++ Another new Eastleigh poll – and this time it shows the Tories in front by 4%

nick clegg eastleighLast night brought news of a Populus poll for The Times showing the Lib Dems ahead of the Tories by 33%-28%, a Lib Dem lead of 5%.

But tonight a Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday has shown the Tories ahead of the Lib Dems by 33%-29%, a Tory lead of 4%.

Survation conducted an Eastleigh poll a fortnight ago — then they found the Lib Dems leading the Tories by 36%-33%. Here’s how the figures compare:

    Lib Dems 29% (-4%)
    Conservatives 33% (n/c)
    Ukip 21% (+5%)
    Labour 13% (n/c)

Only one conclusion to draw from all this: it’s too tight to call! So let’s keep campaigning…

Next Friday morning will be too late. There has rarely been a more important by-election for the party.

It’s up to us whether we remember it for the right reasons or not…

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in Parliamentary by-elections and Polls.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/33367 for Twitter and emails.
Advert

56 Comments

  • Good news for Labour though…. they have found something they are consistent on!

  • It was a bit puzzling, wasn’t it, that a number of people seemed to have decided the Lib Dems were bound to win, despite the fact that the first two polls were strictly speaking “statistical dead heats”? What real evidence was there for that view?

  • Fieldwork for Survation actually started before fieldwork for Populus, (and finished today) so the two polls overlap in their sampling. Two pollsters, two samples, two models, two different results, all within margin of error.

  • The combined UKIP & Conservative figure is quite high and, to me, suggests that they may be attracting some Labour voters. It would explain why Labour remain so low despite the likely defection of centre-left voters from the Lib Dems.

  • Richard Harris 23rd Feb '13 - 10:34pm

    @Steve – If only the libdems had been consistent after the last election.

  • @ Steve Way
    Labour don’t really have a dog in this fight – they won a three figure majority in 1997 whilst coming 3rd.in Eastleigh. Labour need to see off Coalition candidates where it counts as they comfortably did against the Lib Dems in difficult circumstances in Oldham East and against the Tories in Corby . It will be quite amusing if Labour sympathisers in Eastleigh go one step further and vote tactically for UKIP to put the proverbial 2 fingers up to both coalition parties!

  • I agree with Paul. The interesting discussion about the jury system going on is strong evidence that people can be trusted to keep it off the actual trial.

  • Stephen – I suppose somebody had to say it, but if you are comparing the two Survation polls then I’m afraid the drop in the LibDem share of the vote is 7% not 4%. (36/29%)
    Local feelings have been running high after the council’s decision to build those 1400 homes, as campaigners are no doubt able to testify. Terrible timing.

  • Grammar police 24th Feb '13 - 12:13am

    On a sample of 500 people, the 4% difference between Con/LD is 2 people. Meaning the 7% difference is 4 people. It’s neck and neck!

  • 4% of 500 is 20.

  • Think you should apologise rather for your arithmetic muck up here, Grammar Police (weren’t you originally “Grammer Police”, or is my memory playing tricks?)

  • Keith Browning 24th Feb '13 - 9:15am

    With the coalition not having a good weekend – to say the least – I think £5 on UKIP to sneak up at the winning post looks a decent bet – ‘a plague on both your houses’.

    At the very least a three way tie drawn by lots..!!

  • Sounds like a case for the Arithmetic Police …

  • I wouldn’t put it past the Mail on Sunday to release a dodgy poll, though. Their recent reporting of Liberal Democrat internal matters (I think we all know what) has been biased and distorted to the point where it becomes almost laughable – basing headlines on one message sent through Facebook as being gospel truth.

    Far worse than that though is the BBC’s attempt to dignify what the Mail said by reporting it as being “news”. I’m not shocked by the Mail, after all this is their stock in trade, but the fact that the BBC should simply parrot what is says is disgusting.

