Too close to call?

With a year to go until the General Election, the national polls remain very close and the result difficult to predict. Every commentator, party activist and think tanker you ask has a different view of what will happen.

Even within the NCVO policy team there are differing views. Some predict a late surge for the Conservatives, pointing to the rising GDP figures and the old adage “It’s the economy, stupid”; others predict a Labour-led government in 2015, raising the impact of the Conservative’s failed attempt to change constituency boundaries and that it is incredibly rare for prime ministers to increase their vote-share in a second term.

The close polls since the Budget last month have only compounded this.

Given the uncertainty, we were interested to know what result the sector is predicting and preparing for. NCVO recently polled our members to see what result they are expecting.

The results

The most popular choice was ‘don’t know’, with over a quarter of the respondents recognising the uncertainty of the result and choosing not to guess at a particular option. The exception was large charities. Respondents from larger charities were more willing to make any prediction and tended to think a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition is most likely.

Overall, a Conservative majority was the least expected result, closely followed by a repeat of the current coalition. A Conservative minority government was the most popular prediction. With better economic results and many of the party’s big reforms started – if not necessarily completed – the option of a minority government may be more appealing this time round.

Grouping the various options together, views were split fairly evenly between Labour and the Conservatives. With 35% expecting a Conservative-led government of some sort, and 39% expecting a Labour-led one, the results loosely mirror the national polls on voting intention.

With national polling results so close, charities need to be prepared for all eventualities. Whilst always recommended, ensuring you are engaging with members of all three main political parties is especially important ahead of next year’s election.

Karl Wilding, NCVO’s director of public policy, has commented on the wider Charities Forecast poll.

Want to find out more?

If you want to understand what might happen at the next election join us for a breakfast learning session on 10 June on how to read the polls and what to expect in 2015. We’ll be joined by the ComRes head of political polling, Tom Mludzinski, who will give an expert view of what the polls are telling us, and then hear from Karl Wilding, director of public policy, on what this might mean for the sector.

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Charlotte was our senior external relations officer and public affairs consultant. She has left NCVO

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