Latest poll forecast gives Labour a boost in East Lothian and Midlothian
Projections show Labour holding East Lothian and just two points behind in Midlothian
LABOUR will hold East Lothian and is closing the gap in Midlothian, according to the final predictions of a massive poll which correctly predicted the hung parliament produced by the 2017 general election.
The updated YouGov projections suggest the Tories’ national lead has been cut since the original survey two weeks ago, more than halving their predicted Commons majority from 68 to 28.
They show East Lothian Labour candidate Martin Whitfield four points ahead of the SNP’s Kenny MacAskill - who had been forecast to win the seat in the earlier poll - and Labour’s Danielle Rowley just two points behind the SNP’s Owen Thompson in Midlothian.
They suggest Edinburgh West - previously predicted as a dead heat - would now be a clear Lib Dem win over the SNP.
And they put Labour back in second place in Edinburgh North & Leith, where the Tories were previously forecast to push them into third.
The poll of more than 100,000 voters across the UK over seven days up to December 10 modelled voting preferences based on age, gender, education, past voting and other factors, along with localpolitical circumstances, and applied the information to the demographic makeup and individual characteristics of each seat.
Mr Whitfield welcomed the latest prediction. He said: “It supports what we have been getting on the doors, that it’s a two-horse race here between myself and Kenny.
“The reality is it’s really close and it’s going to be about the vote coming out, people wanting to defeat the threat of an Indyref2 and people wanting an MP who is a constituency MP for them.
“There are still a lot of people who don’t know how they are going to vote and we are still talking to them.”
With a cold and wet day forecast, the weather could affect turnout. But Mr Whitfield said: “I think in East Lothian, come hell or high water, people go out to vote.”
Mr MacAskill said he had not detected any change over the past couple of weeks since YouGov put him five points ahead of Labour.
He said: “It’s too close to call - that’s why every vote matters. Our view is if our vote turns out we can win.”
He said he and his team were out distributing an eve of poll leaflet about stopping Boris Johnson and Brexit and letting Scotland choose a better and fairer society.
And he said he was not worried about bad weather deterring voters.”I think people will vote regardless. In the end it’s motivation that matters. People will vote in rain and hail if they think it’s worth the trouble.”
In Midlothian, according to the projection, Ms Rowley has managed to cut a gap of seven points to just two, putting her within touching distance of retaining the seat she won from rival Mr Thompson last time.
The latest seat-by-seat analysis confirms the previous projection that the Tories would supplant Labour in second place in both Livingston and Linlithgow & East Falkirk.
But the forecast that the same would happen in Edinburgh North & Leith has changed and now Labour is one point ahead of the Tories.
The poll suggests an increase in Labour support in most of the seats, which will raise hopes that if that is a noticeable trend over the past two weeks it could continue into polling day and deny Boris Johnson a majority.
The poll shows the Tories with 43 per cent support across the UK, nine points ahead of Labour on 34 per cent, with the Lib Dems on 12 per cent.
And it predicts the Tories will have 339 seats in the new House of Commons, while Labour has 231, the SNP 41 and the Lib Dems 15. The Greens would stay on one, Palid Cymru would have four and the Brexit Party - on just three per cent of the vote - would not win any seats.
YouGov says the margin of error in the poll means the final number of Conservative seats could be anywhere between 311 and 367. A party needs 326 seats for a majority.
YouGov diector of political and social research Anthony Wells said: “This means that we absolutely cannot rule out the 2019 election producing a hung parliament - nor can we rule out a larger Conservative majority.”