  • Today’s YouGov poll has Labour 15 points ahead of the Tories, the biggest Labour lead the pollster has ever recorded for Labour since it was founded in 2002. Labour are on 45% compared to 30% for the Tories. The Lib Dems are on 11% with UKIP on 9%.

    In a General Election – that would give Labour a majority of 126.

    The poll also shows a declining percentage of voters think that cuts are being carried out fairly, and a greater percentage of voters thinking that cuts are too deep and too quick. The blame also seems to be shifting from the last Labour government to the current Coalition government when it comes to cuts – a few weeks ago the gap was 12 points, now (after the recent GDP announcement) it’s just 5 points.

  • Grammar police 24th Feb '13 - 9:51am

    @Paul K – I’m looking at the tables that Survation are using – there’s 2 votes difference in the people saying they’re likely to vote Con (95) and LD (93) in the unweighted total – the rest of the 4% is how they allocate undecided voters. Once they’ve “weighted” things, they think that’s Tories 114, LD 93 – which gives you the 4%. So that’s how the “4%” difference is 2 votes (I was wrong about the total sample size, the voting intention is based on 410). http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Final-Eastleigh-Report.pdf

    @Tim13 – Your memory is very definitely playing tricks (but there are many people who only believe things because it’s what they want to believe). I would also point out that there is a difference between grammar and spelling.

  • Stuart Mitchell 24th Feb '13 - 9:58am

    I admire the brave face you are putting on this – but these polls are absolutely devastating for both the coalition parties, particularly the Lib Dems.

    Compared with the 2010 election, the Lib Dems are down 10.5-17.5 points, and the Tories are down 6 points.

    These are catastrophic figures for the Lib Dems and pretty poor for the Tories. UKIP are doing brilliantly (up about 17) and Labour are doing just about adequately (up 3 or 4).

    With the Tory press sniffing Clegg’s blood this morning, you will certainly do well to win on Thursday, but even if you do, anything less than a stonking victory will leave the Lib Dems in a terrible position given all the advantages you had in the constituency.

  • @Stuart Mitchell
    Why do you bother?

    Everyone knows we are dealing with the fallout from having to clear up Labour’s mess (massive deficit, unbalanced economy, huge household debt) plus facing an international economic climate that is uniquely hostile (oil and commodity prices high, Eurozone crisis on our doorstep, developed world economies seeing virtually no growth).The fact that we are unpopular is entirely, 100% down to this.

    No party could be popular under the circumstances. Even Labour, which benefits from its own client class of state dependents, would have record low ratings if they were in government. In fact, the party that is doing well in Eastleigh is the ultimate “kick the establishment” party, UKIP. Virtually no one will be voting for them on the basis of their policies (Halve tax rates for the rich, anyone?). The voters have got a massive grump on because of falling living standards but there is nothing any party could have done about this. Basically, the UK spent the next decade’s growth and more in the run up to the 2008 crash.

    As for the Tory press, they are going all out with every single distortion and lie they possibly can because they are desperately worried that if they lose in Eastleigh and UKIP come second, Cameron’s leadership will go into meltdown. The result is the trumped up smear campaign to end all smear campaigns we see in this weekend’s press.

    All of this is entirely predictable.

  • Stuart Mitchell 24th Feb '13 - 10:47am

    @RC
    “having to clear up Labour’s mess”
    So the “internation economic climate” you refer to only became a problem after May 2010?

    “Basically, the UK spent the next decade’s growth and more in the run up to the 2008 crash.”
    Your response to which is to support the party which pledged to spend MORE than Labour in both its 2001 and 2005 manifestoes – while lambasting Labour for spending too much!

    It isn’t the economy which has done for the Lib Dems (if it were, the Tories would have suffered the same if not more so). A poll highlighted on LDV just last week confirms this. The devastating drop in Lib Dem support came about as a result of political positioning and isues of trust – think rose garden, think tuition fees, think NHS, think U-turn on speed and severity of cuts. It’s no good trying to blame anybody else for these problems, least of all Labour. They were problems of your own making.

