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Top YouGov pollster discredits Lib Dems' tweet claiming Jeremy Corbyn forecast to lose Islington North seat at next election

PUBLISHED: 13:23 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:49 03 July 2019

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons. Photograph: PA Wire.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons. Photograph: PA Wire.

The director of policy research at YouGov has discredited a tweet by Islington Liberal Democrats suggesting Jeremy Corbyn will lose his Islington North seat at the next general election.

The Islington Lib Dems posted a tweet on Saturday claiming "YouGov forecasts" Labour could lose 42.9 per cent of its electorate at the next election, with the Lib Dems enjoying a 22.3pc swing to prise away Mr Corbyn's seat of 36 years.

But the tweet, which also predicts a 21.3pc boost for Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, has been undermined by senior pollsters on the basis it was based on a hypothetical question and was "done by a third party rather than YouGov".

The tweet pinned to Islington Lib Dems' Twitter page states: "The latest @YouGov poll forecasts @jeremycorbyn will lose his seat to the @LibDems after 36 years! Our clear #StopBrexit position is strongly supported across #IslingtonNorth."

But Anthony Wells, director of political research at YouGov, said: "The survey was a hypothetical question, asking people how they might vote if the main political parties went into the election with different leaders or Brexit policies.

"Such questions can be useful to see the relative importance of leaders or policies, but they really shouldn't be taken as predictions - people simply aren't that good at foreseeing how we would behave in hypothetical situations.

"As to projecting the poll result onto individual seats. This was done by a third party, rather than by YouGov, and we would urge a lot of caution.

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"Projecting individual seats based just on one national poll is very unreliable and cannot fully take account of the particular demographics, candidates or political circumstances in a seat."

The independent fact-checking charity Full Fact has also stated Islington Lib Dems' tweet, which has been shared by leadership hopeful Ed Davey, is "incorrect".

It added: "The results should not be used as a 'forecast', nor can they be reliably applied to any individual constituency,"

Mr Corbyn, whose majority increased from 33,000 to 40,000 at the last election, doesn't comment on polls.

But his spokesperson said: "Jeremy couldn't be more proud to represent the people of Islington North."

Chair of Islington Liberal Democrats Pierre Delarue said: "In the current political climate, we all know it is difficult to make predictions.

"YouGov latest poll states that if "Corbyn holds to his current position of delivering an alternative deal on Brexit, we may end up with a Lib Dem Prime Minister." This weekend, Mr. Corbyn was given the opportunity to change his Brexit position but did not do so.

"The constituency projections showing both Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry losing their seats under such scenario were done by Flavible as we indicated in the thread of the tweet mentioned. We have also accepted that we could have been clearer."

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