Thursday, July 22, 2010

Punters versus Wonks

It is fair to say that London Labour’s activists and wonkish elite are by and large behind Ed Miliband, unless they are ideological Blairites (like the Progress crowd) or careerist greasy pole climbers like most MPs, in which case they are behind David Miliband. The headbanging Tory hating activists go for Balls and lefties back Abbott with Burnham picking up a Northern token vote.

Supporters of Ed Miliband are adamant, despite polls showing David has more than twice as much support among Labour supporters, that he will win on second preferences.  Will Straw at LeftFootForward has even built a predictive model that forecasts Ed scraping through. Yet punters persist in making David Miliband the runaway favourite. Are the punters or the wonks right?

Guido accepts that Ed will probably win the union’s endorsements, though the Fabian’s Sunda Katawala argues that doesn’t necessarily mean he will win the votes of union members. Punters agree with Will and give Ed a 60% chance of winning the union votes.

Guido and punters make David the 80% favourite to win the MP/MEPs vote.  Will forecasts it will be closer than that but accepts that David will win this part of the electoral college.

It is over the membership vote that Will’s model and punters differ dramatically. Based on a non-representative, self-selecting poll of LabourList’s readers (DM 34.9% EM 30.8%), he predicts that the second preferences from the more left-wing candidates will switch to Ed and he will thus beat his older brother. The argument being that since Ed is positioned to the left of David, second preferences won’t tack right to the most centrist candidate. This is delusional.

Not all the voters will see the candidates in such finely calibrated positions on the centre-to-left spectrum, much of the electorate will vote on character and personality. Apart from Diane Abbott the policy positions of the candidates are in reality very closely bunched and Ed Balls’ new found tactical leftism is transparently risible.  Experience shows that second preferences tend to break in correlation with first preferences. The correlation isn’t perfect, but nor is it so weak as to be insignificant. Yet Labour sympathisers in the media and even more objective pundits like Toby Young believe Ed will come through.

So if it will be decided by the membership vote, is the LabourList poll accurate? It is unlikely that a self-selecting web poll will be. YouGov actually put Balls ahead of Ed Miliband but behind David with Labour voters (and another private poll by Survation put Diane Abbot within 5% of Ed among union members).  With the polling confusion Guido puts little reliance on the sampling and absent of clear polling evidence Guido opts to “follow the money”. David Miliband has raised more money than all the rest and he has the weight of  punter’s money backing him. It will be close, but Guido suspects Ed will lose to his big brother.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

LibDems Poll Low, Tories High

In a move much awaited by polling geeks, YouGov has launched its YouGov/Sun daily tracker, the innovation which they hope to popularise is the daily approval score. It asks a simple “Do you approve or disapprove of the Government’s record to date?”

Last night it recorded a 2010 high for the Tories on 43% and a 2010 low for LibDems on 15%, a result which will be seized upon by Labour and worry the left of the LibDems. In a time of coalition government it is the Approval Score which has the potential to become the most useful tracker of public opinion. Guido suspects as spending cuts bite it will become very closely followed…

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Posh Test

Think this is tosh, if you pop into Waitrose for some some hummus and Prosecco are you really posh? Basically the entire middle class is posh on that basis. Mrs Fawkes will laugh.

Can’t stand opera but but have been known to see the occasional ballet. Want to make something of it?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Egg on the Pollster’s Faces

Polling before election day was intense, every poll from every known company was scrutinised and debated endlessly on Twitter and in the empty voids of the rolling news channels. But it seems the only people to have a worse election night than the Labour Party were these very pollsters. No one predicted the result accurately and some who were expected to be the closest, were out by reputation-ruining margins. The margin of error ranged from four up to a wild twelve points out. When IPOS-Mori called almost the exact result two weeks ago, the poll was dismissed as “rogue”.

So sure were the media in “Cleggmania” that any suggestion that the Lib Dem surge wasn’t going to materialise was instantly dismissed. It was no surprise then that the lefties over a Tweetminster got their predictions so widly out – they based their poll figures on mentions and “buzz” and attempted to pitch this as a serious methodology in a bid to get in on the polling frenzy. Everyone was talking about the Lib Dems, but a lot fewer actually bothered voting for them. Tweetminster’s insistence that results could be foreseen by hype looks embarrassingly naive on refection. Pollsters claim a margin of error of plus or minus 3%, most were out by some 4% on the LibDem vote. The biggest margin of error was Tweetminster’s prediction that Esther Rantzen would win in Luton South based on positive tweets for the fading celeb – the prediction garnered them a few headlines from gullible hacks.  Despite masses of media coverage Esther polled a mere 1,872 votes and lost her deposit. A margin of error of over 30%.

The real pollsters have a bit of explaining to to do as well. The cut price discounts they did for political polling, with the free hype-based advertising that comes with it, might not seem such a good idea when the corporate world who pay the big bucks see just how inaccurate their forecasts have been.