    “The result is the trumped up smear campaign to end all smear campaigns we see in this weekend’s press.”
    You have your head planted firmly in the sand. There are genuine issues the Lib Dems need to deal with here.

  • The devastating drop in Lib Dem support comes from the fact that we have had to cut public spending.

    The Tories don’t value public spending much, while our supporters do.

    That is the nub of it. All the rest of the things you talk about are compromises forced on us by the fact we only have one in twelve MPs. The voters don’t like the fact that a quarter of their voting preferences have been converted into just a twelfth of the seats in parliament. If you can’t see that pure, simple, unavoidable fact, I really don’t think it is worth arguing with you, since you are not taking the basic facts into account.

  • @RC

    Do you not think you are being very contradictive in your last posts.

    First you say ” Even Labour, which benefits from its own client class of state dependants”
    {which personally I resent, are you suggesting that most of Labours supporters are “skivers” and “shirkers” and the low paid?}

    Then you say “The devastating drop in Lib Dem support comes from the fact that we have had to cut public spending”
    Which supporters would they be then? could it be the same “state dependants” that you referred to in the previous post?

  • RC “The result is the trumped up smear campaign to end all smear campaigns we see in this weekend’s press.”

    Confused by this assertion. I heard that ten women have made accusations – so I don’t understand what you mean by ‘trumped up’. The timing is interesting but as I understand it, it was Channel 4’s decision to air this now. If you are saying some of the emphasis in the papers is misleading – well that’s how the papers behave so it’s a great shame that Leveson has been rejected.

  • Personally, I think the conservatives will take the seat and the Lb Dems will come a close second. I suspect the UKIP vote will drop off slightly on election day. It has always been a mistake to assume that UKIP only attract disgruntled Conservatives and that how they do in a local election is indicative of how they will do in a general election.
    I think the press tend to inflate the popularity right-wing parties because it is how it wants things to be. The fact is UKIP do not have a single MP and I seriously doubt they’ll get one here.

  • Phyllis

    Interesting that you brought up Leveson. Saw Harman on Marr this morning and though she was quite conciliatory (despite the attempts by Vine to suggest she should just agree with Cameron – this is a BBC position nowadays I think).

    I am unsure what the LD view on Leveson is – it has all gone very quiet.

    Also, from the same show, it seems Cable is having difficulty continuing to support Osborne – and Labour’s tactics seem to have changed recently with focus on Tories now rather than the LD. The Coalition really looks to be struggling and the Eastleaigh result will be interesting.

    A LD victory in this most difficult of situations, would really set the cat amongst the pigeons at CHQ and I expect you will be in for the blunt end of Tory displeasure. Perhaps then some tacit support from Labour would be welcome

  • Sure the moderation of comments about the Rennard allegations should work both ways.

    I don’t think people should be describing this as a “smear campaign”, particularly when the allegations come from people within the party. That is surely to prejudge the issue, and potentially to slander those who have made complaints. People should wait until the allegations have been investigated, rather than implying they are untrue.

  • Former LibDem 24th Feb '13 - 12:12pm

    RC

    When you say that everything is all Labour’s fault and you (with the Tories) are “clearing up” Labour’s mess – do you not understand that you are alienating the very voters you desperately need in Eastleigh? You NEED Labour tactical voters to hold this seat (and many others like it at the next general election). Reading your post makes me think “what would I do if I were an Eastleigh voter?” I lean to the left and I don’t want the Tories to win (I’ve voted Lib Dem at the last few elections), but when I read comments like yours – repeating all the old Tory-lines about Labour’s “mess” – I wonder what on earth the point of voting Lib Dem is. Why should I lend your candidate’s my support when I hear regurgitated Tory propaganda? Ultimately, you are arguing that we should keep the Tories out by voting Lib Dem (a party which is currently in a national coalition which is keeping the Tories IN).

