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Could this man change the way we look at the General Election?

October 24th, 2004

baxter

    Martin Baxter is considering incorporating the tactical vote question

The former Cambridge and City maths expert, Martin Baxter, (above) has announced on his site that he is considering trying to embrace an element on tactical voting within his famous Commons Seat Calculator.

Over the years Martin has built up a formidable reputation with his calculator which is now the authoritive source for people wanting to work out what different vote shares mean in terms of Commons seats. His site also contains a wonderful array of facts and figures as well as a very useful “poll of polls” which is regularly updated.

But with a very different sort of General Election in prospect many, including Politicalbetting, have been questioning whether taking the latest poll figures and applying them on a uniform national swing basis will be an accurate guide to the coming contest. We have argued here that there are two enormous chinks in the Baxter figures.

  • By appyling poll changes to the status quo they assume that anti-Tory tactical voting will continue on exactly the same scale as last time
  • They asssume that the Lib Dems will take no more seats than the simple mathematics of the poll swing identfies.
  • There has been a lot of discussion here on how you work out the tractical vote unwind issue. If the Lib Dem supporters who went with Labour last time return to their allegiance then the Tories could make gains even if their vote remains static. Andy Cooke, a site user, produced his own spreadsheer to model this (see links this page) and others have been working on the issue.

    If Martin Baxter introduces this element into his calculator then it would command enormous authority and could affect the received opinion of the Westminster village. He tells me that he has yet to have that “Eureka moment” about how this can be done – let’s hope that he is able to do something because it will be an important addition to the resources available.

      A Martin Baxter tactical vote unwinder would have an impact on the betting markets.

    With all the focus on the US Election there’s been almost no activity on the UK General Election markets. That might change during this week with a crop of opinion polls due that might see some move against Labour following the row over the Black Watch deployment in Iraq.






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