British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on course to lose his own seat and neither of the two main political parties is likely to win an outright majority at the next general election, not due until 2024, according to a new poll.
This is the first detailed survey of the public's perception of Johnson's handling of the recently concluded Brexit talks and the COVID-19 pandemic after he reversed plans to allow families to meet up at Christmas in parts of southern England to combat the spread of the virus.
More than 22,000 people were surveyed in a closely watched poll constituency-by-constituency poll over a four-week period in December, which was conducted by the research data company Focaldata and published by the Sunday Times.
The so-called multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) poll found the ruling Conservatives would lose 81 seats, wiping out the 80-seat majority. This would leave the Conservatives with 284 seats, while the opposition Labour Party would win 282 seats, the poll showed.
The Scottish National Party, which wants to break away from the rest of the United Kingdom, is predicted to win 57 of the 59 seats in Scotland, meaning the party could potentially play a kingmaker role in forming the next government.
The prime minister is at risk to lose his own seat of Uxbridge, west of London, the poll found.
Johnson won a resounding election victory last year that allowed him to take Britain out of the European Union's orbit on New Year's Eve after almost half a century of close ties.
But Johnson's premiership may increasingly be defined by the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has already killed more than 74,000 people and crushed the economy.