  • “Even Labour, which benefits from its own client class of state dependents, would have record low ratings if they were in government.” So who is this client class of state dependents? How does anyone know who they vote for? Do they vote at all? Didn’t Mitt Romney say something like this about Barak Obama’s supporters? Didn’t end well for Mitt, did it?

    I think Labour have played another good card in Eastleigh. They know they can’t win there and they don’t need to, so they have sent in one of their most well-known activists who has good media presence and who can draw attention to Labour as a continuing alternative to the current coalition. This tactic has been a great success, as the hysteria on LDV and in the tabloids about thoughts that he had (not actions that he did)in 1984 have shown.

  • I think Labour would probably be feeling that it does not matter either way in which this by-election turns out.

    On one hand, it could be an advantage for Labour if the Tories win the seat. The Tories are not going to win the next general election anyway, Eastleigh isn’t a labour target seat. And the Liberal Democrats losing an MP will weaken their position, especially come the next election.

    On the other hand, if Liberal Democrats do retain the seat. Backbench Tory MP’s will be livid with Cameron and his leadership and there will probably be bigger rebellions than we have already seen. Tory backbenchers will become even more vicious towards their coalition partners.

    In some respect Labour are sitting pretty regardless of the outcome. It would probably be even more beneficial if Labour leaning voters in Eastleigh gave their support to UKIP instead. If UKIP where to pip both coalition parties giving them both a smacking it would cause no end of friction within both parties.

  • Helen Tedcastle 24th Feb '13 - 12:43pm

    @ RC : ” The devastating drop in Lib Dem support comes from the fact that we have had to cut public spending.
    The Tories don’t value public spending much, while our supporters do.”

    It’s also because in the early days of the coalition our leaders cosied up to the Tories too much – they started to sound like them – all in the interests of coalition unity – but as the progressive party we looked like we were Tories-lite.

    We need to differentiate ourselves as much as possible from Osborne, Gove and other toxic Tories in my view. In fact I think we should call for Vince to be made Chancellor!

  • Andrew Suffield 24th Feb '13 - 1:24pm

    The devastating drop in Lib Dem support comes from

    Erm… the loss of Chris Huhne’s personal vote and incumbency advantage?

    Really, you can’t conclude anything about the national stage from this. There’s too many different things going on. Let’s try not to go mad. Now go campaign.

  • @ Jedibeeftrix

    “Really? I understand that you are in all probability a card carrying member, but does ownership of that card come with a switch that turns off all critical and analytical function?”

    No, the switch heightens the setting of my trumped up BS Tory press conspiracy detector to top level.

  • @ FormerLib Dem

    “When you say that everything is all Labour’s fault and you (with the Tories) are “clearing up” Labour’s mess – do you not understand that you are alienating the very voters you desperately need”

    But it’s the truth. Labour left office with a gargantuan deficit of 11.4% of GDP and £1.5 trillion of household debt. If that is not a mess, I really do not know what is.

    How could we possibly not mention the fact that when we took office, the public finances were shot to bits and consumers were indebted up to the hilt? Those two facts alone are responsible for the greater part of all the problems we face today. The huge deficit in 2010 is the reason why government spending is still having to be cut today.

  • Tony Greaves 24th Feb '13 - 3:47pm

    So much arid debate here. What matters is what as a party we are going to be saying and doing in the next two years and at the next GE. No-one has any real idea yet.

    Tony Greaves

  • Tony Greaves 24th Feb '13 - 3:52pm

    Oh and by ther way, to say that in a poll with perhaps a 4% +- margin of error, figures of (say) 33-29 represent a “dead heat” is simply not true.

    What they say is that within a (95%?) probability the figures are 29-37 against 25-33. They are overlapping but in probability terms the former is higher than the latter.

    I suspect that with the sample size in the Survation poll the ranges are even higher than these.

