The last time the Conservatives won a majority

In 1992, the Conservatives won a surprise 4th consecutive majority- reduced to just 21. To realistically govern, taking into account possible rebellions, by-elections and the like, this is pretty much the bare minimum that would be required (in fact the Tories ended up losing their overall majority before the 1997 election).

So let’s look out of interest at the 20 most marginal Conservative held seats after 1992, with the name of the constituency, the size of the Conservative majority in 1992, and the corresponding result in 2010.

Constituency Name Con Maj 1992 2010 Result
Vale of Glamorgan 19 Con Maj 4307
Bristol North West 45 Con Maj 3274
Hayes and Harlington 53 Lab Maj 10824
Ayr 85 Lab Maj 2545
Brecon and Radnor 130 Lib Dem Maj 3747
Bolton North East 185 Lab Maj 4084
Portsmouth South 242 Lib Dem Maj 5200
Norwich North 266 Con Maj 3901
Corby 342 Lab Maj 7791*
Slough 514 Lab Maj 5523
Southampton Test 585 Lab Maj 2413
Edmonton 593 Lab Maj 9613
Tynemouth 597 Lab Maj 5739
Stirling 703 Lab Maj 8354
Amber Valley 712 Con Maj 536
Bury South 788 Lab Maj 3292
Luton South 799 Lab Maj 2329
Dover 833 Con Maj 5274
Edinburgh West 879 Lib Dem Maj 3803
Hazel Grove 929 Lib Dem Maj 6731

*2012 by-election result

As we can see from this table, the Conservatives are a long way short of even their 1992 performance- they hold just 5 of these 20 seats. What is even more astonishing is how uncompetitive they are in several of them- seats like Hayes & Harlington, Edmonton, Stirling- even Slough and Hazel Grove- you would have to be an incredibly optimistic Conservative strategist to see how they could take these seats in two years time, even if their current poll ratings recover.

Going even further down, there is even worse news for the Conservatives.

Aberdeen South 1517 Lab Maj 3506

This might not seem particularly bad- until you realise that the Labour majority here is actually over the Liberal Democrats- the Conservatives are in 3rd place in Aberdeen South now, almost 7,000 votes behind Labour.

This should serve as a reminder to the Conservatives that they are still quite a way from even recovering to 1992 levels- in my next post I will be looking at the similar Labour position from 1992- in my opinion they are very useful elections to compare, as the two parties ended up in similar positions.

We also should remember a couple more very important points:

1) The Conservatives polled 41.9% in 1992, and still only won a slender majority. They have not come close to reaching this in any subsequent election. They are currently polling between the high 20s and low 30s.

2) The Liberal Democrat position is much stronger than it was in 1992- this could change at the next election if their vote does unravel as has been predicted (although many people are far more unsure after Eastleigh)- this is more bad news for the Conservatives as many Labour voters are prepared to vote tactically in Con/Lib marginals.

Both of these things- added to their comparatively weak position in marginal seats from 1992- as well as a third, untested factor (the rise of UKIP) make it very hard to see how the Conservatives can win outright in 2010. The big question for me, is can Labour win a majority so soon after losing in 2010? This is what we will be looking at in future posts.

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