Marf after a day dominated by Libya

April 24th, 2015


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  • Update: The Tory final push


    LAB lead up a notch with Populus and not much change in London

    April 24th, 2015

    The morning’s polling news

    Voters think there’s too much emphasis on Scotland


    The three 4% CON lead polls this week cannot all be dismissed as outliers

    April 24th, 2015

    But only 1 CON lead from YouGov in a fortnight

    The final poll to come out last night, YouGov’s 2% LAB lead, will have eased some nerves amongst the red team. But inevitably they should be worrying about the fact that we have now had 3 surveys in 6 days which have had the Conservatives 4 percent ahead.

    At the same time the blue team must be concerned about the lack of progress with YouGov and some of the other online posters. Of the past 14 polls for YouGov there have been 10 LAB leads, three ties and only one showing the blues ahead and that by the narrowest of margins.

    That is not easy to dismiss and remember that last time out in national elections, the May 2014 Euros, YouGov was the top pollster with ComRes and Survation trailing quite a way behind.

    The two big question marks hanging over this election are whether we are seeing a real CON improvement and how do we work out what national vote shares mean in terms of seats.

    Today the pollercoaster continues with the Friday Populus survey and, most likely, another batch of constituency polling from Lord Ashcroft.

    My own view is that this election remains too close to call but that LAB still have the electoral system on their side. Even with the Scottish disaster LAB will chalk up more seats than CON with the same vote share.

    Mike Smithson

    For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    The Thursday pollercoaster continues

    April 23rd, 2015

    LAB increase lead with YouGov

    New Survation poll boost for Farage in South Thanet

    A second poll today has CON with 4% lead


    A Marf cartoon at the start of what’ll be a busy polling night

    April 23rd, 2015


    UPDATE Survation/Mirror poll has CON 4% ahead

    First up this afternoon was Panelbase

    New ComRes phone poll out at 10pm

    Survation for the Mirror is due.


    On election day 2010 the betting markets had CON with a 100 seat lead – it finished up at 49 seats

    April 23rd, 2015

    Actual seats won: CON 306, LAB 257, LD 57

    One thing that really annoys me is when people start suggesting that betting prices are the best guide to what is going to happen.

    If this were the case then favourites would always win. They don’t. In the two TV debates during this campaign the betting markets made Nigel Farage favourite to be judged the winner in post debate polling. He wasn’t.

    But a better example of the shallowness of the perception is 2010. The above panel was published on PB just as the polling stations were opening. As can be seen the markets over-stated the Tories and LDs and over-stated understated LAB.

      So we had the extraordinary position that the spreads had CON with a 100 seat lead – compared with the 49 seat one that they actually achieved.

    I don’t bet to provide a prediction tool for journalists who can’t be arsed. I bet to try to win money. My bets are not predictions but personal assessments of value. Are the chances of something happening better in my view than the odds being offered. Sometimes I get it right – sometimes I don’t.

    Betting prices are NOT a good indicator of political outcomes

    Mike Smithson

    For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    For reference for two weeks today: The key LAB-CON battlegrounds in England and Wales (Sortable table)

    April 23rd, 2015

    Listed above are all the constituencies in England and Wales which would change hands on swings between 2% and 6% from CON to LAB.

    In most of them Lord Ashcroft has at some point in the past year conducted constituency specific polls. The least marginal, Crewe and Nantwich was polled earlier in the month.

    My working assumption is that almost all of Labour’s Scottish seats are going to go and my focus is on the CON-LAB battlegrounds in England and Wales.

    Remember that in terms of plurality each LAB gain from the list offsets Two losses to the SNP in Scotland. This is because each of the above seats going sees the LAB total going up by one and the CON total declining by one. So the gap moves by two.

    Mike Smithson

    For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    Marf for the evening and David Herdson with the half-time PB Poll Average score

    April 22nd, 2015


    But it’s still very much in knife-edge territory

    The profusion of election-period polls means that it’s now possible to produce a PB poll average figure for shorter periods than before. Consequently, I’ve split the period from April 1 to May 6 into two parts and am using these instead, the first of which is for the scores for up to April 21:

    Con 34.5 (n/c)
    Lab 33.7 (-0.4)
    UKIP 11.4 (-0.8)
    LD 8.5 (+0.6)
    Grn 5.8 (+0.1)
    Oth 6.1 (+0.4)

    Good news for the Blue team? Perhaps. Certainly the headline figures are relatively positive with the highest Tory lead since October 2010 and a decline in their two main rivals but CCHQ shouldn’t get too carried away for at least three reasons.

    Firstly, a lot rests on that early April ICM poll which put the Tories six points clear. That wasn’t a result wholly out of line with their previous polling but was still some way top-side of what anyone else is reporting, or that they have previously and subsequently found. That doesn’t mean it was wrong but we ought to be sceptical. Having said that, even if we exclude it (which we shouldn’t), the overall Con lead would still be up on March.

    Secondly, how much further will UKIP fall – if at all? Their share hasn’t been lower since February 2013 and means they’ve lost almost a third of their votes in half a year and it’s probably more than coincidence that their decline coincides with the recovery in the Con share. In one sense, there’s scope for further reduction: their current rating is still well over treble their 2010 total. In another, it means peeling off voters who’ve been with Farage and Co since midterm. Perhaps the SNP question will help Cameron there but it’s late in the day now.

    And thirdly, a 0.8% lead is not much to write home about in the big scheme of things. Remember that the Tories were 7.2% ahead across GB in 2010, so the polls still suggest a net 3.2% swing to Labour overall, and substantially higher in England. Unless that’s inefficiently distributed – and previous Ashcroft polling suggests the opposite – Labour would probably just end up ahead even after losing 35 or so to seats the SNP, but Miliband would have far more supporters in the Commons.

    Elsewhere, the Lib Dems return their best score this year but 8.5% is still only just over a third of their 2010 score. Indeed, in terms of vote share per constituency contested, it would be their worst ever at a general election. Incumbency may help to an extent but they do seem to be looking at a sizable cull given that there’s now precious little opportunity for the Yellows to make a mark on the campaign.

    With just a fortnight of campaigning left, can anything deliver the country from a deeply hung parliament? Barring a dreadful error from one side or another (including the pollsters), it seems unlikely.

    David Herdson