Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 35%, LD 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 8%. A four point Labour lead is the highest since December. It does rather suggest that the Tory leads at the start of the week were probably just noise after all, and we’re just seeing random sample variation about the same old neck-and-neck position. As usual I’ll update the averages in my round-up tomorrow.

(Regular readers will know this, but just to bring newer readers up to speed, the fieldwork for YouGov polls runs from about 5 o’clock one evening till about 3 o’clock the next day. This means the vast majority of the respondents tend to come overnight. If you are waiting to see if there is any polling effect from David Cameron’s announcement on the debate then you won’t see it this poll, which was mostly conducted before the announcement. Wait until the YouGov/Sunday Times poll.)

403 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 31, LAB 35, LD 6, UKIP 15, GRN 8”

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  1. #Aesthetics

  2. St pancras ward in camden is natalie bennetts own ward.

  3. Crossbat

    Very much agree with what you say (10.35 post) about the “Scottish hinge”.

    Do find the assumption amongst nationalist supporters that Labour are somehow obliged to make a deal with SNP more than a tad arrogant. In one case this seemed to be along the lines of “if Labour don’t do what we want and make a deal to favour Scotland at the expense of the Rest of UK (eg entrenching Barnett which simply sends money from a poor Wales to a much richer Scotland) we will mulch you at the next Assembly election as opposed to having just hung you out to dry at this one”. I think Labour in E & W may be beyond caring in that event ;-))

  4. @Spearmint

    Does anyone want C&S either, though? Political journalists and the Civil Service, perhaps.

  5. Sturgeon says Trident renewal is not a red line.,helpful just before miliband speaks at LiS conference.

    “I cannot see the SNP overtly supporting the Conservatives; they would get thrashed by their ex-Labour voters”

    It’s a good point because it’s for that very reason (Labour supporting the Tories) that have caused Labour in Scotland to collapse in spectacular fashion.

    It’s not quite the way I see it but most of the political pundits and even the former Labour spin doc in Scotland have said this.

  7. For the proposed CON+LD+DUP coalition – CON+LD need to total 318 or possibly 315 seats. The ticklish thing is that with the collapse of the LD vote, the Conservatives might end up taking a few extra LD seats – which will not help reach this target. Whether such an arrangement will last very long, I’m very dubious.

    I’ve noticed on the Guardian website predictor a possible CON+LD+DUP+UKIP coalition (phew!) but I really doubt UKIP and the LD’s would work together.

  8. Allan Christie

    They were perceived to be, but the logic behind the perception is nonsense.

  9. @KeithP – UKIP have suggested that they would only do a C&S agreement, which would probably also be the case for the DUP, which seems compatible with a renewed Con+LD coalition.

  10. KeithP
    It’s what I wrote at 1216. Con needs 320 odd seats to coalesce with anyone. That rightish coalition suggestion of the Guardian you cite is ridiculously off the wall.

  11. @Oldnat – “Folk like Rawnsley can play around with Westminster conventions all they like, but the political reality is quite simple.

    If Labour could form the UK Government with SNP support, but refuse to do so on the basis that votes in England result in the Tories being the largest party,….. etc, etc”

    It’s not simple, and I think this is the equivalent of my dog with it’s head in the box/fingers in ears. The relevant word here is ‘if’.

    If Labour could form a majority with SNP support, then I suspect that is what will happen, I would imagine without a formal coalition, but on C&S. In this scenario, it would not be possible for Cons to form a majority without SNP support, regardless of what the other smaller parties did.

    Where you have your head in the box/fingers in ears is the more likely scenario (if current projections are accurate) of where Labour + SNP doesn’t give a majority.

    A few seats here and there between Lab and Con makes a big difference, but if Lab needs SNP + say 10 seats, we’re outside the range of a Green/PC/SDLP alliance with Lab, plus an SNP C&S.

