Another LibDem Contribution to Statistical Excellence

Guido can only doff his cap to the LibDems for this piece of statistical brilliance. The unrivalled data wizards over at Great George Street, for whom any budding student of stats should take inspiration, have produced the following masterpiece on their membership numbers:

With no axes or numbers whatsoever, it really is a quite beautiful example of how to make a 5% increase in members over five quarters look like a 300% rise. Guido would never want to help a rival, but he would not begrudge the LibDems entering this effort at next year’s Royal Statistical Society awardsThe Guy Newsroom salutes you…

More Evidence of Jonah Brown Cursing the Union

aw-gf-gb-sky

Last week Guido pointed out the negative impact that the former Prime Mentalist was having on the No campaign’s poll ratings after getting involved late in the referendum. Yesterday’s YouGov bombshell shows the Jonah effect with even greater clarity. While many may dismiss this a terrible coincidence, they should note it is Scottish Labour support that is haemorrhaging to the optimism of the Yes campaign.  These are precisely the people to whom the former Prime Mentalist is talking. 

The good news for fighters for Scottish freedom is that Better Together have decided to deploy Gordon and both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls this week. ALBA GU BRÀTH! 

Saturday Seven Up

This week 130,493 visitors visited 340,519 times viewing 550,678 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

71% of Public Think Shaun Wright Should Resign

A YouGov poll for the Times RedBox finds that 71% of the country think that (former) Labour South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner should resign.

Interestingly the poll finds that now more than half of the country “have little or no confidence in the police.”

Even Wright’s own deputy has walked, saying he should go and everyone from the Prime Minister to Yvette Cooper agrees. Apparently Ed Miliband agrees too, but you would not know it from any of his public utterances on the subject (zero).

Final Debate Poll Verdict: Salmond Wins

The Blurrt worm has spoken:

Salmond wins.

Via @David_Taylor

UPDATE: ICM call it for Salmond 71% to 29%. Also known as a total thumping. 

Unemployment Falls to 6.4% – Figures in Full

20140813-093547-34547778.jpg

There were 30.60 million people in work, 167,000 more than for January to March 2014 and 820,000 more than a year earlier.

The proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate), was 73.0%. This was higher than for January to March 2014 and for a year earlier.

There were 2.08 million unemployed people, 132,000 fewer than for January to March 2014 and 437,000 fewer than a year earlier.

The unemployment rate continued to fall, reaching 6.4% for April to June 2014, the lowest since late 2008. The unemployment rate is the proportion of the economically active population (those in work plus those seeking and available to work) who were unemployed.

Via ONS.

Today’s Outstanding Contribution to Statistical Excellence

It seems Guido has a challenger in the statistical excellence stakes. We suggest that Ally McCoist and Rangers FC nominate themselves for a Royal Statistical Society award next year:

Even the LibDems would be proud of that one.

Guido Commended by Royal Statistical Society

Guido is honoured to have been commended by the Royal Statistical Society at the Statistical Excellence in Journalism Awards today. Commenting on this blog’s data journalism over the last year, specifically our exposé on gender inequality at the patriarchal CLASS think tank and how the Guardian uses the word “scrounger” more than any other paper, the Royal Statistical Society praised our:

“commitment to using statistics to question, analyse and investigate the issues that affect society at large”

Guido looks forward to providing his readers with a similarly high standard of data journalism in the year ahead…

Ed’s PMQs Figures Out By 134%

Yesterday Ed botched his figures, today he’s botched his sums. During his comfort zone PMQs on the NHS, Miliband bleated:

“Let me give him the figures for his target: before his reorganisation, the number of people waiting more than four hours was 353,000. After his reorganisation, that has risen to 939,000, an increase of 300%. Is that better or worse?”

A Guido co-conspirator points out that 939,000 is, to be precise, 266% of 353,000.

That is not a 266% increase though, it’s an increase of 166%, which is 134% points away from 300%.