    Tony Greaves

  • @RC

    And yet you still do not acknowledge that the Liberal Democrats were pledging to spend “more” than labour prior to the 2007/8 “world banking crisis”
    Her Majesties opposition is “supposed” to hold government to account, so what went wrong there then when the party was pledging to spend more.

    I really do not think you can blame Labour for the “household” debt of £1.5 Trillion. British families have been running up debts, mortgages,credit cards etc for decades, it did not just happen under the last 13 years of the Labour government.

    The deficit of GDP sky rocketed because we were forced to bail out the banks, who are the main culprits for the crisis.

    Prior to the crisis in 2007/8 Labour where running “smaller” deficits than the previous Tory Government. Labour made some huge mistakes with PFI, nobody is disputing that, but Labour heavily invested in desperately needed infrastructure, Hospitals and Schools which the Tories had neglected.

    Where do you think Britain would be in the world today , had the Labour party continued to follow the Tories plan. What sort of state would our healthcare be in now? How would we be competing on the world stage with out the investment in education?

    People do remember the state of the education system before 1997, they also remember the state of the run down hospitals, appalling waiting lists and people being treated in corridors.
    Most peoples priorities are the Economy as well as the NHS and Education.
    The Liberal Democrats will not regain any credibility with left leaning voters whilst they continue to spin and guff the facts.

  • Peter Watson 24th Feb '13 - 4:28pm

    @RC “Everyone knows we are dealing with the fallout from having to clear up Labour’s mess … The fact that we are unpopular is entirely, 100% down to this.”
    There appears to be an inherent contradiction in this view: if “everyone knows” then Labour would be unpopular. Also, the coalition does not give the impression that it is successfully clearing up whatever mess it inherited. Osborne persists with the quantitative easing that he dismissed in opposition and blames the same same international factors that he criticised Labour for using as excuses. Defenders of the policies flip-flop between distinguishing their approach from Labour’s and then emphasising that a Labour government would be doing pretty much the same thing.
    I suspect that Labour’s economic incompetence now seems no worse than the tories’. The remedy that the Lib Dem leadership now endorses is not the one it recommended before the election, and the Lib Dems trump card before the election – Vince Cable – has been effectively neutralised by those around him. What’s more, the coalition government lends credibility to Labour by delivering the double (triple?) dip recession it told us would not happen, failing to meet repeatedly downgraded targets, losing the AAA rating it claimed was vital, etc., and then makes Balls look prescient with a flatlining economy.
    Blaming the Labour government that the coalitionreplaced nearly three years ago is an increasingly weak and backwards looking strategy.

  • “Oh and by ther way, to say that in a poll with perhaps a 4% +- margin of error, figures of (say) 33-29 represent a “dead heat” is simply not true.”

    What I said was not that the polls were “dead heats”, but that they were “statistical dead heats”. As that term was specifically coined to describe the situation in question, it’s rather pointless to dispute the description.

  • David Allen 24th Feb '13 - 5:22pm

    Arid debate indeed. It is clear who is winning. UKIP are winning. Whether they win an actual victory, or whether they just hit the headlines with 20% plus, is not the crucial point.

    The question is why. It is about time we recognised that byelections, and also Euro elections, are a kind of mock election. As such, they encourage the safe protest vote. It is safe to vote UKIP at a byelection, and register a grumble about Europe. In a real referendum, which is not at all a mock election, those same electors will vote to stay in. Because a byelection is the time for the voters to take a free shot, whereas a General Election or an in-out referendum has to be taken seriously.

    UKIP winning Eastleigh is not really serious. Galloway winning Bradford was not serious. The Greens’ 16% in a Euro election was not serious. Orpington and all our past byelection triumphs were not really serious. I am not saying these events were entirely meaningless , or that they had no consequences at all. But none of these events meant a sea change in political life. UKIP’s “win” next Thursday won’t, either.

