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Ming backers should check out this Tory poll

February 28th, 2006

    Why I’m sticking with YouGov?

With a sharp move back to Ming Campbell on the Lib Dem betting markets there’s a lot of focus on the one members’ poll that has been published during the campaign – the survey by YouGov commissioned by a rich Huhne supporter.

This showed on first preferences Huhne: 38%: Campbell 34%: Hughes 27%. The run-off figures based on second preferences, eliminating Hughes were Huhne 52%: Campbell 48%.

Much has been made of the fact that the survey was privately commissioned and that the voting intention issue was put last after a series of other questions which it is suggested might have conditioned the response.

When I raised the configuration issue Yougov’s Peter Kellner he responded by pointing to this poll in the Tory leadership contest taken just after the first TV debate.

This was configured in exactly the same way as the Lib Dem survey. After answering a series of questions some of which could be said to “condition” views on David Cameron the Tory members split 68:32 for the younger man. As it turned out Cameron got just under 67% of the votes so this poll, less than four weeks before the ballot closure, came out remarkably well.

    It’s very difficult to argue with YouGov’s remarkable success in this niche polling area and only a fool would bet against them. Even though the Lib Dem poll was privately funded it’s the firm’s reputation that is on the line.

Kellner’s view on the February 9 survey was that the contest was “too close to call”. In the absence of any other hard evidence I share that assessment. It looks like Huhne but the gap is too close to regard it as a certainty.

If you want to make money betting on politics you have to detach yourself from your own desires and try to take an objective view of what is going on. As a Lib Dem member I voted Huhne-Hughes-Campbell in that order. But I have arranged my betting so that I win the same from both Huhne and Campbell victories.

The 0400 prices were Huhne 0.95/1 and Campbell 1.18/1. This seems about right.

Mike Smithson






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