    In this scenario, Lib Dems would be needed to guarantee a majority, and I don’t think they would play. Their decision here would be to back the smaller party in a multi party agreement, or back the ‘winner’, probably with an arrangement with the DUP. There would be two possible majority scenarios, and LD’s would probably back Cons as the winners.

    As far as things look at present, this seats scenario seems more likely than SNP + Lab securing a majority, and this is the risk that SNP voters seem prepared to take.

    There are obviously permutations that mean it could fall either way, but anything other than Lab + SNP exceeding the majority line leaves a large open door for Cons to walk through, as they would almost certainly remain the largest party and would probably have a majority with LDs and DUP.

    The simple bit (and this really is very simple) is to consider what would happen if Lab got more seats than Con.

    In this scenario, it’s very difficult to conceive of Lib Dems attempting to keep Cons in power, whatever the numbers looked like.

    To vote SNP in Scotland is to take a gamble on the overall seat division and allowing Cons to stay in power. Current polls suggest that to vote Lab in Scotland guarantees an end to Con government for the next 5 years.

    This may or may not be what nationalists on here and elsewhere actually want , but it’s what the numbers tell us.

    Just like oil prices.

  12. Welsh Borderer

    Of course Labour aren’t bound to make a deal with the SNP. They are perfectly free to commit hari-kiri in Scotland by allowing the Tories to govern.

    Alternatively, (if they can somehow demonstrate to HM that they can command the confidence of the House) form an administration themselves.

    The Parliamentary arithmetic may allow DC or EM to cobble together a Unionist coalition (including the option of a Grand Coalition) if they want to send a message to Scotland that, unless you elect Brit MPs you will be ignored/punished.

    There are lots of options, if the MP distribution turns out as polling currently suggests.

    That none of these options may be palatable to Lab or its supporters would just be the unfortunate consequence of not being popular enough in England.

  13. ALEC
    @”This may or may not be what nationalists on here and elsewhere actually want”

    “Not” according to the dastardly secret SNP plan outlined by AN this morning on DP. :-)

  14. @ Alec

    Why I broadly agree with your argument, it is really up to the electorate to structure their preferences.

    There are extremely hard possibilities for all parties.

    SNP bringing down a Conservative government in a non-confidence motion (with no alternative government) would not only trigger new elections, but it would be a constitutional crisis.

    Labour relying on purely nationalist MPs (and let’s say one Green, but no LD) would also be a constitutional crisis and it would certainly be interpreted as a government without legitimacy in large segments of the electorate.

    Conservatives dealing with SNP would mean agreements without trust, so no agreement, and if Labour cannot create a government going to the country with a rather dubious record and without constitutional reform.

    Etc, etc.

    I’m quite sure that without admitting it, both Labour and the Conservatives hope that someone had an overall (or unionist) majority, and then sorting out the constitutional implications of the distribution of votes in the Northern neighbour.

  15. @Alec – “Where you have your head in the box/fingers in ears is the more likely scenario (if current projections are accurate) of where Labour + SNP doesn’t give a majority.”

    I and others have been saying such things for a while now, but still the nationalists make the false claim that switching seats between Lab and SNP cannot make a difference. Either the nationalists are incapable of understanding basic arithmetic, or they are brazenly lying – it really is one or the other (or a mixture of both for different people) by this point. I know which seems more likely to me, but you will have to decide for yourself which you think is the case.

  16. @Chris Green – I think you need to be careful using the ‘L’ word, but essentially I agree with most of your sentiments. I tend to look upon it more as a blind spot, which we are all prone to at times.

    I think the most damaging thing for democratic debate in Scotland (and to a lesser extend elsewhere) is the fact that people have allowed themselves to be manipulated into the ‘Red Tory/Blue Tory’ mindset.

    While I would agree that Labour in power had their faults, it’s a complete nonsense to suggest that both Labour and Tories are the same. It has damaged people’s abilities to make rational judgements, and introduces a completely false mindset into political debate.

