Polls often give contrasting results. Sometimes this is because they were done at different times and public opinion has actually changed, but most of time that’s not the reason. A large part of the difference between polls showing different results is often simple random variation, good old margin of error. We’ve spoken about that a lot, but today’s post is about the other reason, systemic differences between pollsters (or “house effects”).

Pollsters use different methods, and sometimes those different choices result in consistent differences between the results they produce. One company’s polls, because of the methodological choices they make, may consistently show a higher Labour score, or a lower UKIP score, or whatever. This is not a case of deliberate bias – unlike in the USA there are not Conservative pollsters or Labour pollsters, every company is non-partisan, but the effect of their methodological decisions mean some companies do have a tendency to produce figures that are better or worse for each political party – we call these “house effects”.

2014houseffects

The graph above shows these house effects for each company, based upon all the polls published in 2014 (I’ve treated ComRes telephone and ComRes online polls as if they are separate companies, as they use different methods and have some consistent differences). To avoid any risk of bias from pollsters carrying more or less polls when a party is doing well or badly I work out the house effects by using a rolling average of the daily YouGov poll as a reference point – I see how much each poll departs from the YouGov average on the day when its fieldwork finished and take an average of those deviations over the year. Then I take the average of all those deviations and graph them relative to that (just so YouGov aren’t automatically in the middle). It’s important to note that the pollsters in the middle of the graph are not necessarily more correct, these differences are relative to one another. We can’t tell what the deviations are from the “true” figure, as we don’t know what the “true” figure is.

As you can see, the difference between the Labour and Conservative leads each company show are relatively modest. Leaving aside TNS, who tended to show substantially higher Labour leads than other companies, everyone else is within 2 points of each other. Opinium and ComRes phone polls tend to show Labour leads that are a point higher than average, MORI and ICM tend to show Labour leads that are a point lower than average. Ashcroft, YouGov, ComRes online and Populus tend to be about average. Note I’m comparing the Conservative-v-Labour gap between different pollsters, not the figures for each one. Populus, for example, consistently give Labour a higher score than Lord Ashcroft’s polls do… but they do exactly the same for the Conservatives, so when it comes to the party lead the two sets of polls tend to show much the same.

There is a much, much bigger difference when it comes to measuring the level of UKIP support. The most “UKIP friendly” pollster, Survation, tends to produce a UKIP figure that is almost 8 points higher than the most “UKIP unfriendly” pollster, ICM.

What causes the differences?

There are a lot of methodological differences between pollsters that make a difference to their end results. Some are very easy to measure and quantify, others are very difficult. Some contradict each other, so a pollster may do something that is more Tory than other pollsters, something that is less Tory than other pollsters, and end up in exactly the same place. They may interact with each other, so weighting by turnout might have a different effect on a phone poll from a telephone poll. Understanding the methodological differences is often impossibly complicated, but here are some of the key factors:

Phone or online? Whether polls get their sample from randomly dialling telephone numbers (which gives you a sample made up of the sort of people who answer cold calls and agree to take part) or from an internet panel (which gives you a sample made up of the sort of people who join internet panels) has an effect on sample make up, and sometimes that has an effect on the end result. It isn’t always the case – for example, raw phone samples tend to be more Labour inclined… but this can be corrected by weighting, so phone samples don’t necessarily produce results that are better for Labour. Where there is a very clear pattern is on UKIP support – for one reason or another, online polls show more support for UKIP than phone polls. Is this because people are happier to admit supporting UKIP when there isn’t a human interviewer? Or it is because online samples include more UKIP inclined people? We don’t know

Weighting. Pollsters weight their samples to make sure they are representative of the British population and iron out any skews and biases resulting from their sampling. All companies weight by simple demographics like age and gender, but more controversial is political weighting – using past vote or party identification to make sure the sample is politically representative of Britain. The rights and wrongs of this deserve an article in their own right, but in terms of comparing pollsters most companies weight by past vote from May 2010, YouGov weight by party ID from May 2010, Populus by current party ID, MORI and Opinium don’t use political weighting at all. This means MORI’s samples are sometimes a bit more Laboury than other phone companies (but see their likelihood to vote filter below), Opinium have speculated that their comparatively high level of UKIP support may be because they don’t weight politically and Populus tend to heavily weight down UKIP and the Greens.

