Tag Archives: anthony wells

Six months from 7th May 2015: how the polls are looking and what to look for

There are three key things about opinion polls.

The first is what matters are trends, not individual poll fluctuations.

The second is they’re snapshots, not forecasts. (A point made by Lord Ashcroft, to his credit, every time he publishes his latest poll finding.)

The third is the next general election won’t be decided by national party vote shares but by who wins in 650 individual seats. (A point often made by PoliticalBetting’s Mike Smithson.)

Here are the trends…

Here’s a graph which focuses solely on the first of these. It shows the result of every single opinion poll – courtesy Mark Pack’s invaluable spreadsheet – in the 12 months from October 2013 to September 2014 (incl.):

poll trends 2014

Posted in Polls | Also tagged , , , and | 69 Comments

ICM has Labour ahead, Ukip moving into 3rd place, Lib Dems on 11%

The Guardian published its latest ICM poll — commonly regarded as the ‘gold standard’ — this week. The top-line (with changes on the previous months) was: Labour 35% (=), Conservatives 31% (-2), Ukip 14% (+5), Lib Dems 11% (+1) and Others 10% (-3).

icm poll - oct 2014

Polling in September/October tends to fluctuate, as the noise of conference season often leads to spikes in support for each party in turn which soon fade. There have been two additional events which may have further confused matters: the Scottish independence referendum and last week’s Clacton by-election.

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Why not scrap the annual Budget?

Budget 2010 photocallOne of my top 3 suggestions for this year’s budget was: “Scrap the absurd twice-yearly cycle of Budgets and Autumn Statements.” It wasn’t an original idea – the economist Tim Harford suggested it a couple of years ago, arguing “It may be an enjoyable political platform but there is no economic justification for the annual kaleidoscope of trivia.”

Tory peer and Times commentator Danny Finkelstein has tooted the same horn today:

I think one of the most useful reforms the Chancellor could make is to scrap the annual

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Should we ban opinion polls from being published in the lead-up to election day?

One-third of MPs (including a third of Lib Dem MPs) say yes – but more are opposed. At least that’s the finding of a ComRes survey of 159 MPs in the wake of the Indian Election Commission banning exit polls in the five states holding elections this month, plus a ban on any opinion polls in the final 48 hours of campaigning.

    Would you support or oppose a ban on the publication of opinion polls for a defined period prior to General Elections?

    Support
    All 30%

    Con 25%
    Lab 35%
    LibD 32%

    Oppose
    All 45%

    Con 49%
    Lab 39%
    LibD 38%

    Don’t know
    All 25%

    Con 26%
    Lab 26%
    LibD 30%

Here’s what Andrew Hawkins, chairman …

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Where Ukip won (or almost won) on 2nd May 2013

Wondering where Ukip won (or almost won – see below) in the local elections on Thursday, 2nd May? Then here’s a handy graphic and breakdown by constituency…

ukip vote may 2013

My thanks to Lib Dem Ben Mathis (@binny_uk) for crunching the Ukip numbers, as below. We’ll update the list with any more found…

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Ukip set to win 22% this Thursday according to ComRes poll

UKIP logoMuch excitement this morning at an unusual event: a poll looking specifically at this Thursday’s local elections. And more than that, a poll showing Ukip on 22%! The full figures are:

    Conservatives 31%
    Labour on 24%
    UKIP 22%
    Lib Dems 12%

Important point: this poll was conducted only in the areas which will actually vote this week. That’s why the Tories are ahead and Labour’s behind. The equivalent vote shares compared to the last time these same seats were fought in 2009 is as follows (via the ever-excellent Anthony Wells):

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Your essential weekend reader — my personal pick of the week’s must-reads

It’s Saturday evening, so here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices culled from all those I’ve linked to this last week. You can follow me on Delicious here.

Political predictions: as the year ends, what does 2013 hold for the main party leaders? – Andrew Rawnsley sanely assesses the 12 months to come: ‘Nick Clegg and David Cameron face more of the same. Ed Miliband’s future is more complicated. He has choices.’

No longer the dunce – Anne McElvoy whispers the …

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Your essential weekend reader — 8 must-read articles you may have missed

It’s Saturday morning, so here are eight thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices…

No, you’re not entitled to your opinion – Patrick Stokes at The Conversation argues that proper debate relies on contested claims based on relevant expertise: just holding to your own view ain’t enough.