    @Lazslo – regarding constitutional crises, that’s another reason why I quite like the lack of a written constitution. Without a constitution, we can’t actually have a constitutional crisis.

  17. Alec

    But you are over complicating the issue.

    If the Tories or Labour can command the confidence of the House without considering SNP MP votes, they will doubtless do so. In which case it doesn’t matter a damn what Scots voters do.

    If the Tories form a minority administration, then the SNP (including the MPs representing former LD seats) will vote against it on a confidence motion.

    If Labour forms a minority administration, then the SNP (including the MPs representing former LD seats) will normally vote for them on a confidence motion – whether Labour wants that or not.

    The greater risk to having a Labour Govt in a hung Parliament is for Scotland to go back to electing the current numbers of Lab and LD MPs.

    If Labour chooses not to even talk to the SNP, then that will carry its own message back to Scotland. Were they to assume that such a message would be received in a way beneficial to LiS, then that WOULD be a risky venture.

    Any Westminster Govt could minimise the problem of these damn Scots by introducing PR for the 2020 election – but that would just increase the numbers of rebellious English MPs.

  18. @Alec – I know this board has a lot of Scottish nationalists on it, but referring to “Labour” as “the ‘L’ word” is going too far!

  19. @Crossbatt
    ‘If Clegg is still an MP and leader of the Lib Dems, then I suspect he’ll have them in the bag too. How could Clegg do anything else but offer his support when he defined his own set of constitutional rules in 2010 that obliges him to negotiate with the party with the largest and most credible mandate?’

    I think that you and others are attaching far too much weight to Clegg’s views. Regardless of whether he survives I would expect a good few LibDem MPs to refuse to follow any lead he might attempt to give – ie Kennedy , Pugh, Sanders, George and some others. His authority has surely pretty well already gone!!

  20. @Oldnat – “But you are over complicating the issue.”

    No I’m not. It isn’t that hard to understand. There are some very obvious circumstances – quite likely scenarios if current polling is to be believed – where two potential majority groups could be formed.

    It’s reasonably likely at this stage that a third party will be needed for either block, and the current likelihood is that LD’s would not go with a Lab/SNP block if Lab were the smaller of the big two.

    Your ruminations about whether or not Lab would talk to the SNP and what this would do to LiS are a complete and total red herring. In this quite likely scenario, what Lab and SNP decide between themselves is irrelevant. You seem to entirely miss the point that this has nothing to do with that – it’s all about the Lib Dems.

    Take that gamble if you think that’s what is best for Scotland. It may well be, but don’t pretend it isn’t a possible scenario.

    Just like oil prices.

  21. “It’s reasonably likely at this stage that a third party will be needed for either block, and the current likelihood is that LD’s would not go with a Lab/SNP block if Lab were the smaller of the big two.”

    I would have thought that DUP and Lib Dem both are pretty clear that they will go with whatever emerges as the main party.

  22. Crossbat11

    If Cameron leads the largest party after May 7th, you just watch how difficult it will be to prise him out of office. Quasi-impossible, I’d say

    On the contrary incredibly easy. Just table a motion of no confidence. In practice that probably won’t really be necessary because I suspect in a hung (or even small majority) parliament the first thing any newly formed government will do is to table a motion of confidence to prove that it is stable.

  23. I cannot foresee any circumstances where the SNP would support the conservatives, formally or imformally, it would be electoral suicide.
    I can see the SNP supporting Labour, probably on an informal basis, vote by vote.
    I also think the Liberal Party, or what is left of it, will be wary of any coalition with the conservatives in the future.
    The only chance the conservatives have of forming the next Government is to get enough seats, with the assistance of the DUP and perhaps one or two UKIP M.P.’s to form a majority.
    At the moment that is unlikely

  24. @Oldnat

    “If Labour chooses not to even talk to the SNP, then that will carry its own message back to Scotland. ”

    Yes, but it will also carry a message back to England and Wales *which may be more important to Labour as a national party*

  25. Alec

    “There are some very obvious circumstances – quite likely scenarios if current polling is to be believed – where two potential majority groups could be formed. ”

    Quite correct – and one of these would have the support of another XX SNP votes in the event of a confidence vote, while the other one would not.

