What the polls are saying for Kent one week from the general election

Election

By Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Esson

The latest predictions for how each party will fare in every Kent seat have been revealed.

With just six days until the general election, pollsters Electoral Calculus’ new survey of 20,000 people suggests the Conservatives are still facing major losses in the county.

Labour is set to win in 12 constituencies – including in “true blue” areas such as Ashford and Folkestone & Hythe – with the Tories taking six.

Reform UK is set to get a higher percentage of the vote than the Conservatives in six Kent seats – and is just marginally behind in three others.

Electoral Calculus chief executive Martin Baxter stresses that “there could be a bit of late swing”, but that a major comeback for the Tories would be “quite unlikely”.

While such results would be devastating for the Conservatives – the picture is not as bleak for the party as it was a few weeks ago.

At the start of the campaign in late May, the pollster was predicting a bigger Tory wipe out in Kent.

Its early prediction had 13 of the county’s 18 seats going to the Labour Party. The Tories were predicted to get only five – Sittingbourne & Sheppey, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Faversham & Mid-Kent and Sevenoaks.

Updating its data with new surveys and aggregation of other pollsters’ research, Electoral Calculus’ predictions changed a couple of weeks later.

It suggested that the Labour Party would take 14 Kent seats, the Liberal Democrats would gain Tunbridge Wells, and the Tories would get a mere three.

Now, Electoral Calculus’ new poll of 19,900 voters conducted for the Mirror and GB News, shows further changes in the results, with a minor narrowing of Labour’s expected conquest of the county.

Labour is now expected to take 12 seats in Kent, with the remaining six going to the Conservatives.

The losses would still be severe for the Tories, who took 16 out of 17 seats in Kent in 2019. Since then, boundary changes have resulted in the creation of the new Weald of Kent constituency, giving the county an extra MP following this election.

Mr Baxter said: “I’m sure it’s not the last word in polling but it’s a bit more up to date and larger scale than our previous poll.

“Closer to the big day itself, some people change their minds or firm up their decision, We’re a lot nearer the election so people are a lot more focused.”

The Reform Party, led by Nigel Farage, has picked up momentum throughout the campaign – and is now expected to exceed the Conservatives’ vote share in six of Kent’s 18 seats, and is within only a few percentage points in three more. However, it is not predicted to return any MPs in the county.

Herne Bay & Sandwich – a new constituency stitched together out of North Thanet and parts of Canterbury – will be one to watch.

Originally predicted to go to Labour by a slim margin, the newest poll suggests Sir Roger Gale – who has held North Thanet since 1983 – is likely to be re-elected. It would make Herne Bay & Sandwich the sole seat staying blue as a sea of red washes over the rest of east Kent.

Mr Baxter said that for these polls, predictions for seats are partially based on generalising data from areas with similar social demographics, while others are partially based on the views of people in the specific seat.

“We do a lot of people in other constituencies with similar demographics, but we also speak to people in Herne Bay & Sandwich – not hundreds of people but dozens of people and we do listen to what they’re telling us,” he said, noting that in the most recent survey they spoke to 40 voters in that constituency.

Early in the campaign, Electoral Calculus also predicted that Sevenoaks would go to Labour.

Covering the towns of Sevenoaks and Swanley, the seat has been Conservative since 1885, except for a brief stint with a Liberal MP in 1923. Now the Tories are predicted to hold it.

There is bad news for west Kent’s Liberal Democrats as well – previously expected to take Tunbridge Wells. The new poll has it remaining Conservative.

Nationally, Electoral Calculus’ most recent figures still suggest a terrible night for the Conservatives. Labour is predicted to get 450 seats out of Parliament’s 650, with the Tories pushed into third place on only 61 seats, and the Liberal Democrats becoming the official opposition with 70.

Reform UK is predicted to get 19 seats, with 17.7% of the national vote, compared to the Tories’ 20.2%. One of Reform’s predicted seats is Orpington in Bromley – directly next to Sevenoaks.

Mr Baxter added that “there could be a bit of late swing”, but polls are consistently showing a large Labour victory.

“A change that’s going to put Rishi Sunak back into 10 Downing Street with a majority in the House of Commons would be quite unlikely,” he said.

20 Comments

  1. I take these polls with a large pinch of salt (Remain winning & Trump losing were two notable wrong predictions by the “experts”). While I do believe Labour will win the election by a large majority, current predictions that Lib-Dem will have more seats than Conservative and Remain will win 19 seats remains to be seen.

    • That’s because there are 45,000,000 voters in the UK, and polling organisations typically interview a couple of thousand.

  2. The only poll to take seriously is the exit poll which is released at 10.01pm on the night of the election when the votes have closed.