Is The Economist left or right? – its digital editor Tom Standage answers the question ‘yes and no': which can

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How you can take part in LibDemVoice’s exclusive party member surveys

LibDemVoice’s surveys of party members signed-up to our discussion forum have been running for over three years now. (I posted yesterday the final set of figures from our most recent poll.)

Our surveys are a way of testing members’ views on a variety of hot topics. And as they’ve been running throughout the first two years of the Coalition they’re also an interesting record of changing views on how the Coalition is regarded within the party.

If you would like to take part in the LibDemVoice surveys, there are simply two steps you need to follow:
1) Be a current Lib …

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LibLink: Anthony Wells ‘On that poll of Lib Dem members’

As my LibDemVoice colleague Caron Lindsay noted here, our poll asking when Lib Dem members want Nick Clegg to stand down has attracted a fair bit of coverage this week (including in the Daily Mail: I’ve showered three times since reading it, I still feel unclean).

Over at his essential UK Polling Report blog, the best online guide to British polling, Anthony Wells has taken a closer look at this survey — and at the validity of LibDemVoice surveys in general — and here’s an excerpt of what he says:

Stephen Tall and Mark Pack don’t make huge claims

Posted in LDV Members poll and LibLink | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Opinion poll reporting: who did it best this year?

Since the start of the year, The Voice has been tracking how newspapers do at reporting the political opinion polls they commission. Each time a newspaper reports on such an opinion poll, the report gets scored out of 30 against a set of basic criteria. The scoring system has generally worked well, though it doesn’t catch the nuance of newspapers commissioning poll questions about political matters and then not reporting certain ones which happen to contradict their editorial line (such as on thisthis and this occasion).

How then do the different newspapers come out of this all? Here are the …

Posted in Polls | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Lib Dems in 1st or 2nd place in almost 300 seats across UK

One of the least known facts about the last parliament, and which deserved to be more widely publicised, was that the Lib Dems were either in first or second place in 250 constituencies across the UK – which made the media’s tired and almost exclusive concentration on Labour and the Tories for most of the last five years all the more irritating.

Well, for all the disappointment of last Thursday’s election results, the party has by one measure at least made a big stride forward, as Anthony Wells’ UK Polling Report makes clear:

The notional 2005 figures had the Lib Dems

Posted in General Election and News | 7 Comments

Pollwatch Day 21 #GE2010 – Lib Dems in second place, at 28-31%, in today’s polls

Four polls published tonight, as follows:

    ICM in the Guardian … CON 33%(-2), LAB 28%(+2), LIB DEM 30%(-1)
    Opinium in the Express … CON 34%(+2), LAB 25%(-1), LIB DEM 28%(-1)
    ComRes for ITV/Independent … CON 32%(-2), LAB 28%(nc), LIB DEM 31%(+2)
    YouGov in the Sun … CON 33%(-1), LAB 28%(nc), LIB DEM 29%(-1)

All movement is within the margin of error, and the degree of stability in the polls is striking: the Tories are at 32-34%, Lib Dems at 28-31% and Labour at 25-28%. Anthony Wells’ UK Polling Report ‘poll of polls’ shows the Lib Dems edging up:

    CON 33%, LAB 27%, LIB DEM 30%

It …

Posted in General Election and Polls | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Are ITV the unluckiest commissioner of opinion polls?

In the run-up to the 2005 general election, there was some excitement as a rolling poll commissioned by ITV from Populus showed the Conservatives slipping to a result even worse than 1997. However, there was a sharp (5 point) recovery in the final pre-election day poll from Populus, which was a normal non-rolling poll.

Picking over the polling after the election, the explanation looked to be one aberrant sample on one day but which, due to the workings of a rolling poll, ‘infected’ the poll results over a longer period of time. It was only with the final pre-election poll, based …

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Are YouGov and Murdoch ‘push-polling’ for the Tories?

‘Push-polls’, for those unfamiliar with the term, are a political campaigning technique “in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll” (Wikipedia).*

And it looks like Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper someone [EDIT 20/4/2010 – see Update below) has been paying internet polling firm YouGov to undertake some ‘push-polling’ against the Lib Dems, following the surge in support for Nick Clegg’s party after last week’s televised debate.