  26. So many assumptions as ever that voters appreciate being patronised by parties they no longer have confidence in against voting for their new first choice of party .

    There are many reasons why voters are voting SNP but the biggest one is Labour’s shift to the right and austerity which the SNP is pushing hard .

    Labour in Scotland isn’t hitting back with anything that distinguishes them greatly from the Conservatives and they’ll have to come up with something soon – allowing for the Easter wind down and school holidays , there’s only 6 weeks to go for effective campaigning .

  27. Chris Riley

    Quite rightly, as the largest entity in the UK, England is most important to all Westminster based parties.

    Actually, we’ve known that for a very long time! :-)

  28. Alec

    You – and others – are assuming that the LDs will vote as a single united block as happened post May 2010. I beg to differ.

  29. @OldNat – Consider the following plausible result (rounded to nearest 5 to make it easier to follow):

    Con 285
    UKIP 5
    Unionists 10

    LD 30
    SF 5

    SDLP+PC+Green+Respect 10
    Lab+SNP 305

    Neither the broad-left nor the broad-right bloc have enough seats between them for a majority, and the Lib Dems remain kingmakers. Clegg is personally committed to the Clegg Rule, and it is a perfectly reasonable heuristic for a centrist party to use and thus will probably be used by the Lib Dems again if they are kingmakers, which in this example they are.

    So, if the Lab portion of that 305 is less than 285, the LDs will join with the rightist bloc. If the Lab portion of that 305 is greater than 285, the LDs will join with the leftist bloc.

    This is a clear and plausible situation in which it is important for those who prefer leftie policies that those seats go to Labour rather than to the SNP.

  30. Chris Green: you make a good point. The DUP and Lib Dems have both indicated they would most likely facilitate whatever emerges as the largest party. (The DUP in a C&S arrangement).

  31. I think any assumptions on either side about what the Lib Dems might do is dangerous.

    An interesting little gem from Tim Farron in his interview with the New Statesman last week:

    “We will not have a choice. We will be presented with an arithmetic by the electorate and all parties must be grown up enough to accept it and not say, ‘well, thank you for your opinions, we didn’t like it, tough’. Whatever the electorate give us through this fruit machine of an electoral system that we have, we have to be big enough, grown-up enough to make sure it works.”

    “The fundamental promise we must make to the electorate is that we will respect the outcome of the electorate and we will ensure, do everything in our power to ensure, stable government straight after the election, whether we are part of it or not.”

    Now you can interpret that as “Lib Dems to back largest party” in which case voting SNP potentially makes them more likely to go with Cons. Or you can interpret that as “Lib Dems to back most stable government prospect” in which case they might have to back Labour (+SNP).

  32. @roger Mexico – “On the contrary incredibly easy. Just table a motion of no confidence.”

    I think you’re missing a few factors here.

    Firstly, a confidence motion unleashes a tidal wave of negotiations with smaller/regional parties. Governments have the ability to deliver certain things, which smaller parties can use to their advantage at such time.

    Secondly, money. Which of the political parties in the UK is well funded and could withstand the cost of another GE? Parties may not actually want to face the electorate for a while, and so may not choose to enforce a confidence measure.

    In a scenario with two potential majority blocks comprised of multi party members, I would imagine Cameron would hang on as described, and would simply dare Lab to table a confidence motion. Lab would have to be sure of winning this, which is doubtful, if the LD and DUP don’t back it. However, if Lab were the biggest party, then I suspect they could win such a vote, but in that circumstance Cameron probably wouldn’t stay on as PM.

    @graham – I think you may be correct in this, although to be fair, they have demonstrated a remarkable discipline in very tough circumstances over the last 5 years. I suspect if the party is given the chance to vote on any deal (which they would have, as one of our most democratic major parties) then I suspect their MPs would back it.

