Labour’s path to a majority: the seats Starmer needs to win – mapped

Constituencies with relatively higher numbers of over-50s, homeowners and people of white ethnicity are key to Labour’s hopes of winning a majority at the election, Guardian analysis suggests.

Experts have told the Guardian that, in order to appeal not just to its core voters but also to these middle-England swing seats, Labour is trying to make a broad pitch to the country.

Labour holds 200 of the new constituencies in parliament, meaning that it needs to win another 126 seats to claim an overall majority in the election.

Looking at the 150 seats that would be easiest for Labour to flip – marginals that require the smallest swing to overturn Conservative or SNP majorities – the analysis reveals that Labour will need to extend beyond their usual urban strongholds and appeal in more rural, older and less ethnically diverse areas.

The analysis is based on the 150 seats that Labour would need to win assuming a uniform national swing, where the party gained consistently throughout the country. In reality, Labour’s gains would be less uniform than this, and more influenced by local factors, meaning that they could win seats with higher swings needed and lose seats that required smaller swings.

Labour currently enjoys a comfortable lead over the Conservatives in polling, but the scale of the shift among voters it needs to become the party of government is huge.

The party must recoup widespread losses in the 2019 general election as well as make up for the impact of the recent review of constituency boundaries, which has disproportionately benefited the Conservatives.

Overall Labour needs to gain at least 126 seats to achieve a working majority but upwards of 150 to do so comfortably.

Stephen Fisher, a professor of political sociology at the University of Oxford, said: “Labour are making a broad pitch to the country. That inevitably means they are trying to appeal to the average voter and not just their core voters. At the last election Labour’s voters were younger, more urban, and more likely to be graduates than the electorate as a whole. To win a majority Labour need to appeal to different kinds of voters from the ones they persuaded last time, while still hanging on to those who supported them before.

“The seats Labour need to win, and are the most winnable, are middle-ground or swing seats in the sense that they are the seats that if they swing to Labour then Labour will win, and if they don’t then the Conservatives will continue in power. If some do and some don’t – and there are no great surprises elsewhere – then we are likely to see a hung parliament.”

Data note

England and Wales demographic figures are sourced from the ONS, using 2021 census data.

The 2019 notional results data is sourced from PA Media, based on research from Colin Rallings, Michael Thrasher, David Denver and Nicholas Whyte, who have modelled and amalgamated the old results to the new boundaries.

Majority means the winning party’s margin of victory over the second-placed party, while swing needed represents the share of votes needed to flip the seat from the sitting party to Labour.

The Guardian

Leave a Reply