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UEA election model predicts Norfolk to turn blue

The Conservatives are set to win all Norfolk constituency seats, according to UEA’s general election forecast.

Labour’s Clive Lewis has a 76 per cent probability of losing his Norwich South seat, whilst the Lib Dem’s Norman Lamb has a 100 per cent probability of losing his North Norfolk seat. All other Norfolk seats are held by Conservatives and expected to be retained.

With the UKIP vote drifting to the Conservatives and many students expected to return home before June 8, the 7,654 vote majority Mr Lewis gained in 2015 is likely to be eroded and possibly overturned.

The former Shadow Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We don’t disregard polls but what I am learning on the doorstep this time around is that there is everything to play for.”

“Labour is sticking to what we are good at, the ground war – pounding the streets, knocking on doors and getting people motivated to vote for us.”

Some view Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to have failed in connecting with voters beyond a hardcore group.  As a result, the prediction suggests that the East of England is ready to turn blue.

It would be the first time the Conservatives have controlled the entirety of Norfolk since the 1983 Tory landslide, when Margaret Thatcher’s government won a 188 seat majority.

Norman Lamb, one of nine current Lib Dem MPs, has held North Norfolk since winning the seat from the Tories in 2001.

The UEA forecast, by Dr Chris Hanretty, uses local data to build a national overview, whereas most polls predict local results from the national picture.

YouGov’s Research Director Anthony Wells said “The model Dr Hanretty has used is very sophisticated and we do hope to produce something similar closer to the election.”

A YouGov poll shows a 10 point Tory rise since 2015, although that would not be sufficient to gain either seat.

UPDATE: In the Election Forecast’s 22 May update, the forecast for Norwich South changed. In this latest update, Labour’s Clive Lewis is predicted a 51 per cent probability of winning, with the Conservative’s candidate Lana Hempsall given a 49 per cent probability.

Dr Hanretty explains this is owing to a change of the Election Forecast’s prediction model, “which allows for some overdispersion.”

He added that “constituency level outcomes are more variable.”


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Jack Lejk

July 2021
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