You Comment Monkeys and Forecast Freaks

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So, you poll-bumblers, you forecast freaks, you fee-generating ball-gazers. You used the latest scientific methods to make a small fortune for yourselves while none of you knew what you were talking about. You sold up, sold on, sold in your “90-per-cent-certain” predictions and they were fifty sorts of faeces wrapped up in a silk stocking.

You turn out to be as bad as economists.

Now you can only say: “We were wrong, but this sort of error is far from unprecedented.”

In the run up to the election we had this:

  • Electoral Calculus: No party will have an overall majority. The Conservatives might be 5-20 seats ahead of Labour . . . the bloc of Labour plus SNP is likely to be the largest grouping in parliament
  • FiveThirtyEight: Their model combines opinion polls, historical election results and census data. Oh, that’s going to make things better. Expected seats: Conservatives 278, Labour 267, Lib Dems 27.
  • Ipsos Mori: he SNP surge is slightly overstated, and therefore gap in seats between Labour and Conservatives will be small
  • Survation: CON 270-280 LAB 270-275 SNP 45 . . . Ed Miliband would then, on this basis be our most likely next prime minister, and Labour could be closer to the Conservatives in both votes and seats than is the current expectation.
  • YouGov: a knockout blow now looks virtually impossible.
  • Opinium: I expect the Conservatives to have a small lead on both vote-share and seats but far short of a majority and still short even with Liberal Democrat support. In this scenario Ed Miliband becomes prime minister with SNP support.
  • ComRes: The Tories look set to lose enough seats to Labour, and gain too few from the Lib Dems, for David Cameron to cling to power.
  • TNS: Stalemate. Conservatives and Labour cancelling each other out . . . The real drama will start on Friday.
  • Like ICM and Populus and who knows who else, Lord Ashcroft he predicted a tie, with Labour support rising sharply. Labour were going to win 87 seats and the Tories lose 31, the Lib Dems were down at 25.
  • As Owen Jones wrote: All too many of these commentators live in a bubble, patting each other on the back, largely agreeing on the big political issues of the day, quibbling only over nuances.

But then, the comment monkeys are in a class of their own as opinion fabricators, even below the pollsters.




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Quote of the Day

Sky’s Faisal Islam on the mood in Parliament at the moment:

“It’s a totally febrile atmosphere here. It’s kind of like Game of Thrones meets House of Cards – and if you chuck in the Labour Party – Laurel and Hardy too.”

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