Britain heads for hung parliament

by Ken Feltman

Radnor research completed yesterday, for Britain’s May 6 election, confirms our earlier prediction that voters in the United Kingdom will force politicians to resolve a hung parliament. No party will win the majority required to form a government.

Here are our final projection for seats in the new parliament and percentage of votes:

Labour – 230 seats/27%
Tories – 295 seats/35%
Lib Dems – 95 seats/28%

Some Labour leaders have been anticipating the rout of Labour and are working to line up support to oust unpopular Prime Minister Gordon Brown as party leader as soon as possible after results are announced. Others, however, are cautioning that neither the Conservatives nor the Liberal Democrats will be able to form a governing coalition without Labour cooperation. They want to keep Brown to have a negotiating advantage.

Focus groups suggest that voters would have voted Labour back into office if the Tory or the Lib Dem leader (David Cameron or Nick Clegg) headed the Labour party.

Digging deeper, Radnor found that British voters narrowly support the Labour platform – but reject the mistake-prone Brown.

David Cameron is not trusted by large segments of voters from the middle and the left. Nick Clegg, a fresh face, is viewed as the best choice for prime minister of the three party leaders.

The big question in the media after the election will be whether the Lib Dems will form a coalition with Labour or the Tories and what role Lib Dem Leader Clegg will have. However, this is where Brown may excel. He is reported to have sent advisors over the weekend to meet with key Conservative leaders to see whether a left-right coalition is possible. Conservative spokesmen have refused to acknowledge any such contacts. They do admit, however, that a left-right deal depends on what Labour offers.

Brown cannot be counted out quite yet. 

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About Radnor Reports

Ken Feltman is past-president of the International Association of Political Consultants and the American League of Lobbyists. He is retired chairman of Radnor Inc., an international political consulting and government relations firm in Washington, D.C. Feltman founded the U.S. and European Conflict Indexes in 1988. The indexes have predicted the winner of every U.S. presidential election beginning in 1988, plus the outcome of several European elections. In May of 2010, the Conflict Index was used by university students in Egypt. The Index predicted the fall of the Mubarak government within the next year.
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