See also : Tweet Predicting Election Test Confirms GIGO Principle

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tweet Predicting Election Test Confirms GIGO Principle

Guido has long criticised the predictive methodology of Tweetminster – they take the number of tweets and based on the positive or negative sentiment of the tweets, predict the related outcome.  When they predicted Labour would be the biggest party before the election Guido offered them a bet, they didn’t take him up on his offer.

Tweetminster predicted Esther Rantzen would win Luton South based on positive tweets for the fading celeb – the prediction garnered them a few headlines from gullible hacks.  Despite masses of media coverage Esther polled a mere 1,872 votes and lost her deposit.  Let us hear no more of the predictive ability of Twitter, it is snake-oil.

There is a long established mantra coined by George Fuechsel, an IBM engineer back in the days of mainframes, which was soon contracted to the acronym “GIGO” and can be applied here – Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Initial Thoughts

Whatever happened to Cleggmania?

Did voters cross over from Labour to the Tories without stopping in between?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Final State of the Campaigns

Above is the Guy News poll of polls taken from tonight’s final round of polls. Below is where we started the campaign.  The big story is clear, the LibDems have gained massively from the TV debates taking 6% from the Tories and 4% from Labour.

The political markets currently rate the chances of a hung parliament at 59%. Punters are predicting a high turnout in the 70 to 75% range

Monday, May 3, 2010

Labour Third, Pollsters and Punters Expect Cameron to be PM

This is the latest rolling average of the last week’s polls.  Political punters give Cameron a 84% chance of being the next Prime Minister, which seems like a bit of a sell given punters currently make a hung parliament a 52% probability.

Drilling down onto seat numbers the punters are evenly divided rating the chances of the Tories getting between 300 and 324 seats, 2 short of an overall majority, at 29%.  They rate the chances of them getting a majority in the 325 to 349 range also at 29%.  The cliche “it is still all to play” for is absolutely true…

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Clegg Stars in Both Tory and LibDem Election Broadcasts

Interesting Party Election Broadcasts last night, the Tories were fear-mongering that coalition government would be all about backroom deals and horse-trading. This is of course what is conventionally known as ‘politics’.  In the Tory broadcast a Clegg-like actor walked around Westminster offering dithering.  Apparently if you vote Conservative you will get a decisive liberal-conservative government firmly rooted on the centre-ground of politics.  If you vote Liberal on the other hand you could end up with a dithering liberal-centrist coalition government.

In the real LibDem PEB we had Clegg walking around Westminster offering change from the old politics, his first promise was an offer of “tax freedom”, a tax cut worth £700 to every taxpayer. Now 10 points higher than where they were when they started the campaign, the LibDems think their most attractive manifesto offer is a tax cut.

Tax cuts, the Cameroons told us, were the old politics that didn’t work with voters.  All the Tories needed to do was to offer Obama-style “change” from Gordon Brown. In the words of Sarah Palin: How’s that hopey change thing working out for y’all?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

State of the Campaigns : LibDems Peaking

The poll rise of the LibDems appears to have been checked in the averages, they are under a lot more scrutiny now with the front pages of the Tory press literally throwing the kitchen sink (on his expenses) at Clegg.  The whole ‘new politics’ baloney of a former corporate lobbyist who had lobbyists paying into his personal bank account isn’t really credible. If the Tories can get cut through on the hypocrisy of this they will undermine Clegg’s shiney newness.

YouGov’s daily tracker last night put the Tories back in front swapping places with the LibDems, Labour cement their third place poll position:

  • Conservative 33%
  • Liberal Democrat 31%
  • Labour 27%
  • Others 9%

The betting on the Politics Markets this morning makes Clegg the slight favourite to be the winner of the TV debate tonight: Nick Clegg 59%, David Cameron 58%, Gordon Brown 9%.  YouGov will have their instant feedback debate poll a little after 10pm…


Seen Elsewhere

Ruffley Could Be Suspended From Commons | Telegraph
Ruffley Loses Confidence of Constituency | Guardian
Ruffley Under Pressure to Quit | Telegraph
Gove Launches Ruffley Probe | Staggers
Clegg Must Fire David Ward | Sun
David Ruffley’s Campaign Against Domestic Violence | Buzzfeed
LibDem Criticises Clegg Over Farage Debates | Express
Ruffley Must Go | Guardian
Political Correctness Breeds Extremism in Schools | Chris McGovern
Ruffley Faces Crisis Meeting | ITV
I Sang “Maggie Out” (When I Was 7) | Liz Truss


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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:

“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”



Flight Watch says:

Russia Today is a cauldron of bullsh*t. The only people that take it seriously are deluded conspiracy theorists. Other RT journos have resigned citing the same reasons.

It’s about as believable as Press TV, KCNA of North Korea or the Daily Mirror.


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