Prompting. Doesn’t actually seem to make a whole lot of difference, but was endlessly accused of doing so! This is the list of options pollsters give when asking who people vote for – obviously, it doesn’t include every single party – there are hundreds – but companies draw the line in different places. The specific controversy in recent years has been UKIP and whether or not they should be prompted for in the main question. For most of this Parliament only Survation prompted for UKIP, and it was seen as a potential reason for the higher level of UKIP support that Survation found. More recently YouGov, Ashcroft and ComRes have also started including UKIP in their main prompt, but with no significant effect upon the level of UKIP support they report. Given that in the past testing found prompting was making a difference, it suggests that UKIP are now well enough established in the public mind that whether the pollster prompts for them or not no longer makes much difference.

Likelihood to vote. Most companies factor in respondents likelihood to vote somehow, but using sharply varying methods. Most of the time Conservative voters say they are more likely to vote than Labour voters, so if a pollster puts a lot of emphasis on how likely people are to actually vote it normally helps the Tories. Currently YouGov put the least emphasis on likelihood to vote (they just include everyone who gives an intention), companies like Survation, ICM and Populus weight according to likelihood to vote which is a sort of mid-way point, Ipsos MORI have a very harsh filter, taking only those people who are 10/10 certain to vote (this probably helps the Tories, but MORI’s weighting is probably quite friendly to Labour, so it evens out).

Don’t knows. Another cause of the differences between companies is how they treat people who say don’t know. YouGov and Populus just ignore those people completely. MORI and ComRes ask those people “squeeze questions”, probing to see if they’ll say who they are most likely to vote for. ICM, Lord Ashcroft and Survation go further and make some estimates about those people based on their other answers, generally assuming that a proportion of people who say don’t know will actually end up voting for the party they did last time. How this approach impacts on voting intention numbers depends on the political circumstances at the time, it tends to help any party that has lost lots of support. When ICM first pioneered it in the 1990s it helped the Tories (and was known as the “shy Tory adjustment”), these days it helps the Lib Dems, and goes a long way to explain why ICM tend to show the highest level of support for the Lib Dems.

And these are just the obvious things, there will be lots of other subtle or unusual differences (ICM weight down people who didn’t vote last time, Survation ask people to imagine all parties are standing in the seat, ComRes have a harsher turnout filter for smaller parties in their online polls, etc, etc)

Are they constant?

No. The house effects of different pollsters change over time. Part of this is because political circumstances change and the different methods have different impacts. I mentioned above that MORI have the harshest turnout filter and that most of the time this helps the Tories, but that isn’t set in stone – if Tory voters became disillusioned and less likely to vote and Labour voters became more fired up it could reverse.

It also isn’t consistent because pollsters change methodology. In 2014 TNS tended to show bigger Labour leads than other companies, but in their last poll they changed their weighting in a way that may well have stopped that. In February last year Populus changed their weights in a way that reduced Lib Dem support and increased UKIP support (and changed even more radically in 2013 when they moved from using the telephone to online). So don’t assume that because a pollster’s methods last year had a particular skew it will always be that way.

So who is right?

At the end of the day, what most people asking the question “why are those polls so different” really want to know is which one is right. Which one should they believe? There is rarely an easy answer – if there was, the pollsters who were getting it wrong would correct their methods and the differences would vanish. All pollsters are trying to get things right.

Personally speaking I obviously I think YouGov polls are right, but all the other pollsters out there will think the same thing about the polling decisions they’ve made and I’ve always tried to make UKPollingReport about explaining the differences so people can judge for themselves, rather than championing my own polls.

Occasionally you get an election when there is a really big spread across the pollsters, when some companies clearly get it right and others get it wrong, and those who are wrong change their methods or fade away. 1997 was one of those elections – ICM clearly got it right when others didn’t, and other companies mostly adopted methods like those of ICM or dropped out of political polling. These instances are rare though. Most of the time all the pollsters show about the same thing, are all within the margin of error of each other, so we never really find out who is “right” or “wrong” (as it happens, the contrast between the level of support for UKIP shown by different pollsters is so great that this may be an election where some polls end up being obviously wrong… or come the election the polls may end up converging and all showing much the same. We shall see).

In the meantime, with an impartial hat on all I can recommend is to look at a broad average of the polls. Sure, some polls may be wrong (and it’s not necessarily the outlying pollster showing something different to the rest – sometimes they’ve turned out to be the only one getting it right!) but it will at least help you steer clear of the common fallacy of assuming that the pollster showing results you like the most is the one that is most trustworthy.


