Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. The Staggers
8 June 2017updated 09 Jun 2017 1:10am

General election 2017: Is the exit poll wrong?

The poll, released at 10pm, suggests the Conservatives are the largest party but cannot reach an overall majority. Is that right?

By New Statesman

The exit poll for the 2017 general election has predicted the Conservatives will get 314 seats – 12 short of the number needed for an overall majority. Labour are on 266, the SNP on 34 and the Lib Dems on 14. There are 326 seats needed for an overall majority.

We won’t know if the exit poll is right until around 3am, when enough results have come in. See the full list of timings here. 

The first result was from Newcastle, where Labour’s Chi Onwurah has gained more than 2,000 votes. Peter Kellner, formerly of YouGov, told the BBC that this was a 2 per cent swing to Labour, while the exit poll indicated a 7 per cent swing to Labour. In the second seat, Sunderland, Labour were also up – but so were the Conservatives.

By 2am, after 50 seats had declared, the exit poll was holding up well, although it slightly underestimated the SNP losses.

The unofficial aim of those who create the exit poll is to get within 20 seats of the final results. (In 2015, they underestimated the Conservative vote by 15 seats.) So the potential range of results indicated by the exit poll run from an overall Conservative majority to fewer than 300 seats for them.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

So far, the results are mixed – in some places, the Tories are doing better than expected. In others, it’s Labour. Overall, the YouGov model seems like a better guide to results.

Content from our partners
How to create a responsible form of “buy now, pay later”
“Unions are helping improve conditions for drivers like me”
Transport is the core of levelling up

Stephen Bush says: “Is the exit poll right? Well, they have been wrong before. In 1992 and 2015 they underestimated the Tory vote. But the biggest recent error is 20 seats – which even if it all went the Tories’ way, would still see them struggling to govern and reliant on the support of the DUP.”