Archive for January, 2010


The Tories maintain their 16pt lead with PB/Angus Reid

Friday, January 29th, 2010

CON 40% (40)
LAB 24% (24)
LD 19% (20)

The least volatile pollster retains it reputation

There’s a new Angus Reid poll exclusively for Politicalbetting this afternoon and once again it shows almost no change on the previous poll taken at the start of January.

Fieldwork took place from Tuesday until Wednesday evening and we’ll have links to the full data later on in the day.

This is the third successive poll in the Angus Reid/PB series where the CON-LAB shares have been precisely the same – 40 and 24.

Although their starting points for Labour, the Lib Dems and others are different the lack of variation in successive Angus Reid polls is very similar to what we have seen from ICM and to a lesser extent YouGov.

The only conclusion you can draw is that Labour is failing to make up lost ground as the time left for Mr. Brown is running out.

The “others” in the poll were SNP 2%: PC 1%: UKIP 5%: BNP 4%: GRN 3%.

Angus Reid has been approved for membership of the British Polling Council and was the top pollster in the 2008 Canadian election.

UPDATE 1945 The detailed tables from the poll are now available here.

Mike Smithson


Has the Telegraph been got at during the morning?

Friday, January 29th, 2010

How did the “Lie Detector” become a “Credibility Meter”?

The first screen grab from Daily Telegraph’s video coverage was taken at about 10.30am. Notice how the meter on the left hand side was described as a “Lie Detector”.

The one below was done at 11.45am – and notice how this has now been renamed “Credibility Meter”.

Has someone been batting very hard for Tony during the morning and if so who?

There lies a story.

Mike Smithson


What’s Blair’s appearance going to do to the election?

Friday, January 29th, 2010


Could this be a dangerous day for Mr. Brown?

Getting on for seven years after he took that momentous decision Tony Blair will be quizzed in public for six hours today about what has become the defining policy of his administration – the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

We’ve had a taster already, from Alastair Campbell earlier in the month, of the approach the ex-PM is likely to take and we’ll be exposed again to that hugely capable communicator who has everything in this department that his successor lacks.

In sharp contrast to Mr. Brown who when in a corner unconvincingly denies the blindingly obvious Tony will try to make a compelling case and the tougher it gets the more effective he can appear.

Who can forgot the so called “masochism strategy” in 2003 when he undertook TV grillings from audiences who were totally hostile to his position.

But what’s this going to mean to the general election? How is Tony going to respond when the inevitable questions about what Brown knew and did come up?

My guess is that he’ll be a lot more elegant than Campbell was but there will be no attempt to insulate the man who was the chancellor at the time and who spent all those years plotting to get rid of him. It was Brown, of course, who signed the cheques.

At the very minimum this will be another news cycle that will be taken up with issues that are not going to help Labour.

What a lucky politician David Cameron is – Labour ousted the one leader who was capable of beating him and we’ll have another day when his plans and ideas are not being subject to scrutiny.

Mike Smithson


The money goes on a Tory majority of 56 seats

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

How gamblers are seeing the election

There’s hardly been any movement for months on the PB Index – the site’s attempt to extrapolate a general election result from how political gamblers are risking their cash on the party seat markets.

Here it’s all about the balance of money with some punters wanting to sell and others wanting to buy.

The PB Index is worked out by taking the mid-point spreads on the Betfair party line market and the spread betting markets of which only Extrabet is open tonight.

This is probably showing a Tory outcome slightly ahead of most of the polls.

Mike Smithson


Will it be YouGov that “starts the campaign” – next month?

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

What’ll the daily tracker do to the election frenzy?

There has been nothing official from the firm but I’m hearing a lot of murmurings to the effect that the online pollster will be starting an election daily tracker – possibly next month.

Apparently this will operate on weekdays only at first stepping up to seven polls a week as we get closer to the big day.

The firm experimented with a tracker during the conference season in late September and in early October with a daily sample of about a thousand. The remarkable characteristic was how the shares fluctuated so much each day apparently in response to TV and other media coverage.

What I’m hearing is that the firm has a different plan for the general election. Apparently there’s a view that those on its polling panel who respond to instant “complete within 24 hours” requests might not be fully representative. So, instead, the invitations will go out each day for the questionnaires to be completed within two or three days and each day’s “poll” will be based on those who have responded within the previous 24 hours.

If indeed the polling is to start in February it’s going to have a huge impact on the whole political atmosphere – in effect the start of the daily polls could mark the start of the campaign.

It’s going to make the betting very interesting as well and I just wonder what effect it will have on Brown over his decision on the date.

Mike Smithson


Can Brown pin his hopes on a shock result?

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Is it only the Blue Team that can defy the pollsters?

As we ponder whether there are historical precedents for a party to defy the polling and go on to win an election it’s hard to find examples in the Red side.

For the shocks that most stand out to me were 1970 – the first I covered as a professional journalist – and 1992 when I was a candidate. In the former Heath’s Tories came to power against most expectations and in the latter John Major totally defied the polls to hold on.

In 1945, as the war was coming to a close, the widespread perception was that a grateful nation would reward Winston Churchill with a general election victory. That didn’t happen and Clement Attlee’s landslide has been widely regarded as a shock.

Yet the polls, which were still in their infancy, were pointing to a percentage vote gap that was larger than actually happened. In the three 1945 Gallup polls Labour had leads of 20%, 19% and 13%. Labour’s winning vote margin was just 8%.

In February 1974, the one where Heath called an election in middle of the energy crisis and the three day week, the Tories ended up with more votes but fewer seats and there was a hung parliament. Labour was understated in the polls but only by minuscule amounts and the outcome was not a shock on the scales of 1970 and 1992.

