Sunny Hundal asks a very sensible question over on Liberal Conspiracy having looked at the figures from MORI’s latest political monitor and seen the massive difference filtering the poll by likelihood to vote makes.

While I certainly wouldn’t dispute the importance of parties getting their votes out, things are a little different from how they appear, largely because of some of the differences in MORI’s methodology compared to other companies. MORI take account of likelihood to vote in quite a strict way – they ask people how likely they are to vote on a scale of 1-10 and take only those who say they are 10/10 certain to vote. People who say they are 9/10 or 8/10 likely to vote, for example, are excluded. This means MORI’s filtering by likelihood to vote has quite an extreme effect – as you can see from Sunny’s post, this month the filter increased the Conservative level of support by 3 points and reduced the Labour level of support by 4 points.

However, other polling companies do it differently. ICM ask the same 1 to 10 likelihood to vote question, but weight by it rather than filtering. This means someone saying they are 9/10 likely to vote counts as 0.9 of a respondent, rather than being excluded entirely. This makes the effect of turnout much smaller – for example, in ICM’s last poll turnout weighting increased the level of Conservative support by just 1 point, and made no difference to Labour.

Populus use a similar method to ICM. In their last poll, weighting by turnout had the effect of increasing Conservative support by 1 point and decreasing Labour by one point. Finally, YouGov don’t weight or filter by turnout at all, so their published figures are the ones for everyone giving a view (during election campaigns YouGov does adopt turnout weighting, and typically the effect is similar to that ICM and Populus get – it increases the Conservative lead by 1 point).

So in conclusion, it only looks this way because Sunny’s looking at MORI’s polls in isolation – you won’t find such a sharp contrast looking at any other company’s results.

Those who have thought this through may be ahead of me now – in terms of the Conservative or Labour lead all the parties are reporting much the same results… but MORI’s turnout adjustment makes a massive difference and no one elses does. Surely this means that, since their published results are much the same, their figures without turnout adjustment must be different? You’d be right – without a turnout adjustments or topline reallocations of don’t knows, MORI’s latest poll is showing a 10 point Labour lead, ICM’s a 1 point Conservative lead, YouGov the two parties neck and neck and Populus a 3 point Labour lead.

The reason for this difference will be largely our old friend political weighting of samples – the majority of companies adopt some form of political weighting, normally recalled vote from the last election, to address what they see as an intrinsic bias towards Labour voters in phone samples. MORI do not, on account of their concern that levels of false recall may themselves change over time, making it unsuitable for weighting. The end result is that MORI’s samples often contain a significantly higher proportion of people who said they voted Labour in 2010 than do ICM and Populus’s samples – hence the difference in their voting intention figures when you take away the turnout adjustment.

For most of you, I’m sure this is largely academic – after all, the topline voting intention figures are much the same – but if you want to look under the bonnet of the figures like Sunny has, these things make a difference.

445 Responses to “Dealing with likelihood to vote”

1 7 8 9
  1. i thought the point of schools was to keep an eye on the kids while their parents were at work

    i suspect that a lot of kids think that also

  2. @ Neil A

    “Pretend you’re normal” and ignore the concerns of your parents.
    I have been pretending I am normal & ignoring the concerns of my parents for years… do you think I should be switching from a finance career to a career in education? ;-)

  3. Sorry I’m so long in responding but I have been out all afternoon.
    @Colin Yes I saw the interview with that teacher – how she was treated was appalling. That’s why private schools outperform state schools. Private schools have her in spades. State schools hound her type out.

    @Pam ‘Professional teaching is about enabling children, not giving them reasons for feeling failures,’

    Pam I quite agree, but children have to know honestly, when they have succeeded & when they have failed. The clever teacher then explains where they are going wrong & what they should do about it. Sadly, too many teachers just give praise to all and don’t the kids get a shock when they enter the world of work.

    In my view everything stems from the head teacher. If he/she is a motivator/disciplinarian, then teachers follow the example & pupils respond. Weak leadership get you nowhere.

  4. Amber

    “I do not see education as purely an engine for driving future economic output of an individual or the economy in general.”

    Purely ?-nor do I .

    I neither subscribe to the pure “wolf pack” concept-nor to the pure “cloistered halls of academe” idea.


  5. @ Colin

    Yes, indeed. I am glad we agree that Ofsted’s assessment of the situation requires follow up & actions to be taken to change the mindset about what genuine special educational needs are.

