

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What are the top ten seats to watch?

Where should you be looking on election night?

Harry Lambert of May2015.com runs through the top ten.

For more election analysis, read our latest coverage here.

This article first appeared in the 17 April 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Election Special

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Word of the week: Michellania


Each week The Staggers will pick a new word to describe our uncharted political and socioeconomic territory. 

After brash Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump paraded his family at the national convention, the word of the week is:

Michellania (n)

A speech made of words and phrases gathered from different sources, such as Michelle Obama speeches and Rick Astley lyrics.

Usage: 

"I listened hard, but all I heard was michellania."

"Can you really tell the difference between all this michellania?"

"This michellania - you couldn't make it up."

Articles to read if you're sick of michellania:

Do you have a suggestion for next week's word? Share it in the form below.