Monday, September 6, 2010

Well Over Half Query Hague

Buried away in the Sunday Times was a poll on the Hague story – 46% of people asked think the Foreign Secretary was telling the truth about his relationship with Christopher Myers. That leaves over half the country doubting the Foreign Secretary’s words.

Asked about that statement, a small majority of 59% think he was right to publish it leaving a lot doubting Hague’s political judgement. On whether it was right to share a room  a slim majority (43% to 42%) think not. For those lining up to say this is a non-story, perhaps they should take on board that well over half of voters now have serious doubts about the man representing them on the global stage. Even the loyalists at ConservativeHome have registered a drop in approval. Easy on those “I will survive” tweets…

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Public Accepts Need for Spending Cuts

Ipsos Mori have been tracking the public’s attitude towards spending cuts. Looks like this is another argument the deficit deniers are losing. When asked did they agree that “There is a real need to cut spending on public services in order to pay off the very high national debt we now have” the response was resoundingly in favour:

Some on the Labour left are basically advocating that the party collectively sticks its fingers in its ears on the deficit and then its head in the sand as well on cuts for good measure. The next Labour leader will need to rethink his deficit denial if Labour wants to be seen as credible on the economy…

Shock Poll: Osborne Most Popular Tory Chancellor Ever

Here is something you probably didn’t ever expect to read: George Osborne is the most popular Tory chancellor in modern history according to pollsters Ipsos Mori.

Guido called them up to check. Yes they have asked the same question since Geoffrey Howe; “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with what X is doing?”

Osborne has a 20% net approval rating, higher than Lawson’s at the time of the boom, higher than that nice Mr Major’s rating, higher than Ken Clarke when he handed over the goldilocks economy to Labour. Incidentally, Darling had a 20% net disapproval rating immediately before him.

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


Seen Elsewhere

Paper Trail Suggests Ashcroft Still Funding Tories | Indy
Bradford Bun Fight Coming | Speccie
Former Minister’s Join ‘Canberra Caterer’ Outcry | The Times
Stop Bercow | The Times
Speaker Cornered | Times
Britain’s Beheaders | Speccie
‘Underclass’ Is Dave’s Fault | Conservative Women
Civil Liberties/Privacy NGO Hires New CEO | Big Brother Watch
Why I Won’t Join UKIP | Dan Hannan
Who Will Stand Up for the Christians? | Ron Lauder
Labour Swing Extends Deep into Tory Seats | Lord Ashcroft


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Lord Glasman tells it like it is:

“The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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