  6. @ NEIL A
    I agree with your comment about a review of what qualifies as one syndrome or special need or another.
    The whole thing appears to be getting out of hand.
    I am not suggesting we go back to my day when a slightly autistic boy was referred to as “that ole Neil he’s alright just mad as a hatter, ha ha ha”. However, we do seem to be mixing up a child’s needs, with the left induced antipathy towards mia culpa.

  7. Robert i France

    “Yes I saw the interview with that teacher – how she was treated was appalling. That’s why private schools outperform state schools. Private schools have her in spades. State schools hound her type out.”

    Yes-she is a former Marxist too.

    Perhaps she has been studying the economy & government of Brasil ? ;-) ;-) ;-)

  8. Robert in F
    Yes that is true.
    I work with a disproportionate number of children have a very low self esteem and are unable to go to school. I guess I think of them first.
    I do realise it is a real world we prepare our children for.

  9. @ Colin

    Yes-she is a former Marxist too.
    ROFLOL ;-)

  10. @Pam
    You refereed earlier to bullying being a major problem in school. We had to privately tutor our son for the 6 months before his GCSE’s as he simply refused to go back to school because of bullying. It was at my expense as the local council seemed not to understand that it was their responsibility (in my view\) to provide a safe school environment and if they couldn’t provide that, then they should cover the cost of the alternative. What was I paying taxes for?
    The school had an anti-bullying policy (as have all schools) but were not really interested in the problem & did nothing. The head was weak & just wanted a quiet life. In my day the bully’s parents would have been called to school & the bully expelled. In today’s PC world that is of course against the human rights of the bully, so the bully wins.
    Happily he got his 5 A-C’s & now (8 years later, he works in the oil industry on mega bucks.

  11. There’s a Comres poll due tonight with a series of questions on the cuts. One the face of it, the supplementary questions seem to me to be setting the scene for an anti coalition headline in the way they are worded, as to my mind they mostly invite negative thoughts and the wording doesn’t appear particularly neutral, but I’ll be interested in the results.

    I was also interested in the response to the honours nominations. I like what EM has done and I suspect he is playing a long game on party finance. Cameron by contrast seems to have rewarded donors with honours. I’ve felt for some years now that in the fullness of time we’ll see the Tories mired in various party funding rows, and Cameron’s refusal to acknowledge his friend Wiggin’s expenses wrongdoing (and sack him as he promised he would do last year) shows he was very opportunisitic on such matters. Now it’s back to the ‘out of sight out of mind’ response.

    Tory party funding and links to big business will return as a running sore, which is a great shame as there was a great opportunity to get things cleaned up.

  12. Robert, like many services it depends where you live. Some LEAs seem not to provide the statutory education for such students as others will.
    I am so pleased to hear that your son has succeeded.
    It’s so unfair isn’t it?

    I am glad to hear your boys problems were overcome.
    I cannot help thinking how lucky we were regards my son being bullied, had anyone tried it, I am sure broken heads and dislocated hips would have ensued. I suppose that’s why he is in the Parachute Regiment now and not doing time for assaulting some specimen. Your comment about weak kneed school staff and the uniformed branch of the Guardian,
    (police) doing nothing of real value to stop these playground Stalin’s, is a problem which will probably come to a head during the next 5 years. Like trimming the huge cost of Labours social service programme, getting seriously tough with this issue will be hugely welcomed by the public.

  14. Robert, I would be interested to know which LEA you were referring to, if you would be prepared to say here.

  15. @ Martyn

    Thank you. That is very informative. Voting at the right polling station I would imagine is incredibly important. For example if you live in Westminster North (a key marginal constituency) but you show up to vote at the Kensington or Cities of London and Westminster polling station, I’d imagine you’d have some difficulty.

    In terms of voter anonymity, when I vote absentee (postal voting), I am required to sign an affidavit on the back swearing that I have only voted once and that I am who I say I am. And I have to print my address on the back and date it. So if someone really wanted to find out how I voted, they could do it. But it’d be illegal and most county registrars and clerks are highly professional and take their jobs seriously.

    @ Howard

    “On AV, I hope Socalliberal picks this up. In California they are already using it.”

    In a few places, not most. This is a terrible idea and I think there will be a move to scrap it (as there has been in a few other areas). First past the post is the best and if we’re going to have city charters that require runoffs, we ought to have actual runoffs.

    The best quote about this practice is that “it’s a solution looking for a problem.”