231 Responses to “All about house effects”

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  1. Rab McNeill in today’s Herald recalls the use of the term “Caledonian Antisyzygy”.

    Fortunately, no such bigotry exists towards our revered fellow-poster on UKPR. :-)

  2. To link the recent scarf obsession back to some political relevance, some time ago people were asking which if any seats would be fertile territory for the Scottish Green Party.

    I put forward a number of potential seats for them to target such as Glasgow North and Edinburgh South, but in a blow to my political forecasting abilities, the Scottish Green Party has recently selected Edinburgh East as their national target seat and focus for volunteer activity in 2015.

    The 2010 candidate was MSP and former Scottish Greens co-convenor Robin Harper (famous for his distinctive rainbow scarves to give a small link to today’s chosen topic) and he polled 2,035 votes saving his deposit on 5.1% of the vote.

    The Green’s chosen candidate in 2015 is Peter McColl, current Rector of the University of Edinburgh and well known in Edinburgh political and student activism circles.

    However the downside for the Greens is that Edinburgh East was also one of the SNP’s strongest areas of Edinburgh both in 2010 (when George Kerevan came a decent 2nd with 20% of the vote) and in 2011 when Kenny MacAskill won the Edinburgh Eastern seat relatively comfortably. It will be difficult therefore for the Greens to expect many if any tactical votes from the SNP.

    The SNP also appear to have a very strong candidate in Tommy Sheppard, well known Yes campaigner and proprietor of the Stand comedy club who may well also appeal to the same demographic as the Greens.

    The seat appears to have been chosen more with long term plans to improve performance locally for future Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh Council elections rather than from any particular conviction that they have a chance of winning it in 2015. Doubling their share from 5% to 10% would be a very decent performance.

    Despite a long standing personal dislike of Mr McColl (unrelated to politics) I wish the Greens well in this seat but don’t think they’ll be making a breakthrough in May.

  3. So my latest estimate of a time-weighted YouGov average from the last week (5 polls) with spurious level of accuracy is:

    Con 33.4% Lab 33.2% LibDem 6.3% UKIP 14.5% Green 7.0% Other 5.5%

    I think safe to say that UKIP support fading a bit which helps to explain Tories moving out of the 31-33 range, and closing the gap with Labour from a ~1% Labour lead to level pegging now

    Hard to imagine either the Tories or Labour moving to 35%+ any time soon though so imagine we might have nothing much to talk about over the next few weeks …. not that that should stop us …

  4. NorthumbrianScot,

    That does surprise me. Having lived in Edinbugh for 4 years and travelled around it a lot, I would have thought that Edinburgh East would be the least propitious for the Greens, with Edinburgh South being their best bet. Edinburgh South has a significant urban, middle-class, English and/or unionist, carless, thoroughly liberal population; not just students, but a lot of the population in general in my experience. A very tough crowd for the SNP and one would think a very good crowd for the Greens.

  5. Populus Scotland crossbreak

    Lab 30 SNP 29 Con 21 LD 12 UKIP 5 Grn 2

    LD look a bit high!

  6. Those “650” pieces on may2015 are well written but pretty sensationalist at times. I also wish they would cover some traditional Con/Lab marignals, ie where the election will be won and lost, rather than bigging up the Greens quite so much.

  7. The Hallam one definitely doesn’t big up the Greens. Garbutt comes off rather badly – which is strange because Tim Wigmore has been quite anti-Labour in the past.

  8. @ Oldnat

    Reverence eh? :)

  9. @ JohnPolitico

    Apart from your observations abut UKIP VIs, I think you are overinterpreting random variation. A quick calculation suggests that Anthony’s polling averages will probably be unchanged when he updates them this evening. When he’s done that, I’ll run the trend checks properly. But the preliminary indications are that both Conservative and Labour VIs are progressing entirely in line with their 2014 trends. The apparent YouGov (above trend) margin reduction is probably noise that is not reflected in polls conducted by other companies.

    I won’t commit myself until Anthony identifies a batch of polls to form the basis for his weekly commentary this evening (?). But I think the chances are that you are building sand-castles at this point.

  10. Unicorn – just to clarify, on Friday I try to list all the polls since the previous round up… but the average is just the current updated average, so it will include some older polls (basically, it will include what’s in the average at the moment, plus today’s Populus and YouGov, and minus whatever adding those two knocks off the bottom)

  11. Going back to my remarks yesterday about the two largest voting blocs being negative rather than positive [ABT vs ABL] it does seem to me that, given what happened to the LDs especially, once they were regarded as NOT anti-Tory, that the ABT block will be the winner.