The one election where Labour really did defy the pollsters is not one it likes being reminded of – Mrs. Thatcher’s landslide in 1983. All the firms understated Michael Foot’s Labour though they still finished on just 28.3% – fifteen points behind.

In polling terms Tony Blair’s great victory in 1997 stands out for the way all the firms bar ICM overstated Labour’s margin by quite considerable amounts.

Mike Smithson

PB: Political Website of the Year


The Tory winning margin: What pollsters’ predict

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Will this help you with the new betting market?

This morning, after the slight kerfuffle over what had been said at the polling conference in London, I decided to contact the heads of all the seven main UK political polling operations to put the question to all of them that had been asked last week – what lead, if any, do you think the Conservative will have, in terms of a percentage of the GB vote, at the coming general election?

These were today’s seven responses which, it should be stressed, are the individuals’ personal opinions:

14% Andy Morris – Angus Reid
“I thought I’d managed to get out of this 🙂 14 point Tory lead”

13% Andrew Hawkins – ComRes
“I’m tempted to speculate that the general election will be cancelled in the wake of an April military coup…This is a personal prediction, not a ComRes one – Tory lead of 13% points.”

12% Andrew Cooper – Populus
” I am happy to stand by what I said then: Conservative lead of 12%..”

11% Martin Boon – ICM
“I’m happy with 11-points.”

10% Peter Kellner – YouGov
“I am boringly consensual – Con lead 10 per cent. It may or may not be the best prediction but, assuming some outliers in both directions, won’t be the worst!”

8% Nick Moon – GFK-NOP
“I haven’t seen anything to change my mind in a week, so I’ll stick at 8%

??% Ben Page – Ipsos-MORI
“On seats we have a broad church here – there is not a settled “company view”, which reflects the fact that this far from an election there is more art than science in this! So Bob Worcester is at a spread of seats between -10 short of a majority to plus 20, whereas personally I am more of the view that due to what is likely to happen in the marginals, but is not picked up in the national polls, we could see a 40 plus Tory majority. But before May 6 a lot of events dear boy events could intervene! One of us will probably be right…”

The issue coincides with the launch of a new general election betting market on the same matter that has been launched today by PaddyPower which has:

  • 11/2 No Conservative lead or under 2%
  • 10/1 2% – 3.9%
  • 7/1 – 4% – 5.9%
  • 4/1 – 6% – 7.9%
  • 5/2 -8% – 9.9%
  • 9/4 10% – 11.9%
  • 11/2 12% – 13.9%
  • 9/2 14% or Greater
  • I think the last price is the value bet but because I advised the firm I’m prevented from having a flutter.

    Mike Smithson


    How many of these will be blue when the results come in?

    Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

    York Outer – 0.44% (Lab 27%)
    Romsey & Southampton N: 0.46% (Lab 10.9%)
    Cheltenham: 0.66% (Lab 11.8%)
    Eastleigh: 1.12% (Lab 21.1%)
    Westmorland & Lonsdale: 1.7% (Lab 7.8%)
    Hereford & N Herefordshire: 2.4% (Lab 10.2%)
    Carshalton & Wallington: 2.93% (Lab 17.3%)
    Taunton Deane: 3.3% (Lab 12.1%)
    Chippenham: 4.7% (Lab 16.8%)
    Leeds NW: 5% (Lab 31.9%)
    Torbay: 6% (Lab 14.5%)
    Sutton & Cheam: 6.2% (Lab 11.8%)
    Camborne & Redruth: 7.1% (Lab 25.6%)
    Richmond Park: 7.1% (Lab 9.25%%)
    Cheadle: 7.4% (Lab 9.9%)
    Portsmouth S: 8.0% (Lab 22.4%)
    Southport – 9.2% (Lab 12.8%)
    Newton Abbott: 10.5% (Lab 11.4%)
    Brecon & Radnorshire: 10.2% (Lab 15%)
    Devon North: 10.7% (Lab 8.9%)
    St Austell & Newquay: 12.4% (Lab 13.8%)
    Mid Dorset & N Poole: 13.1% (Lab 10.1%)
    Oxford W & Abingdon: 13.4% (Lab 15.9%)

    Are these where Cameron’s majority will be decided?

    There’s little doubt that the weekend marginals poll for the News of the World from ICM was great news for the Tories. For it backed up an earlier marginals poll late last year from YouGov that suggested that the blues were doing quite a bit better in LAB>CON marginals than the national voting intention polls.

    But what about the LD>CON marginals listed above – all of which the seat calculators suggest that the Tories need to take to get an overall majority? But how many will actually go?

    For ICM suggests that the Tories need to take a fair whack of them if Dave is to get his working majority – and, of course, different considerations other than the LAB-CON national swing might apply

    Although we’ve had polls of LAB>CON marginals the only data we have on the LD>CON situation dates back to last September’s PolticisHome poll of 238 marginals with a sample of more than 33,000 people.

    That suggested that Clegg’s party stood to lose only nine of the 63 seats it “notionally” got at the 2005 election. There was some argument at the time over the form of questioning that was deployed but the overall picture did not look as positive for the blue team as they might have hoped.

    My understanding is that CCHQ is expecting about ten gains from the Lib Dems – so many of the seats above might not go blue. That means, of course, that they have to to better elsewhere to reach the initial target of 117 gains.

    I am pleased to say that a PB/Angus Reid poll is in preparation to look at this precise issue and we hope to be reporting in mid-February.

    If you are into seat betting the good news is that Ladbrokes now have their markets back up in an easy to check format. They’ve got prices on 368 of the 650 seats – which is impressive.

    There’s also seat betting from Bet365, PaddyPower and Victor Chandler as well as Betfair.

    Mike Smithson