  16. Robert, 2nd posting, got CAPTHAd
    It is certainly true that bullying needs addressing and it is being addressed despite bullying policies.
    However, if it is resulting in medical anxiety such that a child cannot attend school, statutory education at home, school or alternative provision should have been provided and you should not have had to pay.

  17. @ Amber Star

    “Competition to get better grades than other children, is not a good thing unless it fuels creativity, critical thought, transferrable problem solving skills, team work & original thinking. That’s what drives success, IMO.”

    I agree 100%. It strikes me as crazy to see how much parents now push their kids to succeed in school especially over other students. The levels of stress and resulting problems (cheating, etc) is not normal. I think it’s important to push kids but people must remember that kids sometimes need to just be kids.

    “Does IQ testing, the 11 plus or SATs do any of that? Do targets & testing & streaming encourage achievement of any of those outcomes?”

    Do you have SATs too?

  18. I missed a “not”out there, it is not being addressed, of course….

  19. @ Nick Hadley

    “Don’t worry, I was being a little tongue-in-cheek with the reference to my son paying me back once qualified. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m essentially serious in what I say and argue, but do like to leaven things with a little humour where I can.”

    You are British, I think it’s required by law or genetic or both. :)

  20. Bullying – IMO, the by-product of a culture of discipline.

    Teachers mete out punishment in the classroom to pupils who will not ‘bend’ to the teacher’s will.

    Bullies mete out punishment in the playground to pupils who will not ‘bend’ to the bully’s will.

    Bullying is the unavoidable by-product of a hierarchical, disciplinarian culture.

    Schools, especially 10-15 years ago were going through a period of cultural change. It was necessary but difficult. Teachers were to cease being bullies – unfortunately it took [is taking?] time for parents & children to adapt to this cultural change.

  21. socal

    yes, required by law.

    interestingly, for infringement of this law the prescribed punishment is self flagellation

  22. Facebook and text messages have become the tool for teenage bullies. And I’ve learned that it is pointless to tell the young people not to use the medium, for their generation it is an inevitable part of their life.
    It is a massive problem and hundreds, perhaps thousands of kids are missing school because of it.

  23. @ SoCaLiberal

    Do you have SATs too?
    Yes, they are gradually sneaking their way onto the UK educational scene.

    IMO, it is regrettable. In my view, SATs are mainly multiple choice puzzles that do not measure any of the educational outcomes that I would hope to see.

  24. @PAM F
    To prevent young people from using facebook ect because of bullies is totally wrong, it is no different from the days of saying to a young woman “dont wear a short skirt, it might give a bloke ideas”. People should be free to do what they want within the law, without the fear of some misfit causing them problems. I know you and your Labour friends will not like it, but a period of quite draconian measures will need to be introduced to put a stop to this unpleasant fact of life. I know it all sounds so terribly Tory, but where are current “policies” taking us.

  25. According to Twitter rumours are that Labour 1% ahead, Libs lowest since election, but no figures, so I don’t know. Will be interesting to see and compare with Yougov but I am off out now so have fun. Quiet without Eoin…

  26. Sorry that was Com res

  27. I just lost a post through CAPTCHA.
    Been too busy to follow to much today and even less in the week.

    If Eoin does not post again I will miss him. Sometimes his opinion seemed a little strange but I agreed a lot with him and if you are reading Eoin I think you are the only leftie on here that expreesed agreement with thee concept of broken society (apart from me).

    I think poor grammars are more common then most people think but the situation is masked by self or parent motivated pupils, it does make difference what ypou mean by bad though.

    On the polling front, the polls have definitely moved in Labour’s direction in the last couple of weeks. It is just a question of by how much. The movement will be helped by the Lord Young issue, my guess (and it is little more than that) for tonight is 39, 41, 11

  28. @ Roland

    I know you and your Labour friends will not like it, but a period of quite draconian measures will need to be introduced to put a stop to this unpleasant fact of life.
    What happened to your Liberal tendencies, Roland?

    Draconian measures are supposed to be the perogative of great clunking state, are they not? ;-)


  29. @PAMF
    Thanks for you empathy. We were in Warwickshire, just south of Coventry. Does that help? It was unfortunate that my job move at the time, meant that he had to move schools at 15; probably the worst age.
    I can’t agree with you AMBER that bullying comes from discipline. It might come as a result of the bully being bullied at home, or elsewhere but that is not the same thing at all as measured discipline.
    I really do feel for teachers nowadays as no-one backs them up & certainly not the parents and that balance needs reversing.

