So when eight of Britain’s top pollsters all predict a Conservative majority — in spite of current polls indicating there’s a strong chance of a hung parliament — it is worth unpacking their hunch.
Given all the uncertainties in this election campaign, why do all eight forecasts fit in a range of about 40 seats? Is there something they know that we don’t?
– The desire to get rid of Brown is more powerful than the doubts over Cameron
– Cameron will benefit from the debates
– There will be a disproportionate swing to the Tories in the marginals
None of these statements are particularly surprising. But, familiar or not, they are quite big assumptions to make. Evidence from the marginals is mixed. The Tories need the biggest swing in their favour since the war. The Lib Dems are not looking like a push-over. Expectations of a Cameron victory in the debates are running dangerously high. Academics, meanwhile, are coalescing around a hung parliament forecast.
That said, even some Labour stalwarts admit it feels like there will be a Tory majority. If I was pinned down by a feisty Independent on Sunday journalist, I would probably plump with a Tory majority too. But the contrarian in all of us should have been shaken awake by the cosy consensus in the polling community. It might be time to take a close look at those odds on a hung parliament.