  • Stuart Mitchell 24th Feb '13 - 5:42pm

    Andrew: “Really, you can’t conclude anything about the national stage from this.”

    True, but there again, the Lib Dem drop in support in Eastleigh (around 14%) is virtually the same as the drop in recent national polls (13%).

    RC: Were you old enough to vote in 2001 and 2005? Were you a Lib Dem supporter at the time? If the answer to both those questions is Yes, could you please cast your mind back and tell us how you felt about the Lib Dems promising to exceed Labour’s spending plans in their manifestoes for both those elections?

  • Andrew Suffield 24th Feb '13 - 5:52pm

    but there again, the Lib Dem drop in support in Eastleigh (around 14%) is virtually the same as the drop in recent national polls (13%)

    Careful there. The drop in polling in Eastleigh is the same as it is nationally. That doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about the support – it looks increasingly like it’s telling you something about the pollsters.

  • Stuart and Andrew
    But a drop of 14% from an original vote share of 40%+ (as in Eastleigh) is NOT the same a a 13% drop from a national vote of 23% – the latter is a much greater fall (60% or so compared with 30% or so).

  • Grammar Police – Yes, with people generally, motivation influences how you perceive (and remember) things. I can honestly say, however, that I am not motivated to believe either your spelling or your grammar to be poor!

  • RC Arguments like yours about “Labour’s mess” apart from being tendentious and partial, absolutely infuriate supporters (and former supporters) of the party. I have seen at least one, now former, voter, completely lose it when confronted by a senior local politician (now possibly also an ex-Lib Dem, although apparently that is in doubt). Views like these are costing the party dear.

  • Tony Dawson 24th Feb '13 - 9:48pm

    @matt 24th:

    “I really do not think you can blame Labour for the “household” debt of £1.5 Trillion. British families have been running up debts, mortgages,credit cards etc for decades, it did not just happen under the last 13 years of the Labour government.”

    So your view is that being one of he guilty removes you from guilt?

    “Labour made some huge mistakes with PFI, nobody is disputing that, but Labour heavily invested in desperately needed infrastructure, Hospitals and Schools which the Tories had neglected.”

    Labour also squandered billions on buildings which were neither use nor ornament. There is a newly-built Labour ‘clinic’ only 3 miles from me which has always been ‘rattling’. There were plans to build extensions to our local 6 form college which involved destroying perfectly good buildings. And I haven’t yet got to John Prescott’s abandoned regional FIre Centres. Spending for spending’s sake, not ‘investment’ other than in personal aggrandisement.

    We have indeed been living beyond our collective means for decades, as have several other nations from USA to Italy and Japan. To pretend otherwise or to pretend it is all down to the banking crisis is childish. The banking crisis was as much a product of the collective fiscal sloppiness as a cause of it.

  • @ Tim 13

    How can we talk about politics without mentioning key, underlining facts? It would be like talking about defence without mentioning the fact we are involved in Afghanistan because of commitments taken on by the previous government.

    It may be tedious to some to mention the economic catastrophe the UK ended up with, but it’s the truth and a very big, fundamental, important truth at that. If people don’t like the truth, there really is not much that can be done about it, is there?

    Or are you saying that the economy was in fine fettle and an 11.4% of GDP debt was a mere technical detail that could have been sorted out in a year. I mean, honestly.

  • @ Stuart Mitchell

    Yes, Stuart, I am 45 and have followed politics since the age of 12 (formation of the SDP) and I have never known political debate to be at such a low ebb and so detached from reality as it is now. People simply do not want to acknowledge Britain’s plight and the extreme and unprecendented difficulties faced in solving them. So many of those posting here are simply deluded in their expectations of what any government or party could have done in the space of three years given the magnitude of the problems.

    As for your point about spending commitments, in 2001, as Labour supporters continually point out, there was no deficit and in 2005, we , unlike the other parties, campaigned for tax rises and spending cuts to pay for our commitments.

