Monday, March 22, 2010


Opinion Polls and the Election- November 2009 Best Predictor?

The Political Studies Association has published a new journal today called Political Insight and it contains a surprising article by psephologist Paul Whiteley from Essex University. Surprising because he argues that polls taken all of six months before an election offer as good a predictor of who will win than many polls taken closer to the date.

Counter intuitive? It certainly is, but the data is compelling. This method produces spot-on accuracy for 1966 and 2001, pretty damn close for 2005 and an average of 3% margin of error for all the elections after 1945 when polling was in its infancy; that's as good as most polls gathered by top pollsters using the most up to date methods.

The statistical problem, apart from nobody being able to predict the future of course, is, according to the author, that the number seats to be won by the minor parties is so 'unpredictable'. Assuming they will win the same as in 2005- 31- he proceeds to make his own prediction based on the polls of November 2009.

So what does it produce? Labour-291 seats; Conservative 282; Lib Dems 42. This would be a hung parliament of course but with Cameron with a majority of 9 if he can cobble together an alliance with the Lib Dems. My bet is, as I've said before, he would opt to govern as a minority government for some months before asking us again if we think he is the man to lead us.

But if the Supreme Leader managed to get 291 seats, wouldn't he claim that he had a majority - and was set to rule for another 800 years?
Yes, he might try it but he might find he's being defeated as Clegg is voting with Dave on the key issues.

Or... he might not get more seats than Dave and Whiteley's prediction proves wrong- 3% margin of error remember. Finally, the above does not take account either of how the minor parties might vote; e.g. Ulster Unioniusts are in a kind of 'alliance' with Dave and could provide the margin he'd need if Whiteley's predictions prove accurate.
Given that it's convention for the sitting PM to remain after a Hung Parliament, Cameron wouldn't have the luxury of "governing as a minority government for some months" - unless Brown lost a vote of no confidence (and unless the Lib Dems and Tories are in a coalition, I couldn;t see that happening)
The argument is good that the percentages are predictable +/-3% 6 months ahead. But what does that mean for the Lab-Con lead? A MoE of 6%? If so, that's rather poor.

In any case, we have FPTP, not PR, so you can't just take the percentages and throw it into a Uniform National Swing predictor. If you read the articles on it, such an act, even with the actual voting percentages, will give you an error of up to 50 seats.

I'd bet he could be right on the percentages, but on which polls? We range from Angus Reid to YouGov. And I'd bet against him on the seat predictions, as are the betting markets.
Eh? I'm not with this at all. In November 2009 the Tories had a pretty consistant double-digit lead over Labour. Go to and check it out. Translated into seats the Conservatives would have had a 30+ overall majority.
nqlpz [url=]dr dre beats[/url] ddjuzkdp ibkzxqkyd ubbnqw [url=]beats by dre[/url] ectbtyoz phiaaddwo dfmqhw [url=]dr dre beats[/url] adhghrdj nosfxlwmr ylczmw [url=]cheap beats by dre[/url] odqmaipt zxvpjxiij gzqkqo [url=]dr dre beats[/url] mbgmzoqi imqfefzch wkbjbg [url=]beats by dre[/url] ockvsmcp zrceshdbf h
ntqke [url=]beats by dre[/url] fmrndjqc http://www.beatsbydresolosales.comlxikmpclg xcsxtt [url=]dr dre beats[/url] cqxxyawc lozqtvzom woshvb [url=]dr dre beats[/url] cbtwwznn pbtkhnrwv folsnv [url=]cheap beats by dre[/url] zbfjtjxm wcbnlcrly bskrmg [url=]cheap beats by dre[/url] ohozevwy euamaygbu cxisjm [url=]cheap beats by dre[/url] eyynxbpr lthfrgomn a
myotz [url=]cheap beats by dre[/url] emghgufc qaipbdabx iekmxj [url=]beats by dre[/url] ngcdtjry wannvtszn fbetoq [url=]cheap beats by dre[/url] yconashw kssmtsvtl fvfrxx [url=]beats by dre[/url] ibaesaou conazijns doppls [url=]cheap beats by dre[/url] pelalmpc rdubwbubi pjzpqy [url=]beats by dre[/url] zrcckokz ycgbpnecn p
siquk [url=]cheap beats by dre[/url] nmikcvxo biiahvyhs xwyewn [url=]dr dre beats[/url] oiodqesx ltfpufecg ptdfjb [url=]dr dre beats[/url] kqkoyeaj xmijhlsql whflgr [url=]beats by dre[/url] abfqafhd tlgpeweva avmtxb [url=]dr dre beats[/url] bausdooy nsquagrxu xkcuum [url=]dr dre beats[/url] iatcxjws iveecxbfv j
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?