Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hung parliament: crowdsource anaylsts predict tough time for David Cameron

Accurate in their forecasts so far, Guardian crowd suggests Conservative leader will struggle to form a government

On the eve of polling day we set you an election results predictor quiz in which we asked you to guess how many seats each of the three main parties would win, and to predict who would form the next government and what this administration might look like. More than 3,400 of you took part, and your collective best guess, which we reported yesterday, turned out to be spot on. You accurately predicted that the Conservatives would win the most seats and highest vote share with Labour second on both measures, that we would have a hung parliament, and that we would not know until at least the weekend who would be the new prime minister.

So far, so good. So what does the wise Guardian crowd forecast will be the outcome of this weekend's coalition talks? The omens are not good for David Cameron's attempts to form a government with the support of the Liberal Democrats. Only 48% of you expected to see the Conservative leader eventually named prime minister, while slightly over half of you expected that the deal to emerge would be a Labour-Lib Dem one.

Having delved deeper into the results we can report that 19 of you accurately forecast the Tory tally of 306 seats. Discounting two very late and suspiciously accurate entries that appear to have been submitted after the election results were in, none of these also got the Labour and Lib Dem vote exactly right - along with the rest of us you tended to overestimate the Lib Dems' share at up to 119 votes (they ended up with 57). Overall, the most accurate prediction came from a user identifying themselves as ajho, who put Labour on 250 and the Lib Dems on 65. If the rest of ajho's predictions are equally accurate, then we should expect to end up with Cameron heading a minority government. Perhaps Cameron's offer to Nick Clegg yesterday was just too pusillanimous to cut the mustard.

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