    @Oldnat – “Quite correct – and one of these would have the support of another XX SNP votes in the event of a confidence vote, while the other one would not.”

    Did you just see that shoal of red herrings swim by?

    It’s not about the SNP. It’s about the LD’s (and the DUP, as @Profhoward points out).

    @neilj – “I cannot foresee any circumstances where the SNP would support the conservatives, formally or imformally, it would be electoral suicide.”

    Did you see that shoal of red herrings too?

    What the SNP would or wouldn’t do is irrelevant. It’s not about the SNP.

  33. And SNP voters who are voting for the party who will most look after their country – that’s why it’s called the SNP – mainly dont care about the mechanics of who will / will not be the larger party (normal people don’t!).

    The vote SNP get Tory message just reeks of cynicism for most people…

  34. @ProfHoward – Yes, the maths is very simple. What’s difficult is getting the SNP’s supporters to admit that they’re taking a risk on allowing another Conservative-led government, but that it’s a risk they’re willing to take.

    It’s not unreasonable for them to be willing to risk another Conservative-led government in Westminster, for several reasons. Firstly, like all nationalists they have a strong conservative streak which is only temporarily being suppressed by Scotland’s relative poverty, which incentivises populist posturing. Secondly, they may believe that another Conservative-led government would so alienate the people of Scotland that by its end they would vote for independence. Thirdly, they may worry about suffering the same fate as the Lib Dems have if they support a Labour-led government.

    What is unreasonable is their current position of pretending that there are no circumstances in which voting for the SNP would make a Labour government less likely.

  35. Chris Green
    I would not expect some left of centre LibDems to play ball with propping up the Tories for a second term – and so begin a process of informal longterm absorption as happened to Sir John Simon’s National Liberals in the 1930s. If the LibDems retain circa 30 seats I could well imagine 10 of them acting independently of Clegg.

  36. Gus O’Donnell, quoted in the paper that cannot be linked to:

    “constitutionally wrong to say that the leader of the largest party in the Commons should have the first chance to form a government… the prime minister should be appointed on the basis that they can command the confidence of the House of Commons.

  37. Ok, back again :) As promised, I took Statgeek’s MAD xbreaks and plugged the values in the computer model for *England* only (Wales is a little tricky, and we already know what’s going to happen in Scotland : ). So, for England, the seat counts are (drum roll)

    Con 270 (-27)
    Lab 252 (+61)
    LD 8 (-35)
    GP 0 (-1)
    UKIP 2 (+2)
    Speaker 1 (N/C)

    The problem (barring the usual poll variations etc) for Labour is that they seem to be piling up votes where they are already in pole position, while not really being competitive enough in the South East. Labour really need UKIP waverers to stay with UKIP to have any chance in some seats.

    In the Midlands, Labour are winning some seats, but the swing from the last election is only about 4%. In a lot of these seats, Labour and the Lib Dems were close in 2010 – even with the Lib Dems collapse and the rise of UKIP, there’s often just not enough votes to enable Labour to climb from 3rd to 1st.

    On the other hand, 61 gains is a lot, and there are definitely a few close races, where squeezing of the remaining Lib Dems and Green vote would allow Labour to win (e.g. Stafford or Dudley South).

    On the more general consideration over who would be the largest party – it now looks like Scotland and Wales will be rather significant. If the Welsh result from 2010 was repeated, and added to these England-only figures, the Conservatives and Labour would be tied on 278 each!!!!

  38. Perhaps Lis need to be a little more sophisicated.

    They can say that of course it is possible that Con most seats but Lab+SNP bigger than Con+LDs could produce a centre-left Westminster Government but it is also possible that the LDs will go with the Cons, in fact likely.

    However, the best way to maximise the possibility oif a Centre-Left Government is to ensure Lab has more MPs than the Cons.