    So the question many voters will have to answer in May is:

    “How do we best achieve that in our own seat?”

    Which is why I believe that flow charts of VI are not totally relevant anymore. Like all of you I am constantly amazed by how little interest or knowledge of political realities most people demonstrate.

    But soon anybody even half awake will be clear about the options: at that time I will start to regard polls with greater faith.

  12. John Politico
    I do not think you are building sand castles. I agree with your viewpoint. The time is fast approaching when flirting with UKIP is just to damn dangerous. If you want Ed Miliband as PM, vote for him. If you do not and your English, vote Tory. If you are Scots vote SNP. messing with the lunatic fringe is silly.

  13. I see that Costa is banned for his stamp.

    Hopefully that will been Mourinho continues to sulk and we won’t have to listen to him in interviews, banging on about referees for five minutes before concluding with:

    “But I don’t like to talk about such things.”

  14. @ Bill Patrick

    My thinking is similar to yours with regards Green strengths being better suited to Edinburgh South.

    The only counter to that is that Edinburgh East does actually include a number of the student areas including Pollock Halls (the University of Edinburgh Halls of residence), the Old Town, the University itself and the Southside/Newington area as far down as Minto Street.

    However I would have though that Edinburgh South’s population would be more fertile Green territory in areas such as Morningside, Marchmont, Sciennes, Bruntsfield etc and would probably contain an equal number of students.

    Greens only scored 2% in South in 2010 but I’d have thought their chances of picking up ex Lib Dem voters here would be much stronger. What do we know though? …

  15. Evidence of growing disinterest in the election and polling generally (pointless stats which mean nothing but have nothing better to do, Part I)?:

    Number of comments on UKPR blogs going back to September last year:

    Sept 2014 – 9818 (327 per day)
    Oct 2014 – 8921 (288 per day)
    Nov 2014 – 6954 (232 per day)
    Dec 2014 (shortened due to Xmas inactivity) – 4111 (133 per day)
    Jan 2015 5270 (with a day and a half left). (179 per day)

    A remarkable decline. No doubt caused by great excitement resulting from such events as the Scottish referendum and various By-elections last Autumn. The General Election build-up may not be able to compete . . .

  16. @Morfsky

    UKPR blog comments decline – but have you considered the quality of comment recently?

  17. @ Tony Cornwall

    “UKPR blog comments decline – but have you considered the quality of comment recently?”

    Yes of course the quality just gets better and better, peaking naturally with your last one!

  18. @BILLPATRICK 11.07am

    I quite agree, all voters will be rational at the GE so prediction is easy. CON 100 Others 0. You agree of course!!!!

  19. @ Anthony Wells

    Thanks for your clarification. After a bit of confusion last week, followed by some helpful comments from @RM, I now think I understand how your inclusion algorithm works.

    To avoid suspicion of cherry-picking, I am using each batch to check how each of the VIs is shifting relative to long-standing trends. Since batch inclusion is determined by your algorithm I am reasonably confident that I am leaving little scope to slant the figures and provide what I hope will be an unbiased account of the patterns that are emerging in the VI series.

  20. MORFSKY,

    I am tempted to burst into a recitation of the classic football terrace anthem “You’re not singing any more”…

    (“You’re” in the collective sense, not you personally of course).

  21. @ POLL TROLL

    Love your moniker. Reminds of, er….all of us!!

  22. MORFSKY,

    If you took out the 2 biggest contibuters (I use to word generously) I wonder how many posts there have been.

    Of course if they contrubuted less I reckon others would visit/comment more often.

    Taxi for aged fly

  23. Lurker/Colin

    re The only question relevant to polling is whether people believe that the economic forecasts on pay are accurate.

    I think a further question is how much redit will the Governeing rties get.
    In 1997 living standards were rising but Major’s Tories got little credit as, fairly or not, the upturn was seen as overdue.

  24. @ Number Cruncher, @ OldNat, @Statgeek, @CMJ and any others who carry out calculations using YouGov Scottish crossbreaks.

    Using VI differences between successive YouGov polls between Jan 1st 2014 and now, I have calculated that the observed SNP MoE is about 7 (7.16 to be more precise). Increased variability is to be expected on the basis of the small sample sizes contributing to these crossbreaks, but I wonder if everyone is aware that the uncertainty is this high.

