General Election 2019: Exit poll predicts large Conservative majority

The joint-broadcasters’ exit poll has been announced, predicting a resounding majority for Boris Johnson’s Conservative party.

Meanwhile, Labour is expected to have its worst performance since 1935.

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The breakdown

Conservative: 368 seatsLabour: 191 seatsSNP: 55 seatsLib Dems: 13 seatsPlaid Cymru: 3 seatsGreen: 1 seatsBrexit Party: 0 seatsOthers: 19 seats

Labour is expected to lose more than 70 seats, winning just 191 against the Conservatives’ 368 - their worst performance since 1935. Former Labour MP, Douglas Alexander, said Jeremy Corbyn would “own” any loss this evening.

The exit poll also suggests Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson will lose her East Dunbartonshire seat to the SNP.

The SNP are predicted to dominate in Scotland, winning all but four seats north of the border.

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What are exit polls?

Exit polls are used as an early indication of election and referendum results.

Election analysts are posted to 140 constituencies around the UK on the day of the election, and spend their time asking 20,000 voters who they cast their ballot for.

Since this happens as voters exit the polling stations, the tallied results are called an ‘exit poll’.

By examining the votes in the same 140 constituencies at each election, analysts are able to calculate how certain types of voters - young, old, male, female - have behaved.

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They use this information and apply it to all 650 UK constituencies, trying to gain a sense of how the country has voted as a whole.

Are they accurate?

Many people have begun to doubt the accuracy of polls in recent years - and with good reason. Many polls taken during the 2017 election campaign, for example, predicted that Theresa May’s Conservative party would win a large majority. In reality, the result was a hung parliament.

By contrast, during the 2016 US Presidential campaign, most polls predicted that Hillary Clinton would beat the Republican nominee, Donald Trump - we all know how that turned out.

But exit polls seem to have more success as predictors of election results. In 2017, the BBC’s exit poll predicted a hung parliament, and was fairly close to the true number of seats that each party would go on to win.

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Despite their success, however, exit polls still rely on complicated statistical work. Even a small error with the data could mean the poll’s prediction is inaccurate.

But, until the official results start to come in during the night, exit polls are our best indication of what the next parliament will look like.