Even when they’re ignoring the economy, Labour still can’t get their sums right…

Labour’s Westminster Bubble Bursts Half of Party’s Key Marginal Candidates are Political Insiders

Researched published in the Guardian today confirms Labour’s bubble problem: half of the party’s candidates selected to fight marginal seats come from jobs in politics. 54% of Labour candidates in marginal and inherited seats have previously worked in politics or wonk world, compared with 46% of LibDem candidates and 17% of Tories. Created in the image of their leader…

The research finds that former or current staff of Ed Miliband, Yvette Cooper, Tessa Jowell, Ruth Kelly, Hazel Blears, Alistair Darling, Hilary Armstrong, Mary Creagh, Lord Foulkes, David Blunkett and Lord Sugar are all running, as are 15 ex-Labour MPs standing again, as readers will remember they include expenses piggies Joan Ryan and Andrew Dismore. They identified four Red Princes so far: Jack Straw’s son Will, Neil Kinnock’s son Stephen, former MP Colin Burgon’s son Richard and ex-MP Shona McIsaac’s husband Peter. They won’t be the last.

In 2012 Miliband championed a new Labour Party programme to find more working class MPs to try to address concerns that too many of the party’s candidates had backgrounds as researchers and SpAds, but as Bath University’s Dr Peter Allen says, “it is more a Labour problem” and it is not going away. An ICM poll finds 44% say they are fed up with careerist MPs who “look and sound the same“, indeed a Times/YouGov poll earlier this year found that not having had a “real” job outside of politics was the least attractive quality for candidates, with 55% saying it made them unsuitable for public office. Even Tony Blair said last year that there was a “problem” with MPs not working in normal jobs before entering politics. Might there possibly be a link between Ed Miliband spending his adult life in the bubble and the public’s perception of him as an out of touch weirdo?

Ed Smashes His Negative Polling Record, Slumps Below CleggOsborne’s Shock Positive Approval Rating Grows

Ed Miliband has hit his lowest ever personal rating by gold-standard pollsters ICM for the Guardian. The Labour leader has dropped 14 points in the last month to -39, below even Nick Clegg, who has a rating of -37. Cameron has lost last month’s positive rating of +2, dropping to -5, though Osborne has seen an increase in his own rating from +5 to +6.

The force is strong in that one.

Poll: Just 8.2% of Europeans Can Name Jean-Claude Juncker

Just 8.2% of EU nationals could name the lofty European Commission presidency candidate Jean-Claude Juncker, a poll conducted by the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists has found. 91.8% haven’t got a clue who he is.

Having had the selection process explained to them – that political parties at the European level run candidates for the role – 89.9% said that this should not be the criteria for selection. Just 10.10% supported the process.

Now that’s what you call a mandate…

Ashcroft Newark Poll Has Tories 15 Points Clear

Lord Ashcroft reports:

“A by-election two weeks after the European election means that Newark’s electors have enjoyed the prolonged attention of the parties, a privilege for which they must surely be grateful. The evidence from my poll is that the Tories have had the better of an intense ground war and have by no means taken the seat for granted. More than nine out of ten voters say they have heard from the Conservatives locally, including 81 per cent who have had literature through the door; nearly half have received personally addressed mail. Eight in ten say they have heard from UKIP; the party is reported to be slightly more active than Labour in all elements of the local campaign.

The poll was conducted in the week before polling day, and just under a fifth of voters say they may yet change their mind. Despite this, it looks clear that the next MP for Newark will be Robert Jenrick.”

The full data is here.

It’s theirs to lose…

Cost of Taxation Crisis

Over the course of a year, the average British household pays more in tax than it spends on food, clothing, housing, fuel and power. As illustrated by this chart from the Taxpayers’ Alliance:

Click to enlarge.

Forget the cost of living crisis, Britain is facing a cost of taxation crisis…

Misery Index: Summer is Coming

A weekend heatwave, wall to wall sunshine and even a slight drop in unemployment – it’s no wonder we are all so happy. This is one of the most joyous months we have had under this government, with the Retail Prices Index staying at 2.5%, more people in work and a three day weekend awaiting us. There has however been a rise in the Public Sector Net Cash Requirement, meaning we are not quite as happy as our happiness peak in February this year. The clear trend of decline in misery since February 2011 remains…

N.B. stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.

