21 April 2010

Seats, the share of the vote and trends

Why is it that when a poll is published we get an instant prediction on the number of seats?

It’s the share of the vote and the trend that matters.

At present, none of the polls give any party an overall majority.

That is all we need to know.

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  1. The other thing nobody is talking about is that all the polls are weighted, but that weighting system was designed with a small LibDem share.

    I personally think that the weighting system is over amplifying the swings, especially those that use past voting history, so all the headline polls are out anyway.

    I did scan through the raw data on YouGov. I'm no Mike Smithson, but I did notice a few things:

    - It is mainly women swinging to Clegg. An argument for DM4PM over AJ4PM?

    - Labour seem to be holding their share in the North/Scotland. I guess Clegg is too much of a posh southern toff for northerners.

    - Clegg is doing well with the young, Brown with the middle aged and Cameron with the old.

    - Cameron is doing a bit better with those likely to vote, some of Clegg's support wont vote anyway.

    - The other interesting thing is that Cameron is ahead in virtually all the top issues (except NHS where Brown is ahead). This points to the vote swinging back to the the Conservatives when it actually comes time to vote for Government rather than being a popularity contest.

    Some predictions:
    - unless Clegg can better present himself to northerners and men he wont take too much more of the core Labour vote. Labour could probably lose some if they screw up though.

    - a fair chunk of the LibDem vote will go back to the Conservatives by election time. Might not appear in the polls (kind of like 92 where people voted Tory out of self interest but didnt want to admit it to pollsters)

    - the swing back to Labour, if there is one, will be much smaller than the swing back to Conservatives. The tories have won most of the policy battles.

    - looking at the demographics is another reason to dump Brown. Labour need womens votes. However, dumping Brown could hurt their core northern men vote, and would probably help the SNP quite a bit.

  2. NonnyMouse - Thanks for that. I wish I had the time to do a more thorough analysis, but I do share your views that Clegg's surge has caught the experts out.

    The key now is how the leaders perform in the debates. The voters don't pay attention to the 24/7 election cycle.

    All I do is keep an eye on the polling trends, which still firmly indicate a hung parliament.