    The SNP should imo also acknowldege that the LDs could make that choice (who knows it may pressurise them in saying they wouldn’t) but that the best way to get a better deal for Scotland is for more SNP MPS.

    Denying the risk lacks credibility although this may not matter for this GE.

  39. @Jack – Agreed, the “Vote SNP, get Tory” argument appears cynical to the man on the Gorbals omnibus, but that does not make it any less likely to be true.

  40. Alec
    I don’t believe that all LibDem MPs would back such a deal. There would be much more open dissent than was the case in 2010 – which in turn would be likely to influence the membership.Indeed different groups of LibDem MPs might well end up urging membership support for alternative options.

  41. @Graham – Certainly, many things can be imagined. We are in a situation of unprecedented flux and anyone who says they can predict exactly what will happen in the next six months is a fool!

    But that doesn’t affect the point that there are plausible scenarios in which it does make a difference whether Lab or SNP win those Scottish seats. The problem is the SNP supporters’ refusal to acknowledge that the possibility even exists.

  42. northumbrianscot

    I have to agree.

    Although I personally can’t see the Lib Dems going into formal coalition with anyone as a post-Clegg rump that they are about to be left with.

    Separately I think they will be very reluctant to get into bed with the Conservatives again given that they have somehow managed to be given none of the credit and all of the blame for being in government. I doubt they’ll want to repeat the experience and be left with no mp’s at all.

  43. All of the scenario’s mentioned have just highlighted how difficult it is for the right to maintain a stable majority if the Tories get under 300 seats, which currently seems likely.

    Maybe Labour can use that to their advantage in the campaign by positioning themselves as the only party capable of forming a stable government by leading a coalition of progressive parties.

  44. @Chris Green

    I agree with what you are saying here.

    The problem with the idea that it doesn’t matter what proportion of (Lab+SNP) is Labour and how much is SNP is that should (Lab+SNP) not be able to command enough support without extra help, then Labour’s number of MPs relative to Conservative numbers may well determine which main party the LDs or DUP join up with, assuming they follow the Clegg mantra that is.

    So people in Scotland voting SNP not caring who forms the next UK government won’t be affected. But people voting SNP believing it doesn’t harm Labour because the seats stay within the (Lab+SNP) pot may end up significantly disappointed and a (Con+LD+DUP) administration. Scottish Labour will want to make maximum capital out of that scenario should it happen, saying (with some truth) ”we would have had a Labour government were it not for the SNP”.

    That said, my gut feeling is that the LDs will opt for C&S for Labour, even if Cons are ahead of Labour in seats, or opt to avoid any kind of agreement at all, in which case we are back to a (Lab+SNP) C&S situation.

  45. @Spearmint – 11.52

    I disagree with your contention that the SNP have ‘a vested political interest’ in Cameron remaining PM. What the SNP actually need above all else is some sort of proof that Labour are a spent flush – at least as far as Scotland is concerned. That could be proved through continuing Tory rule at Westminster, but it could equally be proved by Labour having to rely on the SNP to regain and maintain power. There’s more than one way to skin a cat – apparently!

  46. @Spearmint 12.04

    There I can agree with you!

  47. Updated assessment of projection models biases and accuracy

    This week’s batch of Ashcroft constituency polls provides another opportunity to examine how some of the projection models are performing.

    Last week I posted a series of comments making the case that – relative to the Ashcroft polls – some of the models were showing a demonstrable bias in favour of Labour. Models that do not make use of Constituency Polling data (non-CP models) project higher number of Labour sets overall and, more specifically, in the seats so far polled by Ashcroft. Moreover I reported that in the December Ashcroft batch both the ElectionForecast (EF) model and Electoral Calculus (EC) projected reliably larger Labour over Conservative margins than had emerged in the polls themselves. Below, I re-examine these biases in relation to the twelve constituencies polled last week.

