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UK election: Boris Johnson ahead but polls say it’s close

They also failed to predict the victory of the Leave campaign in the 2016 EU membership referendum.

Polling firm Savanta ComRes said Johnson’s lead over Labour had shrunk to eight points from 10 in a previous poll published on Wednesday – the tightest margin of Saturday’s four surveys.

Its head of politics, Chris Hopkins, said the final few days of the campaign could be crucial.

“The margins are incredibly tight,” he said.

“The Conservative lead over Labour dropping or increasing by one or two points could be the difference between a hung parliament and a sizeable Conservative majority.”

The election pits Johnson’s plan to get Brexit done next month against Labour’s call for a second referendum on a new Brexit deal under its veteran socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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However, one poll, published before the 2017 election, by YouGov, was more accurate in predicting the number of seats won by each party.

Known as an MRP poll – an acronym for its Multilevel Regression and Post-stratification model – it predicted 93 per cent of results in individual constituencies correctly.

The Sunday Times said a poll by Datapraxis, also using the MRP model and based on 500,000 online interviews, predicted that Johnson would win a majority of 38 in parliament next week, down from a projection of 48 two weeks ago.

“We have never seen as many undecided voters this late in the campaign,” Datapraxis boss Paul Hilder said.

“As many as 80-90 constituencies are still up for grabs. A much larger Conservative landslide is still possible – but so is a hung parliament.”

YouGov said last month that its MRP model suggested the Conservatives were on course for a majority of 68. YouGov will publish an updated version of the poll on Tuesday.

Labour's Jeremy Corbyn makes a point during the BBC leaders' debate.

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn makes a point during the BBC leaders’ debate.Credit:Getty Images

Best for Britain, a group that wants a second referendum to stop Brexit, said an MRP poll it commissioned showed Johnson was on course to win 345 seats in parliament – or a majority of 40 – without tactical voting, a term for when people back parties they do not usually support in an attempt to defeat others.

But tactical voting by 41,000 voters in just 36 swing seats could prevent Johnson from getting a majority, it said.

“This election is on a knife-edge,” the group’s chief executive Naomi Smith said.

“If enough remainers hold their nose and vote for the candidate with the best chance of stopping the Tories (Conservatives) in their seat we’re heading for a hung parliament and a final say referendum.”

Reuters

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