  • RC
    The Lib Dem party’s policies in the 2001 and 2005 manifestos were identical to Gordon Brown’s with regards to the size of the national debt – targeted at being below 40% of GDP, which it was until 2008 and the collapse of the banks. The only difference was that the Lib Dems were calling for increased government spending and taxation. Not only that, but in the wake of the bank collapse, Vince Cable agreed with the deficit stimulus measures taken by Darling. So, if it was “Labour’s mess” the direct implication is that the voting public should not vote for other parties that had the same policies – i.e. Labour and the Tories. Some of them are thinking of doing that, i.e. UKIP, because that’s precisely where that kind of argument leads.

    Ironic isn’t it, that so many on these discussion boards berate Labour for claiming that their cuts would be different when Labour are simply doing what the Lib Dems did in opposition – making big claims about very small differences in economic/fiscal policy.

  • Peter Watson 25th Feb '13 - 10:10am

    @RC “How can we talk about politics without mentioning key, underlining facts?”
    But how can Lib Dems defend the Coalition’s approach to fixing the economy if it is one they opposed in 2010?

  • Tom Richards 25th Feb '13 - 12:47pm

    Just to follow up on what Tony said above, Survation poll was of about 500 – which gives a 95% confidence interval of about +/- 4.2%. Populus poll had about 1000 – which gives a 95% confidence interval of about +/-2.8%. Bear in mind that these margins of error are fairly arbitrary – statisticians just seem to have settled on 95% certainty as the standard amount required.

    As Tony says, remember these are central estimates. So the most likely outcome according to the data. is the one the poll states. And the Lib/Con figures are just as likely to be higher as they are lower. If you’re willing to accept a lower confidence interval (ie instead of saying you want 95% certainty, say you’re happy to accept 80%) then you can illustrate this point as well:

    With 95% certainty:

    Survation: Con = 29 – 37, Lib Dem = 25 – 33
    Populus: Con = 25.2 – 30.2, Lib Dem 30.2 – 25.8

    With 80% certainty:

    Survation: Con = 30.4 – 35.6, Lib Dem = 26.4 – 31.6
    Populus: Con = 26.2 – 29.8, Lib Dem = 31.2 – 34.8

    In other words, the two polls basically disagree. And they don’t really tell us anything new. Just that it’s a very tight race.

  • “In other words, the two polls basically disagree.”

    But that’s not surprising, given the differences in methodology. The statistical margins of error relate specifically to the effects of sampling a finite number of people. In practice there’s a lot more uncertainty on top of that, relating to the assumptions that are made in converting people’s responses to a simple percentage for each party – for example the interpretation of likelihood to vote, and the way in which “don’t knows” and “won’t says” are treated. I think the only reasonable conclusion is that the scope for error in these by-election polls is pretty large.

  • I’d like to try to clarify something that was said about polls: namely, that the published poll number is the “most likely outcome” (or really, the description of the state of public opinion at the time the poll was taken that is most likely to be accurate).
    “Most likely” can be interpreted in multiple ways, however, and in this case “most likely” simply means “more likely than any other specific figure.” For instance, if a poll assigns Libby Local 40% in her council race, it is more likely that her opinion share is 40% than that it is 39% or 41% — however, it is stil possible that it is more likely that her opinion share is not 40% than that it is! While no other figure is more likely than 40%, the likelihood that the true figure is 38% OR 39% OR 41% OR 42% — all put together — may still be greater than the chance that it is 40%.

  • @David
    ““Most likely” can be interpreted in multiple ways, however, and in this case “most likely” simply means “more likely than any other specific figure.”

