In May last year, I had a stab at predicting how many seats each party would win in the coming general election.
The unforeseen (by me) rise of the SNP in Scotland has completely thrown out my predictions.
I also accept that my broad brush approach to universal swings was too rough an instrument as perhaps universal swings are too generous to Labour. Lord Ashcroft's constituency polling gives some more pointers as to what is happening in the marginals.
I gave predictions for scenarios ranging from a 6 point Tory lead to a 6 point Labour lead. The current Labour 2 point lead suggested a 40 seat overall majority for them (LAB 345 CON 245). A tad optimistic for Labour perhaps.
I rounded each party to a nearest 5 seat total and worked on the assumption of a combined "others" of 60 seats (Lib Dems with 25 of those). With Labour and Tory combined splitting 590 seats between them.
Now we are closer to the election, I think I can narrow that down and also incorporate more data from spread betting predictions, which tend to overestimate the Tories and underestimate Labour. In 2010 betting predicted the Tories getting 13 more seats than they actually got and Labour 40 less.
Bearing all of this in mind, my predictions are now as follows (with net change from 2010 result);
Using the current polling of Labour with a 2 point lead over the Tories in the UK but 17 points behind the SNP in Scotland.
LAB 279 (+21)
CON 269 (-37)
SNP 47 (+41)
LDEM 25 (-32)
DUP 8 (-)
UKIP 6 (+6)
SF 5 (-)
PC 4 (+1)
SDLP 3 (-)
GRN 1 (-)
RES 1 (-)
AP 1 (-)
OTH 1 (-)
Behind these figures, I have predicted Labour losing 33 seats to the SNP. The Lib Dems losing 13 seats to the Tories, 10 to Labour, 8 to the SNP and 1 to Plaid Cymru. And the Tories losing 44 seats to Labour and 6 to UKIP.
Assuming Sinn Fein with their 5 seats continue to not take up their seats, then 321 is needed for a majority.
I predict a Labour minority government with the SNP, SDLP, Plaid Cymru and Green providing confidence and supply (a total of 334 seats, a majority of 26 excluding Sinn Fein). Obviously this would be a very precarious arrangement unlikely to last anywhere near 5 years.