Tag Archives: mike smithson

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

The Lib Dems’ ‘bedroom tax’ U-turn: new poll on what the voters think about it

Spare Bedroom Photo by Flack JackThe Lib Dems announced a few days ago the party’s 2015 manifesto would propose reform of the ‘bedroom tax’ / ‘spare room subsidy’, which would means no tenant would have any of their housing benefit withdrawn unless they had turned down an offer of a smaller property.

It was a long overdue climbdown – as I wrote in April 2013: “The principle of the ‘bedroom tax’, then — to try and maximise the availability of social housing and reduce the chronic waiting lists — is

photo by:
Posted in News and Polls | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

What links Jeremy Hunt and Peter Lilley? (Tip: If you’re not sure who they are, that’s the clue.)

Who’s the most famous cabinet minister? And who’s the least famous? That’s what YouGov set out to find out by inviting its representative sample of the public to type in the name, unprompted, of the post-holder of six senior cabinet positions. Here’s what they found…

identifiable cabinet ministers - yougov

So Iain Duncan Smith (36% correctly naming him as Work and Pensions secretary) and Jeremy Hunt (28% as health secretary) are the least famous cabinet members. Though, to be honest – like John Rentoul and with due respect to Mike Smithson …

Posted in Polls | Also tagged , , , , and | 4 Comments

Four-in-10 voters would never consider voting for the Lib Dems – but it’s not all bad news…

Some interesting poll data from Ipsos-Mori who were asked by British Future to look at attitudes towards voting for the four main political parties. Here’s three points that stood out for the Lib Dems:

  • Four-in-10 voters would never consider voting for the Lib Dems, Conservatives or Ukip. Labour is less unpopular: one-in-three voters would never consider voting Labour.
  • Lib Dem supporter are the most anti-Ukip: 62% say they would never consider voting Ukip. This compares with 43% of Lib Dems saying they would never consider voting Conservative, and 38% saying they would never vote for Labour.
  • The feelings mutual… Ukip supporters
  • Posted in Polls | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

    So you think Ukip are the new third party? Let’s have a look at the data…

    Food for thought for John Rentoul (who calls Ukip ‘The new third party’ here), courtesy of PoliticalBetting’s Mike Smithson:

    (Hat-tip: Vote Clegg, Get Clegg Facebook page.)

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 101 Comments

    The Lib Dem vote share: not always the best guide to how successful the Lib Dems have been…

    An important point, with graph to match, from PoliticalBetting’s Mike Smithson:

    To illustrate the point further:

    Posted in News | Also tagged and | 29 Comments

    Blog of the Year Awards 2011: The Winners #LDBOTY

    What’s loosely termed the awards “ceremony” for the 2011 Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year Awards has just drawn to a glittering close. As the last firework fades in Birmingham’s night sky, I’m delighted to announce the winners:

    Posted in Best of the blogs | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

    No return to two-party politics, but we need to trumpet our successes

    A couple of post-budget polls show post-budget combined support for the coalition parties remarkably steady – one at 59% and the other 56%, but with a move from the Lib Dems to the Tories, with Labour also picking up a bit of support  and “others” squeezed down.

    Unsurprisingly, the budget is less popular with Lib Dem voters than Tory voters.  It’s less popular with our activists too.  Most Lib Dems recognise the need for tough action to sort out the mess the nation’s finances are in, and Nick and Vince have been talking about it for long enough.

    But the measures in …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 29 Comments

    When up is down and down is up

    A quick explanation for people who are new to pouring over the details of polls and, as several people have commented, are confused by the conflicting figures given for whether a party is up or down and if so by how much in a poll.

    Different polling companies use different methods, so comparing – say – an ICM poll with a previous BPIX poll isn’t comparing like with like. Therefore when looking at a poll it makes sense to calculate up/down figures based on the previous poll by that polling firm.

    However, polling firms often do work for more than one media …

    Posted in 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

    Posted in Polls | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

    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 …

    Posted in Polls | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

    What does the future hold for British political blogging?

    Predictions that the next general election will be the one in which the internet will make a huge impact have regularly come and gone. Post-Obama ready yourself for another such clutch of predictions, but underneath this punditry froth the internet has got on with quietly shifting the way politics works. It’s been more at the unglamorous organisational end (imagine trying to organise a campaign without email) than at the eye-catching systems-shattering dramatic end beloved of pundits, but it’s been a major change nonetheless.

    Following in the footsteps of email, blogging has also established a firm place in the logistics of politics, even if its impact on the overall style and conduct of politics is less clear and less dramatic. Blogs have become a key news medium for people involved in or significantly interested in politics, they have become a key part of the flow of news to and from journalists and for some MPs and candidates they reach local audiences large enough to be a significant factor in their election efforts.

    Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

    Poll Position for the Lib Dems?

    Lib Dem Voice doesn’t do polls. But if it did, we would draw readers’ attention to two rather different recent surveys of opinion.

    On Friday, Populus suggested a surge for UKIP — who would relegate Labour to third place and leave the Lib Dems fighting it out with the Green party for fourth place.

    Sunday’s papers will bring a new ICM poll putting us at 25% at Westminster and 20% in the European elections – in both cases relegating Labour to third place in the popular vote.

    Are they both outliers? Political Betting’s sage Mike Smithson offers …

    Posted in Europe / International and Polls | 10 Comments

    Why David Laws was right

    Appearing on the BBC earlier today, David Laws made the point that the Conservative Party’s lead in the opinion polls is fairly modest at the moment compared with Labour’s in the run-up to 1997.

    This led Mike Smithson to blog:

    Why’s the LD schools spokesman getting it so wrong?

    You’ll have to indulge me if you think I’ve banged on about this too much – but I have a real “bee in my bonnet” about the phoney invalid polling comparisons that journos, pundits and politicians are rushing to make when they compare the polling position at the moment with what went on

    Posted in Polls | Also tagged | 21 Comments
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