Conservatives' lead over Labour seen narrowing - Panelbase

Most other polls keep the Conservative Party in a commanding lead, but YouGov is claiming to be using a methodology that got the European Union referendum result correct.

The Conservatives are on course for a hung parliament, according to a new poll on next week's General Election. The survey also found that the opposition Labour party won 257 seats, up from 229 in the prior poll. Smaller parties, including the Scottish National Party and Northern Irish parties, could win 83 seats, the Times newspaper quoted YouGov as predicting.

YouGov's analysis puts the Tories on 310 seats, down from the 330 they went into the election with, and 16 short of a majority.

The pound has risen almost 4% since May called a snap election for June, as investors bet a then-predicted landslide majority for May would result in a stronger hand in negotiating Britain's exit from the European Union.

If May fails to win an overall majority, Britain would be thrust into political turmoil: May would be forced to strike a deal with another party to continue governing either as a coalition or a minority government.

The pound was flat against the U.S. dollar at 1.28 and only marginally higher versus the euro at 1.145, after dipping by as much as 0.5% following a YouGov poll indicating that the Tories could lose 20 seats and see its majority wiped out.

The prospect of a hung parliament sent the pound tumbling to as low as $1.2791 in early trading, perilously close to the one-month low of $1.2775 touched at the end of last week.

When May broke with her previous statements by announcing a snap election for June 8, three years ahead of schedule, it looked as if her Conservatives were set to take a massive majority in Parliament.

Britain's Prime Minister, Theresa May, speaks during a campaign visit to Grand station in Wolverhampton in central England, Tuesday May 30, 2017.

When asked about the possibility of losing her majority, May said: "The only poll that matters is the one that is going to take place the 8th of June".

Several opinion polls have shown a narrowing lead for the Conservatives, shaking confidence among investors in an election victory read as strengthening May's hand in Brexit talks next month.

"Once the Conservative lead falls below 7 points we are potentially in the world of a hung parliament", said John Curtice, a leading psephologist who is president of the British Polling Council. Younger people lean more towards Labour.

The model was based on 50,000 interviews conducted over a week and allowed YouGov to assess the intention of every type of voter, from where they live to how they voted on Brexit, their age and social background, in order to weight the results.

Against a backdrop of narrowing polls - increasing concerns in the market that she may not get as large a majority as previously expected - the British premier left the confrontation largely unscathed.

  • Carolyn Briggs