Labour remain ahead: hung parliament once more?

Big Ben, Westminster

YouGov's latest poll for the Sun puts Labour on 33% and the Conservatives on 32%. How close will the general election be?

Tuesday's poll is a result of fieldwork conducted between the 9th and 10th of November. It also gives UKIP a total of 17%, and the Lib Dems 6%. Additionally, the company has the Green party on 6% as well.

If this poll and other recent polls are to be believed, then the only party that can be certain of its position in less than six months time at the next general election is UKIP in third place. Whether that will translate into a noticeable number of seats however is a different matter.

As for fourth place, it is possible that the Lib Dems could be edged into fifth place by the Green party, something that would almost be as big a political earthquake as the rise of UKIP.

But of course the main political battle is at the top. Whilst YouGov's latest poll gives the party a one point lead, that is well within the margin of error. Furthermore, Monday's YouGov poll put both Ed Miliband's party and David Cameron's party on 33% each, resulting in a tie, showing just how close the race to Number Ten is for the two main leaders.

According to Electoral Calculus, Tuesday's results, if repeated at the 2015 general election, would give Labour 328 seats, the Conservatives 279, and the Lib Dems just 15.

UKIP would get zero seats, however, this scenario will be very unlikely, particularly due to Douglas Carswell's victory last month and the upcoming byelection in which the party is predicted to win. Furthermore, the YouGov poll places UKIP in second place (tied with Labour) in the 'Rest of the South' on 23%. Whilst the Conservatives are set to 41% in this region, it is likely UKIP will pick up more than a handful of seats.

Furthermore, the Labour lead in terms of seats is likely to be dented north of the border where the SNP are expected to make substantial gains. YouGov's Tuesday poll gives the SNP 40% of the Westminster vote in Scotland, whilst Labour trail behind on just 28%.

What this poll and others tell us is that a 'hung parliament' is more than likely. Both Labour and the Conservatives will fail to reach an overall majority and will have to cobble together some sort of alliance with one or two more parties.

If Labour become the largest party, a coalition with the Liberal Democrats might be possible, but thanks to the toxicity of the latter in the eyes of the general electorate, a confidence and supply arrangement might be more plausible. The same goes for the Conservatives, however, if UKIP do well then some sort of agreement with Nigel Farage based on a referendum on EU membership could well happen.

The six month mark has passed and the parties are preparing for the election. The Conservative vote share will likely fall, whilst Labour's rises. The Liberal Democrats will suffer badly as UKIP and the Greens make breakthroughs across the country's. As for the SNP they will gain dramatically in Scotland.

However, the question is: by how big will these changes in vote share be? Such changes will determine the shape of the parliament - and the country - for at least the next five years.

Tuesday's full YouGov poll results can be found here: https://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/11/11/update-labour-lead-1/