Archive for December, 2014

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The CON, LD and GRN seats that LAB would hope to win to offset projected 38 losses to the SNP in Scotland

Saturday, December 27th, 2014



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Curtice analysis of latest Scottish polling suggests that LAB could be down to 3 seats – the same as the LDs

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

There’s a great analysis by John Curtice this morning on the latest Scottish polls particularly the one out today from ICM for the Guardian.

The whole article is well worth reading but the following is a key part when it comes to making Scottish Westminster seat projections:-

“..What, however, this poll brings anew to the evidence is an estimate of how well the parties are doing in different types of seats in Scotland. Inevitably, these estimates are based on relatively small sample sizes and thus have to be treated with caution. But what they do suggest is that there is no reason to believe that the swing to the SNP does not extend to what are supposedly the safest Labour seats in Scotland. If anything, the swing appears to be even greater in such seats. In seats where Labour is defending a majority of more than 25 points the swing in the poll from Labour to the SNP since 2010 is 24 points, rather higher than the 19.5 point swing for Scotland as a whole.

That means that, if anything, estimates of how many seats the SNP might win that are derived by assuming that the Scotland-wide movement uncovered by a poll would be replicated in each and every constituency in Scotland could actually underestimate the scale of SNP gains. In the case of this poll, projecting the Scotland-wide movement across the country as a whole produces an estimated seats outcome of SNP 45, Labour 26, Liberal Democrats (on 6% of the vote), 3 and the Conservatives (on 13%), 1. But if we take into account the difference in the movement in different types of seats then the estimate becomes SNP 53, Labour 3, and Liberal Democrat 3 (while the Conservatives emerge empty handed). In short, pretty much every Labour seat in Scotland has to be regarded as currently at risk of being lost to the SNP.

A bleak picture for new Scottish LAB leader, Jim Murphy and Ed Miliband. Securing 3 Scottish seats rather than the 41 currently held completely changes everything for the party at the coming election.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Another online Scottish poll (this time from ICM) has SNP with big lead on GE15 voting intentions

Friday, December 26th, 2014

The pattern is very much the same with all the pollsters and this must be regarded as further good news for the SNP and very bad news for LAB given that it holds 41 of the 59 Scottish seats.

As has been said many times the SNP surge could make things very difficult for Ed Miliband’s party. Every seat it fails to hold in Scotland makes it more unlikely that it can secure a GE15 overall majority. The next question is whether it can win most seats.

It also makes it more likely that we will have an inconclusive outcome next May which could give parties like the SNP a lot of leverage.

What we haven’t had but are promised in the New Year is Scottosh single seat polling. This could show how the national trends in Scotland hold up to things like incumbency and tactical voting.

It has been suggested to me that well know incumbent MPs might do rather better than the national trends particularity in places where NO di well on September 18th. We shall see.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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For the Tories defending what they won in England in 2010 is the overwhelming objective

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Why England only poll data will be so important

The above is the result for England at the last election and shows how well the Tories did there and the scale of the challenge defending their position in May.

Overall they “won” England by nearly 3m votes with a percentage lead over LAB of 11.4%. In terms of eats they had net gains of more than 90.

Hanging on to what they’ve got is going to be the key challenge and their main hope of gains will be from the LDs.

Recent England only data has the gap between the blues and reds at a much lowest level than what happened in 2010. On top of that there’s the threat from UKIP who look set to win few seats.

But it’s the impact of 2010 CON votes seeping to Farage’s party that will be most important. There are just signs in the marginals at least that faced with the prospect of a Miliband government some will return.

The reason the Tories have struggled against LAB is not because of blue red switchers. The latter has suffered less seepage to the purples and, of course, has done well from the collapse of the LDs.

At the moment I find hard to see how the Tories can get more than 280 seats overall which is the current sell level on the spread markets.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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For your Christmas Day entertainment – Guess the Constituency

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Right then folks, as there are no local by-elections today and by the end of today you are all liable to be dozing off not in the middle of Her Majesty’s speech I hope (after all those betting markets were suspended earlier in the month thanks to some unusual betting patterns) it’s time to get those old grey cells into working order ready for the torrent of polls that will flood us from the first week in January onwards.