    True, but a comparison of the outcome being exactly 40% with not being 40% isn’t very informative (leaving aside the fact the figure is rounded to a nearest percentile anyway, which is nothing more than the square of the number of digits on our hands. If we were all Octopuses then we might round to the nearest per64thile). I would have thought it’s obvious that ‘most likely’ refers to a comparison with other same-sized outcomes – 39%, 38%, etc. However, I also think that it is obvious that the figures given in the opinion poll are the best information available and that it is not possible to draw a conclusion that a 3% lead is within the margin of error and therefore it is a dead-heat. Despite it being obvious and statistically sound, it doesn’t stop people posting comments saying that results showing two parties within 3% are within the margin of error and are, therefore, a dead heat.

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th Feb '13 - 6:19pm

    Peter Watson

    Blaming the Labour government that the coalitionreplaced nearly three years ago is an increasingly weak and backwards looking strategy

    What about blaming all governments since 1979? The main ting that was wrong with the previous Labour government is that it carried on with the policies of the Conservative government that came before it. The long-term disastrous consequences of many of the policies introduced by the Conservatives are now beginning to become clear. Huge housing benefit bills as a result of selling off council housing is one example, but not the only one.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th Feb '13 - 12:56pm

    Peter Watson

    But how can Lib Dems defend the Coalition’s approach to fixing the economy if it is one they opposed in 2010?

    It’s this thing called “democracy”.

    Let me explain it – the people of this country decide what sort of government they want. Then those who think other sorts of governments would be better accept it.

    In May 2010 the people voted for a Conservative government. At least a good many more of them voted Conservative than Liberal Democrat. So why should the Liberal Democrats who were the least popular of the three main parties block the policies of the most popular of those parties? You may say the Conservatives did not receive over half the votes – true, though they received a bigger share of the vote than Labour received in 2005. How many people who are arguing that the current government is illegitimate were also arguing that the Labour government of 2005-10 was illegitimate?

    In any case, the situation was resolved by the 2011 referendum on electoral reform. The “No” campaign, supported by almost all Conservatives and many prominent Labour Party people argued that we should keep the current system because the distortion which generally hands all power to the party which gains the most votes is a good thing – what matters is winning “first past the post”, not getting an actual 50% share. By two to one, the people of this country agreed with the “No” campaign, Had they thought the current system, which gave the Conservatives much more strength than their share of the vote and the Liberal Democrats much less, they had the opportunity to indicate that view by voting to change it. But they voted to keep it – by two to one.

    I don’t defend the coalition’s policies on the grounds they are what I want or think best. However, I was on the losing side in the 2010 general election and the 2011 referendum. What we have is what those on the winning side wanted. They won, they have it. That’s democracy.

  • nvelope2003 26th Feb '13 - 9:41pm

    There is a new poll today which was carried out over the weekend on behalf of Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative peer, which gives the Liberal Democrats 33% Conservatives 28 % UKIP 21% Labour 12% and others 6%, very similar to the Populus poll in the Times on Saturday 23rd February 2013.

    The Rennard affair does not seem to have had much effect up to last weekend at least. The unadjusted figures seem to show the Conservatives and UKIP virtually equal.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLiberal Al 26th Nov - 12:35am
    Tony: I, too, know of far too many people caught by this insane rules. Heck, I may, myself, become a victim of them because I...
  • User AvatarLiberal Al 26th Nov - 12:31am
    Roland, today, a Chinese girl and an British boy sat in a living eating Indian food in a Japanese style, whilst watching an African film....
  • User AvatarPeter Chegwyn 26th Nov - 12:29am
    If the right-wing vote in Eastleigh had united behind either the Conservative or UKIP candidate instead of splitting fairly evenly between them, we could have...
  • User Avatarmalc 26th Nov - 12:10am
    It would be interesting to see what would happen if William took legal action against his university to refund his tuition fees, because he clearly...
  • User Avatarmalc 25th Nov - 11:56pm
    Simon Shaw I don't think he's trying to be funny, just pointing out that UKIP took a large part of the normal Tory vote. In...
  • User Avatarjohnm 25th Nov - 11:42pm
    People should sign this petition if they agree that those who paid into their own pension funds for years can be short- changed and should...