  30. @AMBER
    Well you may be right, I am on the turn, because you see its not the few its the many. A relatively small group of little sh!ts should be allowed to terrorise ordinary kids. Allowing them to get away with it and their self centered disinterested parents to get away with it, is a moral disgrace.

    Disipline was much tougher in the 1960s Grammar school than it is now. I remember very little bullying.

  31. AMBER
    Little sh!ts should NOT be allowed to terrorise ect.

    Its getting to Claret time and my hands are shaking

  32. @Social Liberal

    “You are British, I think it’s required by law or genetic or both.”

    It is indeed and it’s amazing how far a bit of gentle humour goes! Irony is great, sarcasm less so, but the great British trait of self deprecation can disarm even the most hostile of foes! I sometimes feel, even though we are often discussing serious subjects, that the ability to laugh at oneself is a far more attractive trait than earnestness and pomposity. I’ll leave you from across the Atlantic to discern which of our delightful contributors to these pages tick which boxes!!

    I read your earlier posts, by the way, talking about voter registration and turn out in the US and, as always, I found them fascinating. You make some telling points about some of the weaknesses of the US political system, and I was intrigued by your revelations about the electoral behavioural traits of the Latino population, but the US system has some intrinsic strengths and advantages too. I’m not sure your turn outs are startlingly lower than ours any longer and, while May’s GE turn out was a little up on the previous two elections, barely 60% of the UK population bothers to vote now, considerably less in by-elections, Euro and local elections. We have to register to get on to the electoral roll and that is now, especially amongst the young and disadvantaged sections of our population, becoming patchy and regionally variable. As I think Mike N pointed out, this should worry politicians of all parties and a concerted effort to reverse the trend should be a matter of consensus and concerted action, but I have my doubts. Whilst some parties may sense narrow political advantage in this state of affairs, I fear inaction will be our watch word.

    A little anecdote to illustrate my ambivalence about the US political system. I was in New York in December 2005 while a Governors election was taking place in nearby New Jersey. I watched some of the candidate’s TV adverts and was shocked, appalled and amused in equal measure. One candidate basically accused his opponent of being a tax dodger and a crook and other replied in kind with attack ads questioning his rival’s record of marital fidelity. Not a policy in sight. Incredible stuff. Then, on the other hand, when I was in LA in August 2008, the Obama campaign was starting to swing into gear. I came across three young black female campaigners manning a rickety and rudimentary stall that they’d set up in Hollywood Boulevard, selling baseball caps, badges, T shirts, flags and Obama DVDs. I stopped for a chat and asked them how it was going. They said it was not exactly natural Obama territory and they’d taken some stick, some good natured some less so. What struck me, however, was their sheer enthusiasm and excitement and tangible sense of political energy. They made politics seem fun and real again on that warm, sunny afternoon and I hadn’t seen anything remotely like it in my country for years. I bought an Obama baseball cap and, when I returned home, gave it to my 87 year old Dad. He still wears it with pride and he’s a lifelong Tory!! Do you think I may convert him before he’s 95? Tony Blair converted hid Dad when he was 70 odd, so I may have a chance!

    All the best to you over there in my second favourite country on the planet.

  33. @ Robert in France

    I can’t agree with you AMBER that bullying comes from discipline. It might come as a result of the bully being bullied at home, or elsewhere but that is not the same thing at all as measured discipline.
    We don’t disagree. Measured discipline in the home is the key ie a home environment that fosters impulse control, self-discipline & respect for others – which is why I say that some parents have yet to catch up with the culture change.

    A a culture of measured discipline is not the same as a hierarchical, disciplinarian culture. The first is much harder to achieve than the second but worth the time & effort, IMO.

    Unfortunately, children living through this change have often been doubly screwed. Used to self-restraint & a culture opposed to bullying in both home & at school they have found themselves the prey of bullies they can neither understand nor deal with.

    Teachers & the victim’s parents caught in this dichotomy can appear uncaring & powerless to the victim; that does not make the bully culture right. It means we must strive harder to find solutions that change the bully’s behaviour.

    Being a woman, I found that having a quiet word with the bullies often did the trick. Men are not so fortunate – an intervention of this type by a man can be seen as a challenge by the bully & his parent(s).

  34. @ Roland

    Well you may be right, I am on the turn, because you see its not the few its the many. A relatively small group of little sh!ts should [not] be allowed to terrorise ordinary kids. Allowing them to get away with it and their self centered disinterested parents to get away with it, is a moral disgrace.
    I absolutely agree – & I am not surprised your typing was affected by the anger you feel about bullying.

