So it wasn't an abysmal failure in terms of number of votes and number of seats.
"There was a tremendous moment of elation when the exit poll was announced because it became apparent that the campaign had achieved the most stunning turnaround in public opinion in seven weeks", said Andrew Murray, an adviser to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
It is a testimony to the low expectations for Jeremy Corbyn's Labour that this result is being hailed as a victory for the party, even though it lost to the Conservatives by about the same popular vote percentage as Donald Trump lost to Hillary Clinton.
In the polls, the Scottish National Party won 35 seats, the Liberal Democrats 12 and the Democratic Unionist Party got 10.
"She's staying, for now", the source said. Instead, May emerged from Thursday's election having lost her Conservative majority in the House of Commons and forced to try to cobble together a minority government with the help of a party from Northern Ireland. Now, Theresa May is seeking to form a government with the DUP - the only party who won enough seats to keep the Tories in power who haven't already rejected the idea of creating a coalition government with them.
He had annoyed many Conservatives who want a clean break with the European Union by stressing the need for a Brexit deal that allows companies to keep on hiring the migrant workers they need, and took the blame for a policy U-turn in March when he quickly dropped a plan to raise social security tax for self-employed workers.
"It was not immediately clear what the DUP's demands might be and one DUP lawmaker suggested support might come vote by vote".
On the one hand, a weakened Conservative prime minister might not have the power to resist calls from some within the party who want that clean break, even if that means losing privileged access to the European Union single market. According to EU law, the United Kingdom will be removed from the union at that time even if negotiations have failed to produce an exit deal.
"We need a government that can act", EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk.
"There was little sympathy for May from some Europeans".
Senior Conservative figures were openly speculating that May would have to resign, less than a year after taking over from David Cameron, who resigned after the Brexit referendum. The result ended his career and shocked Europe. That would mean we would have had two referendums and three general elections in less than three years. Conservatives continue to be the largest party in the UK.
Today, Corbyn said that he had "changed the face of British politics" and that politics "isn't going back into the box where it was before". The Conservatives' other coalition options are limited.