    That is usually very accurate as it is based on “how did you vote ?” rather than “how will you vote ?”

    Having said that, it would still appear very likely that the Tories will get a huge kicking and be out of power for many, many years.

    • Let’s hope that Starmer’s legacy will be better than Blair’s illegal war and introduction of university fees.

      • I certainly don’t expect a Labour Government to be all sunshine and roses. Don’t forget people are mainly against the Tories than voting for the Labour vision. Although the outcome is similar this distinction is crucial.

        Even with a big majority, they have a big job to do over the next five years to win the public over – many of whom have no real idea about what they stand for.

        Having said that, most political parties just get to the point where the public want a change. We saw it with the Tories in 1997 and with Labour in 2010. 14 years of a one party rule is probably long enough for someone else to come in and shake things up.

  3. I am no longer a member of any political party, after I resigned from Blair’s Labour(Tory) party. What choice is there for people like me, a Democratic Socialist like my father before me? The Labour Party would probably be unlikely to accept my application should I try and reapply for membership! In any case what are the choices, Conservative or Starmer’s Conservative Lite? No, I voted weeks ago, after I decided not to spoil my paper, as I usually do. Its a fact that since the war, more people vote against any government, than for it, under the First Past The Post electoral system!

    • There are still good and bad individual candidates. Having said that, I wouldn’t vote for anyone who doesn’t live in a near the area they hope to represent – no matter how great they otherwise are!

      (Oh, and I voted yesterday!)

    • Dumpton. I do not condone spoiling your paper but I do think that there should be a “none of the above” option. At least that way the numbers could be counted.
      I also believe that voting should be compulsory. How that could be made to work in reality, I have no idea.

  4. I wonder if people remember when the Labour government last lost to the conservatives. The outgoing Labour government said ” there’s nothing left ” Food for thought…

    • Indeed, the national debt at the time of that apocryphal note was around £9tr. The debt the Tories will leave is around £20tr.

  5. I met Helen Whitehead for the first time today, and she’s lovely. She is also I believe genuine, and would make a great MP… and I’m saying this as someone who usually votes for Sir Roger Gale.

  6. Not sure if I’m entitled to vote as being white,straight, and male and my youth spent growing up on a gang & drug infested council estate in Woolwich I apparently need to recognise ‘my privilege ‘ my job is to work hard pay taxes and be quiet

  7. This is the last word I was all set for sunny retirement when I read all this drivel.
    The polls taken a scientific sample and some are far more than 1000.
    Frankly the IOT would be better quoting Prof Sir John Curteis,who knows more than many about polls.its all about the don’t know’s and how you account for them,so this poll is interesting as an example but no more.We also cannot assess the tactical vote issue, and the last few elections featured that issue, so come next week the actual poll may be different.I think the likely possibilities are (a) Labour as the largest party (B) labour with a majority or (c) the conservatives reduced considerably.Certsinly Reform may be taking a bite out of the Tory vote, but both Farage and Sunak must understand is that the Tory core vote and Reform have predominantly older voters and even boomers don’t last forever.
    As for the sad old trope about the note stating that there’s no money in the kitty, is repeat of Reggie Maudling’s nothing 1964, and was then and is now a joke, a rather childish aside, nothing more, though with the current Govt it maybe true.
    Goodnight and goodbye

    • Some very sensible comments there George. It will be interesting to see if the Conservatives suffer a massive defeat or total humiliation. There is, I believe, another tranche of people who haven’t yet been mentioned; those who are going to vote Labour because they want to be on the winning team. Imagine the mickey-taking next weekend for anyone who dares to admit that they voted Tory! If anyone’s interested; I’ll be voting Green.

      • Not sure where you live, but really the only way to remove Sir Roger Gale (if that’s what you want) is by voting Labour. Any other candidate just splits the vote. It’s different in other areas where Green/Lib-Dem/Reform stand an actual chance of winning.

  8. I have already predicted a very low turnout, as those people who can’t bring themselves to vote for either the Labour or Conservative candidates, will sit on their hands!

  9. The UK badly needs proportional representation for its general elections.
    Conservatives oppose it as they would never, ever get a majority again.
    Lab oppose it because their greed for power results in them preferring to lose an election rather than share government.
    Other Parties support it for various reasons. I support it as it would allow votes to always count.
    It’s anti-democratic that some parties, like the Greens, get a large share of the national vote but no MP’s.

    • What really gets my goat Garry, is that Scotland, Wales, and N. Ireland all have a form of Proportional Representation for their various Assemblies, but England doesn’t, why not? If its good enough for them, although not a perfect PR system, why can’t we use it for General Elections? It would be a start for people to get used to PR. It was the Lib/Dems who suggested a form of PR in the referendum, which no one understood, duurh!

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