    Of course, averages over a series of polls will be more stable.

  25. Tony Cornwall,

    Exactly. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that our side is just about to win, as soon as people realise all the problems with the other side. However, you mispelt our side’s abbreviation as “CON”. I’m talking about OUR side.

  26. @NEIL A

    “I am tempted to burst into a recitation of the classic football terrace anthem “You’re not singing any more”…

    Yes, or maybe ‘We only sing when we’re winning . . .’ which of course no-one clearly is (bit of a no-score-draw at present)!

  27. Northumbrian Scot,

    Most Edinburgh students don’t stay at the Pollok Halls beyond their first years, when they may not be registered to vote and when they are especially likely to have things on their minds other than politics. I also thing (purely anecdotally) that it’s the richer students who (a) can afford to live in the Edinburgh South areas and (b) would be likely to vote Green. There was a lot of working-class/lower middle class utterly loyal Labour students when I was there, though while that was only a few years ago, a lot has changed since then.

  28. @AW

    Thanks for the clarification of the definition of “Labour swing voters” in that poll. I was wondering whether you were just making heroic assumptions based on current and previous VI, but the definition used is pretty meaningful and I suggest make the conclusions in the article very valid.

  29. There’s been a dramatic shift in mayoral polling for the Labour nomination amongst Labour supporters.

    Is it a coincidence that the (potential) candidate who has been most loyal in support of the mansion tax has received a big boost, at the expense of those have been most disloyal?

    http://labourlist.org/2015/01/latest-london-mayor-poll-shows-rise-in-support-for-khan-and-hodge-but-jowell-still-leads/

  30. Unicorn

    Thanks for the moe calculation.

    With a range of 33-49 in these wee crossbreaks this month, that’s something like I would have expected.

  31. Just had a call from my accountant.

    Morgan Stanley have now set up a scarves futures market. It sounds a bit risky – kind of like an unregulated hedge fund – but they assure me it’s safe as sub prime houses.

    The idea is we sell options on our leased scarves based on the idea of their future market value. If the options are exercised, we hand over the scarf and get the full value, and if they aren’t, we keep the options payment and the scarf.

    The best thing about is that the clever teenagers at MS have worked out a complicated algorithm that predicts scarf demand at any future point in time, using 15 publicly available data series.

    Using this, we can predict precisely how many scarfs will actually be needed, and can therefore sell multiple options on each individual scarf, knowing that only a certain number of them will be needed. They tell me it’s completely risk free! Just how much cash can you fit into a pair of trousers?

    I’ve now made so much money I’ve bought out 19% of global scarf manufacturers, closed them down and moved production to an Indonesian sweatshop where the workers are paid so little that they need to take advanced loans from me on their pay at an APR of 3,000%, which effectively reduces the net wage bill by 13%.

    Kerching!

    I’m also setting up an online virtual scarf market where people trade bitcoins for e scarves. They can create their own, personalised scarves, complete with their own life histories, personalities, and physical characteristics. It’s very big in Japan, apparently.

    There’s also an online gaming section, where people can enter the Dark World Of Scarves and battle with each others scarves in real time, trade bitcoins for virtual sex favours and all the other stuff people do online. It’s very big in Guildford, apparently.

    And I don’t even wear a scarf!

  32. decline starting in sep 2014….scottish referendum , this place was hot. Still pretty much is “scottish polling report” with all the users that stuck around…

  33. @Alec

    LOL!

    It might not suprise you to learn that in certain online games you genuinely can obtain quality neckwear, although it tends more to the pendants, necklaces and collars than the scarf.

  34. ….do you play guild wars 2 neil? :^)

  35. Alec

    You are wise not to risk the fate of Isadora Duncan as you pedal your way around. :-)

  36. “Asking which party is ahead in the public opinion polls is meaningless in this close-fought election because seats in the House of Commons are awarded at the constituency level not the national level,” writes [Professor Richard] Rose.

    https://www.holyrood.com/articles/news/cameron-%E2%80%9Cwill-lose-seats-win-downing-street%E2%80%9D-says-expert-0

  37. I agree Bill that Pollock is a relatively small part of the student vote.

    Newington and Southside do have a lot of student voters though, lots of multiple occupancy flats above the shopping streets in South Clerk St, Nicolson St etc and lots of students in the Holyrood, Grassmarket areas as well, so Edinburgh East is quite studenty. (I spent four years as an Edinburgh student living in the Southside and had plenty of student neighbours)

    Not sure there is a marked affluence split in students as you move westwards into Marchmont / Bruntsfield although in my experience there definitely is once you cross Princes Street into Edinburgh North.