Former British ambassador Craig Murray spotted the following comment on the PoliticalBetting.com website, and noticed its significance:

Just

Posted in General Election and Polls | Also tagged , , and | 11 Comments

Opinion: Attack YouGov if you want to – but at least say who you are

Last week’s Daily Telegraph article attacking YouGov’s polling raises some disturbing issues about the quality of political debate as we fast approach the general election.

Firstly, the article’s authors seem to have no understanding about how polls should be conducted. They complain that the raw data in one large aggregated survey “were…‘weighted’ using an undisclosed YouGov formula which reduced the lead to sex per cent .” But all reputable pollsters know that their sample will not usually be representative of the population, for example by having too few women or too many Guardian

Posted in Op-eds and Polls | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

How did the media do at reporting opinion polls in January?

As I blogged last month, The Voice is going to start rating the quality of the media’s coverage of opinion polls, which is often far from perfect:

There is progress, helped no doubt by the criticism from Anthony Wells and Mike Smithson, both of whom are respected by many of the relevant journalists.

However, there is still much more that could be done to raise the overall quality of such reporting, so here at The Voice we’re going to start scoring each poll commissioned by a traditional media outlet and the way in which its initial report is worded.

Once the scores

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Media to start getting marked for quality of opinion poll reporting

The quality of traditional media coverage of political opinion polling has been a common cause of complaints amongst political bloggers. The most obvious problem is when an opinion poll from one polling company is compared not with the previous poll from that company but against an older one because the intervening one happened to have been published by a different media outlet.

Whilst comparing, say, the latest ICM poll with the previous ICM poll is the most useful comparison to make, if that previous ICM poll appeared elsewhere, in the part it has got airbrushed out of report of the latest …

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Opinion: But is it really time for a change?

Party strategists have bet heavily on their assessment that voters think it is time for a change.

Perhaps simplistically, they hold to the notion that British political fortunes are governed by a pendulum. You often hear them criticise what they term the blue/red red/blue swings, but privately they accept it as a fundamental ‘law’ of political physics and have allowed themselves to be governed by this supposed law these last two years.

2010 will be one of those ‘Time for a Change’ elections, they have deduced.

From that deduction they moved on to suggest that the Conservatives (to whom in their estimate the pendulum has swung) have won the argument among the British public that they, the Conservatives, are the party of change.

The next step in the analysis was to presume that attacks on Conservatives or Conservative policies would thus position the Liberal Democrats as against change and therefore implicitly pro the status quo and, deep down in voter consciousness, pro-Labour.

Among leading Liberal Democrat MPs this conclusion may have been conveniently close to their political preferences, for others – and I think we may include Cable in this – it makes for an agonising and uncomfortable position.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 21 Comments

YouGov marginals polls: a smattering of details

YouGov’s now annual mammoth marginals poll is out. It’s heavily talked about elsewhere, so here are a few extracts that are likely to be of particular interest to The Voice’s readers:

As was the case last year, there is still no sign of Liberal Democrat supporters tactically voting Conservative to oust Labour though neither is there any sign of them voting tactically against the Tories…

Sitting Liberal Democrat MPs continue to benefit from both anti-Conservative tactical voting and a personal vote…

respondents are far more likely to recall having received literature or seen adverts from the Liberal Democrats than the Conservatives.

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73% say Marr wrong to ask PM about prescription pills

An interesting little stat from YouGov’s latest tracker poll (with a hat-tip to Anthony Wells’ UK Polling Report blog). The internet polling company asked the question: Gordon Brown was asked on TV to respond to media rumours that he had been prescribed pills to help him cope with the stress of his job. Do you think it was right or wrong to ask him about this?

And here’s how those polled replied:

>> 22% – Right: the public have a right to know full medical details
>> 73% – Wrong: everyone, including the Prime Minister, has a right to privacy on medical matters that do not materially affect their work
>> 5% – Don’t know

Posted in Polls | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Tax on £1m houses: 69% in favour

We don’t usually do individual polls on The Voice, relying instead on Stephen’s monthly round-ups. But we do make exceptions when there’s something particularly striking or interesting about them and one of the recent YouGov questions falls into this category.

With the usual caveats about it a poll that is carried out in the middle of one party’s conference and that policy proposals can look different once they’ve been subject to constructive debate frequent attack from other parties, here it is:

The Liberal Democrats have proposed a new tax on the most expensive houses. Householders would pay an annual tax of …

Posted in Polls | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments
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