Unemployment Rate Down to 6.8%

  • Unemployment rate down from 6.9% to 6.8%
  • Unemployment January-March down 133,000 to 2.2 million
  • Employment up 283,000 in quarter, biggest increase since records began in 1971
  • Claimant count at lowest since November 2008
  • Pay including bonuses for January-March 2014 was 1.7% higher than a year earlier, with pay excluding bonuses 1.3% higher
  • 140,000 Romanians and Bulgarians were in work in the UK in the three months after lifting of controls, down 4,000 on Q4 but up 28,000 on a year before

And the sun is even shining…

Tories Beat UKIP to First Place in Guardian/ICM Euros Poll

Tonight’s Guardian/ICM poll has the Tories in first place for the Euros on 27%, ahead of UKIP on 26%. Labour drop to third on 24%. In their state of the parties poll the Tories are also in first, this time two points clear of Labour, on 33% and 31% respectively. Things get even worse for Miliband in the leadership poll, he has a worse approval rating than Clegg:

UKIP will say this is an outlier for the Euros, though Labour will struggle for an excuse given the Ashcroft polling earlier. If it rings true it is devastating for both parties…

BBC Pays MPs More Than Every Newspaper Combined

Press Gazette has crunched the numbers and worked out that the BBC pays more money to publicity-seeking MPs for vanity appearances than every national newspaper combined. Rory Stewart trousered £8,000 for his documentary, Alan Johnson pocketed £5,317, while part-time MP and TV personality Diane Abbott has been paid £2,800. Tim Loughton got £1,500 for appearing on Have I Got News For You, as did wannabe London mayor Sadiq Khan, who probably now regrets that ill-fated idea to boost his profile.

It all adds up to £20,000 of licence fee payers’ money paid to MPs so far this year, well ahead of the £17,905.40 the entirety of Fleet Street has stumped up. If ever there was a reason for scrapping the licence fee…

#Nigel4Newark: the Pros and Cons of Running

The UKIP leader says he will “think very hard” about standing in Newark but appeared cautious last night, asking is it the right seat for me?” Guido gives you the pros and cons facing Farage.

Pros

  • CLICK TO ENLARGEAnalysis by the Election Data website (right, click to enlarge) looking at Mosaic demographic data, past voting behaviour and self-reported political affiliation suggests that Farage would be well received in Newark. The overwhelming majority of the constituency is seen as “receptive” or “fairly receptive” to UKIP, with some areas “very receptive”. Only the town centre are voters described as “unreceptive”.
  • UKIP’s support in the seat has multiplied in the last four years. In 2010 the UKIP candidate polled just 3.8%. As George Eaton notes in the 2013 county council elections the party won 17.1% in Newark and Sherwood. The by-election will come off the back of a Tory humiliation in Europe.
  • Mike Smithson makes a convincing point for the pro camp: the last Tory by-election hold while in government was William Hague at Richmond in 1989 – 25 years ago.
  • Farage has hinted that he wants to run in a by-election before 2015. How many more by-elections will there be in UKIP-friendly Tory seats in the next year?

Cons

  • Patrick Mercer had a majority of 16,152. It is a fairly safe Tory seat.
  • The Tory candidate Robert Jenrick has been putting in the groundwork over the last few weeks in anticipation of a by-election and the Tories are quietly confident their man is the real deal. Though his website needs some work.
  • Farage told BBC News last night his main reservation is that he is not a local candidate, admitting “I haven’t particularly got connections with the local area”. Given UKIP’s Tory opponent has been parachuted in, might UKIP gain from running a candidate from within the constituency instead?
  • The establishment media is with one voice telling Farage that if he does not run in Newark then he is a bottler. His enemies seem awfully keen on Nigel running. The Tory stooges at the Times have put it on their front page, as have the Telegraph. Are they setting a trap?

Or does he who dares win…

Hacked Off Seek EU Diktat to Force Through New Press Laws Watson Backs Brussels Directive on Media Ownership

After Sajid Javid signalled that he wanted to put the issue of press regulation “to bed”, Hacked Off last night called for an EU directive to force through new laws and overrule the Culture Secretary. Evan Harris and Natalie Fenton, two of the group’s directors, endorsed a new campaign aiming to secure a petition of one million signatures and seek a diktat from Brussels to set limits on media ownership at a European level.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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