    The most reliably Labour students I ever knew lived in Dumbiedykes but were not typical of the local population and one affected to wear an Undergraduate Cape and carry a walking cane. Last I heard he was an assistant to a Labour MP at Westminster…

  38. Phil H -no ,its a very clear trend ,I would expect support to drop for jowell too if she repeats her mansion tax comments.At least she has said she will support extra tax on empty homes.The selection decision of course rests with a wider electorate than labour members.

    Food for thought for chuka supporters who have been very vocal recently -TB,PM,CC,AM,JH etc , coordinated and designed to harm not help.

  39. Anthony

    A small complaint: your foreword this time is so long that it is taking me ages to scroll down it and get to the serious squabbling – plus interesting suggestions for the line-ups and methodology for the debates.

  40. JJ

    If we all got paid per post then Scotland would not need the oil to be a prosperous, independent nation.

  41. @ OldNat

    Thanks for the link to the summary of the report by Prof Rose.

    One of the sentences States:

    According to the research, a collapse in support for the Liberal Democrats will benefit the Conservatives more than the Labour Party because the Tories are in second place in more than two-thirds of the 57 seats the Lib Dems now hold.

    Granted this is only a second-hand summary of the argument itself, but this seems pretty dubious to me on at least two counts.

    First, I believe that four of the Tories-2nd-to-LDs seats are in Scotland and in these cases it is far more likely that the SNP candidate will overtake the Tories to take the seat.

    Secondly, there is a very strong whiff of UNS thinking in the suggestion that if the front-runner is fading the race will necessarily be won by the party in second place Churn analyses have been conducted by several contributors to this site, and they show that the disappearing LibDem VI doesn’t just ‘drain the pool’ – leaving the second in line to emerge victorious. Instead, the reallocation of these VIs are likely to favour Labour more than the Conservatives. This makes things much more complicated and it is doubtful whether there is any value in toting up 2010 runners-up.

    Prof Rose’s article has not yet been published and there is a good chance that this summary doesn’t do it justice. But as things stand, this doesn’t sound a convincing argument.

  42. @Unicorn

    “Increased variability is to be expected on the basis of the small sample sizes contributing to these crossbreaks, but I wonder if everyone is aware that the uncertainty is this high.”

    Hence my use of the MAD system of most recent 30 polls, and increasingly, a 25-poll, time-weighted MAD averaging system (which is now getting updated regularly):

    http://www.statgeek.co.uk/2014/09/here/

    I included the SNP and Lab samples to give an idea of level of effort (on the part of the spreadsheet) going into the MAD calcs. 325 data points per party, per region.

  43. NorthumbrianScot,

    The more I think about it, the more I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Greens keep their deposit in every seat in Edinburgh. It’s good ground for them, in a way that the western Central Belt (mostly a Labour-SNP battle) and rural Scotland (largely unreceptive to the party of onshore windfarms) is not.

  44. UNICORN

    I have heard that sort of argument before.

    Another thing it ignores are three way marginals, or those Tory seats where the Lib Dem vote is much higher than the difference between the Tory and Labour vote.

  45. Oh, onshore windfarms AND not exactly keen on drivers.

  46. BRAMLEY
    Allen Christie

    “If Labour do win the election then Peter Hain would make a great foreign secretary but I’m getting way way carried away”
    …….
    “Won’t ever happen because he’s standing down at the GE”
    ______

    Is he? That’s a real loss for the Labour party and Westminster. He is genuinely one of my favorite MP’s.

  47. Bill Patrick @ NorthumbrianScot,

    My guess would be that the SGP (and GP in Wales) are mainly concerned to build support in advance of next year’s elections for list seats.

    The English Greens have a hugely more difficult task, having to struggle through the FPTP system only.

  48. Roger Scully has more on Welsh polling – “Labour in Wales: perhaps the biggest polling movement in recent UK history that almost no-one has heard of”

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/generalelection/labour-in-wales-perhaps-the-biggest-polling-movement-in-recent-uk-history-that-almost-no-one-has-heard-of/

  49. Oldnat,

    Good points, though the Scottish and Welsh Greens also face a six-party contest rather than a five-party contest, unlike in England.

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