  35. 37/38/13 – Comres

  36. These are the Comres Supplementary question results:

    I expect to be worse off personally as a result of the spending cuts

    Agree: 65% Disagree: 16%

    The cuts are unfair because they will be felt more by the poor than by wealthier households

    Agree: 56% Disagree: 30%

    The scale of the cuts planned is too severe and too fast

    Agree: 51% Disagree: 34%
    The need for cuts at the scale proposed has been exaggerated by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats for party political reasons

    Agree: 37% Disagree: 42%
    The Government is cutting public spending in a way that is fair to every section of society

    Agree: 32% Disagree: 52%
    The Coalition Government is ensuring that the most vulnerable sections of society are protected from the spending cuts

    Agree: 28% Disagree: 51%

    It doesn’t read well for the coalition, but as I posted earlier, I would like to have seen a more balanced set of questions.

  37. @ Roland

    Incidently, this may or may not surprise you, I have always considered grammar schools to be very ‘statist’.

    Here the state, via an exam, separates those marked for achievement from those marked to be also-rans.

    For the eventual over-all good of the state, the best resources of the state are to be concentrated on those best able to “pay it back” in the future.

    It is simply another way of viewing the subject, I guess. 8-)

  38. @AMBER
    Apologies, perhaps I misunderstood you meaning. IMHO it did all seem to go to pot in the 70’s, and it may have been unfortunate that it also coincided with the introduction of wholesale comprehensive schools.
    Comprehensive education is something which should work in theory but in many cases it seems to fail in practice. I recall my father (very Ted Heath blue) saying that Shirley Williams was wonderful for the changes she was introducing.
    Why did it go wrong? I think a lot to do with the belief that biggest was best (so schools became uncontrollably large) & a general acceptance that sticking two finger up at authority was acceptable. There were also a lot of second rate teachers coming out of college in the late 60’s who were not of degree calibre and who seemed to be more interested in politics than teaching. I think in 1968 it was possible to get into TTC’s with only 4 or 5 O levels.

    Your final paragraph brought back memories (Being a woman, I found that having a quiet word with the bullies often did the trick. Men are not so fortunate – an intervention of this type by a man can be seen as a challenge by the bully & his parent(s).)

    That’s exactly what my wife did in the village sweetshop, when our son was about 9 and one lad in particular (who came from very good family background) had been giving him a lot of grief over a period of time. He never had any problems with him again! But you are right, I couldn’t have done that. Who said it is a man’s world?!

  39. SoCalLiberal

    Thanks for your responses the other night. Interesting.

    Can I correct one thing, however? Scots aren’t an “ethnic group in the UK” – whatever that strange phrase means!

    We are a mongrel nation – composed of many different peoples – just like the Brits or the Americans.

  40. @SoCalLiberal, hi!

    Each constituency may have several polling stations, and some will have lots: a polling station has a school-sized catchment area (in fact, schools are frequently used for polling stations).


    I know that Eoin cheerfully disclosed his name, location, and profession. But this stuff stays on the web for decades: I’ve dug stuff out of websites going back to ’97 and could go further.

    Regards, Martyn

  41. @ Robert in France

    I agree with you/ your father – it is the size of comprehensives, not the system itself, that fails some children.

    Bullies & disruptive children are often (not always) attention seeking. The bigger the school, the more extreme their behaviour needs to be to gain the level of attention they crave. A bit simplistic, I know – but I don’t want to bore you with another gargantuan post.

  42. @ Martyn

    Given your comment about stuff staying on the web for years, apparently Google are saying that the web is nearly full.

    I keep meaning to read up on that because I find it a difficult concept to get my mind around. I can’t figure if the web itself is full or if Google are saying that our ability to search it – via engines like Google – is reaching their limit.

  43. @ Alec,

    I am going to re-post your ComRes comment onto the new ComRes thread. I hope you don’t mind. 8-)

  44. @ Amber

    “Bullying – IMO, the by-product of a culture of discipline”

    It is remarks like that Amber which confirms ones own inner beliefs, and part of what makes UKPR so comforting sometimes. :-)

    I think you are quite wrong-180 degrees out.

    So all is right with the world :-)

  45. How interesting,
    Once one person has the courage to admit that they failed
    the iniquitious eleven plus, lo, many other people become
    reasoned and sensible in their response.Good.

1 7 8 9