UK election too close to call, polls differ widely

  • 08/06/2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party is on course to win the national election comfortably, an opinion poll suggests, the first of several last-minute surveys ahead of polling day.

Polling firm ICM, which has tended to give the Conservatives bigger leads than most other polling firms, said Ms May's lead increased by one percentage point to 12 points on Wednesday.

Support for the Conservatives stood at 46 percent, up a point from ICM's previous poll published on Monday. Support for Labour was unchanged at 34 percent, ICM said in a preliminary poll.

Five other opinion polls are expected to be published later on Wednesday, including one by Survation which estimated the Conservatives' lead stood at just one percentage point in its last two polls.

There have been big differences too in estimates of how many seats the Conservatives are likely to win.

The wide range of estimates of support for the two main political parties has added to scepticism among many critics of polling who point to how the industry largely failed to accurately predict the outcome of the 2015 election and last year's referendum vote to exit the European Union.

ICM's predicted lead would give Ms May a majority of 96 seats in parliament, up sharply from the working majority of 17 that the Conservatives had in the previous parliament.

Such a majority would vindicate Ms May's decision to call an election less than a year after she became prime minister in the political turmoil that followed Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

Ms May called the election in April, saying she wanted to go into the Brexit negotiations with a position of strength.

The ICM online poll of 1,532 adults was conducted between June 6 and 7, after a deadly attack in London carried out by Islamist militants on June 3.