Pollsters predict Tories reaching 300

On the headline poll trends we’re heading for a Conservative minority government and lengthening odds on Commons electoral reform.

Peter Kellner, the YouGov president, predicts 300 seats for the Tories, 230 for Labour and 90 for the Lib Dems. His prediction on the Sunday before the last election was within a seat of the final outcome.

A similar prediction is provided by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher of Plymouth University, based on council by-elections. Their forecast is for the Conservatives to finish with 299 seats, 27 seats short of an overall majority, Labour with 237 seats and the Lib Dems trailing with 83 seats.

But where they must win big, the Tory lead in the marginals is less decisive.

It suggests the Tories are on course to gain 70 of the Labour marginals but lose 16 of the others to the Lib Dems. This would put the two main parties much closer together, with the Conservatives on 264, Labour 259 and the Lib Dems 98.

Yet in his interview in the Sunday Times, Cameron gives no hint of seeking a deal with the Lib Dems. He’s still in electioneering mode against the Lib Dems so this is no more than common prudence.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London