What went wrong

In the fullness of time I am sure much more will be said about why the polls overestimated the level of Lib Dem support at the election, but there was an interesting nugget from Andrew Cooper of Populus on More or Less on Radio 4 earlier. Populus’s final poll, conducted on the Tuesday and Wednesday of election week, had the Lib Dems on 27%. However, according to Andrew in the fieldwork conducted on Tuesday the Lib Dems were in the high twenties, in the fieldwork conducted on the Wednesday they were on 24%. That looks like evidence of late swing – that the polls weren’t wrong, people just changed their mind right at the end.

However, there is also some evidence that casts doubt on late swing. Because they published in the Evening Standard on Thursday and had a later deadline Ipsos MORI’s final poll of the campaign had the latest fieldwork of all the pollsters – all their fieldwork was conducted on Wednesday… yet they still had the Lib Dems at 27%.

Also illustrative is Ipsos MORI’s post-election poll. Most companies use some form of past vote weighting, so their post-election polls will be calibrated to the new results and won’t really be directly comparable to pre-election polls. Ipsos MORI however don’t use any political weighting, so their post election polls should be conducted in exactly the same way as their pre-election polls. In their post-election poll for the News of the World MORI asked how people had voted in the election on May 6th, and found figures of CON 35%, LAB 31%, LDEM 28%. No sign there of a big drop off in Lib Dem support compared to pre-election polls.

Of course – we know all about the problems of false recall, there may be people claiming to have voted Lib Dem who didn’t actually do so, so this isn’t conclusive either, but it isn’t screaming out late swing.


410 Responses to “What went wrong”

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  1. FYI, Darling will remain as shadow chancellor for now but will not stand for re-election in September (Labour’s PLP elect their shadow cabinet when in opposition).

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  2. Re Chep:

    I always thought Chep was an Anglo-Australian company., Eoin (commonwealth equipment handling). Have the French bought that too?

    “there is no need for a VAT ”

    Gosh I hope so, Alec. Many retailers (etailers) are already squeezed by the availability of goods online, VAT-free.

    Re: Atkins diet

    Not sure about heart problems but my considerable experience is that Atkins leads to significant weight-loss and gout in men, exhaustion,sugar cravings and weight gain in women.

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  3. Shopkeeper man

    Why do you think goods (other than say second hand goods) sold online are VAT-free?

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  4. @ Eoin – “Balls aint pretty but he has got a set”

    Unfortunately they seem to be located where his brain ought to be, if his excruciatingly awful interview on PM was anything to go by.

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  5. Any item < £17 from the Channel Islands is VAT free.

    Items from countries with a lower rate of VAT, whilst not VAT free, clearly have less VAT included. Luxemburg has a 15% rate for example.

    Many countries have a 0% or 5 % VAT rate on products which incur the full rate in the UK. Medicines spring to mind.

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  6. @Mike N – “Why do you think goods (other than say second hand goods) sold online are VAT-free?”

    Forgive my ignorance, but surely they aren’t exempt unless they are from overseas suppliers not liable for UK VAT. Any UK retailers (including 2nd hand online stuff I would have thought) that surpass the VAT turnover threshold would surely have a liability?

    I’m not a VAT expert though so I could be wrong though.

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  7. Alec – I’m no VAT expert either. Perhaps I misunderstood Shopkeeper Man’s comment.

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  8. @Eoin,

    “To an outsider it would be near nigh impossible – especially if DM wins ;) lol”

    Very true. ;)

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  9. @ShopKeeper man,

    Yes your 1200 x 1000 blue cheps have ben GKN’s for quite some time now. The last I heard they were going to put chips in them to track them. They arge a 0.3p hire on them daily plus a depositi of £10.

    It is a license to print money

    @Howard,

    I typed u a long reply reference UNS and I did not enter the code grrrrrr :(

    I will type it up again later :)

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  10. @ SUE

    “I’m not being inflammatory, i genuinely want to know.”

    Fair enough ::-

    “Why are you so sure all those economists who said “wait to cut” were wrong? ”

    There are as many economists who advocate getting on with it-+ BoE Governor + CBI.
    £6bn is PEANUTS-1% of total government spend. THe BIG numbers come next year-announced this autumn-as KLabour woul have done.

    “You are incredibly dismissive of Amber’s statements for instance, yet she is a financial analyst?”

    I didn’t mean to be dismissive.
    I disagree with most of the economic views she has expressed-that isn’t surprising given her political agenda ( which she very interestingly posted recently)-it is different to mine on the economic front.
    I can respect Amber’s experience -but I don’t have to defer to it. I spent 40 years in Industry-most of them as FD of a listed company.

    “Why does it “have to be done” when other countries with similar levels of debt believe it can wait? ”

    Which are they?
    Ireland, Spain & Greece are cutting public expenditure. The euro zone is in chaos because of doubts about sovereign debt.

    “I wish you could explain to me why you’re so sure cuts won’t make things worse. ”

    The £6bn is essentially Whitehall waste-as the CBI representative said today-it isn’t saving Government waste which will cause recession , it is the European economy.
    As for 2011 & on-Labours plans were the same as the Governments-get rid of the structural deficit over the parliament-£60 to £70 bn pa fiscal tightening.

    What alternatives do you think there are Sue?
    How high does interest on government debt have to get before you become concerned that it’s bigger than the Education budget?

    Sorry for not replying earlier-was out in the sunshine today-clocked Xanthogramma citrofasciatum-as first for me & a nice record ;-)

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