Here are ten constituency maps (taken from Google Earth using the maps created by the Tally Room website in Australia) which are a combination of 1997 – 2010 and 2010 boundaries. All you have to do is to guess the name of the constituency and which party won that seat at the last election at which it was contested and the MP who won that seat.

To see the maps in greater detail click here.

Harry Hayfield



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An interesting and very sharp political divide: Whether voters think using the word “chinky” is offensive or not

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014



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Online Polls, Big Stories, Shaky Foundations

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

A special column from former ICM polling head, Nick Sparrow

Over the last 3 years the British Population Survey has been monitoring people who respond to online surveys and comparing them to the population as a whole, in terms of detailed demographics and attitudinal variables. It is a massive survey involving 6-8,000 face-to-face in home interviews per month.

In an article published on the Research-Live web site Steve Abbott describes some of the important findings. Analysis suggests that online survey respondents are more active in the broadest sense, than others, more likely to vote, have stronger opinions than others, are more optimistic and more volatile.

Such respondents are just what any journalist commissioning a poll would want, giving results that show people have strong opinions, suggest big movements in public opinion, producing surprising and therefore newsworthy results. And they are cheap as chips. As a result, they are everywhere. So much so that when we talk about “the polls” we mean, substantially, “Online polls”. But all online responders account for no more than 10% of the population, perhaps the most influential minority in Britain today suggests Abbott.

Of course it helps that poll results are underpinned with detailed explanation of how the representative samples are achieved, a careful description of multi stage weighting by relevant demographic and other variables and margins of error for those who are sceptical. Trouble is the use of panellists who have, themselves, sought an opportunity to give their views online involves, at the outset, the abandonment of all the principles of sampling theory. And other research has failed to find any form of weighting that can remove differences in attitudes between online samples and the population as a whole as measured by very large scale random surveys. Demographic weighting does not help, nor does newspaper readership nor even the use of key attitudinal variables that ought to be closely linked to the subject matter of an opinion poll. See.

The importance of the British Population Survey results cannot be minimised. What if that poll, you know the one that said “Yes” would win in Scotland, the one that panicked the whole political establishment into making wild promises for constitutional reform for us all was – how can I put this – wrong; the product of views expressed by people with stronger views and a more optimistic outlook than others? People who might be considered to be more likely to embrace a new vision of an independent future for Scotland, less concerned than others, for example that Scotland may not have a currency, or place inside the EU.

    What if online polls, comprising panellists with stronger opinions than others, being more optimistic and more volatile suggest in the run up to the next general election that the LibDems will be annihilated, UKIP and the SNP in Scotland are surging upwards, Farage and Salmond will be the new kingmakers and mould breakers?

Can we exclude the possibility that the drip feed of such polls helps to create a bandwagon effect, influencing the outcome of elections and referenda. In the end the “Yes” campaign in Scotland did not do as well as predicted, but did it do better than it would have done if the polls had suggested the “No” campaign were always going to win comfortably? What if online polls over the next few months inflate UKIP and the SNP, thereby encouraging more voters to switch to them? In the end they may not do as well as predicted by some polls, but they may do better than they would have done had earlier polls not suggested they were on the march.

This means pollsters are not innocent observers of public opinion, but active participants in the political process; not only reporting public opinion but helping to shape it. Participation that, the British Population Survey suggests, may rest on some very shaky foundations.

Nick Sparrow is the former head of polling at ICM



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Final Survation poll of the year sees Lib Lab Con all up and UKIP down

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

The changes are from the Survation poll in early November, so no evidence of a post Autumn Statement slump for the Tories, however with less than five months to go, neither the Tories or Labour will be happy with their share of the vote.

The fieldwork was the 18th and 19th December, 1,009 people were polled online.

 

TSE