    Over a longer period, I have been using Euclidean Distance metrics to compare the accuracy of May2015, the EF and the EC model. In the past, May2015 has turned out to be consistently less accurate than the other two models in predicting new Ashcroft VI profiles. EF and EC have sometimes been comparable. But with the January batch (Scottish constituencies) EF was much more accurate than EC. My general conclusion has been that EF is overall the best at predicting new results. It turns out, however, that this conclusion is challenged by the latest set of polls.

    First, bias. Comparisons show as before that over the twelve seats the EF model projected Labour>Con margins that were larger than the CVI differences in the polls themselves (5.5% for EF vs 1.75% for Ashcroft). As with the earlier batch this 3.75% difference is reliable (t(11)=3.1, p <0.05). In the December batch, EF overstated Labour margins by 4.2%, so it looks as if the EF calculations may feature a steady Labour-favouring bias of about 4 VI units.

    In contrast with EF, the EC model showed a slight Tory bias with the new batch of constituency polls. The mean figure was 1.5% more Tory-favouring than Ashcroft CVI. In the December batch this model showed a reliable (5.4%) Labour-favouring bias. Further batches will need to be tested before we can be certain whether EC is biased in favour of one or other of the major parties.

    Next, I looked at how close the different models came to predicting the winner’s margin and VI profiles in the Ashcroft polls. May2015 only gives projections of the winner’s margin over the runner-up. On this measure it turned out to be more accurate than both EF and EC. For SVI the mean discrepancy between predicted and observed margins was 7.4% for May2015, 8.1% for EF and 8.3% for EC. For CVI the corresponding figures were 5.9% for May2015, 9.3% for EF and 8.5% for EC.

    The EF model’s performance was marred by being badly off-target in two seats in particular. For Ross, Skye & Lochaber EF predicted that the SNP VI would be 49% and that for the LDs (as runner-up) 25%. In fact, the Ashcroft CVI margin of 6% was much smaller than this: 40% and 34% respectively for SNP and LD). Comparable discrepancies emerged in the projections for the Edinburgh South West constituency. Here, EF had Labour beating SNP by 34% to 25%. But the Ashcroft CVI figures were almost completely reversed (27% for Labour and 40% for SNP).

    Turning to the full VI profiles, Euclidean Distance measures showed that EF and EC were about as accurate (or inaccurate) as each other. For the EF model the mean Euclidean Distance between projection and observed results were 8.3 for SVI and 9.4 for CVI. The corresponding EC figures were 7.9 and 9.7.

    In sum, EF’s normal level of accuracy appears to have been compromised by difficulties in keeping in touch with turbulent Scottish changes particularly in a couple of seats. (Its accuracy was much better in the E&W seats). As usual, within a day or two after the polls were published the model has already been updated to reflect the new figures, and with a declining proportion of unpolled Scottish seats this reduces the scope for major inaccuracies in future projections. There continues to be evidence that the model shows a small (c.4%) Labour-favouring bias (relative to Ashcroft constituency polls). If this bias is real, then the model may be understating the Tory lead in its seat projections, and it is worth taking this into account when using its General Election projections.

  48. Peter Robinson (DUP Leader) today told a business breakfast in east Belfast: “Unlike other parties we are not ideologically tied to any one of the major parties at Westminster but can do business with either the Conservatives or Labour.”

  49. I notice that today the EF team have posted their own analysis of how their model fares when benchmarked against the Ashcroft constituency polls.

    They acknowledge that they haven’t done quite so well this time as in the past. All of their comparisons are with different versions of the UNS model – which is not really ‘owned’ by anyone. I suppose it might be awkward for them to compare the performance of their model with those developed by other teams.

    Nor have I noticed them taking up the issue that there might be systematic biases in the model’s projections. Perhaps an examination of this will appear in one of their future reports.

  50. @Chris Green 1.42

    If Lab+SNP doesn’t give a majority, then neither would LiS keeping all their present seats give a majority to Labour. Basic mathematics. In short, you have to accept the truth that Labour losing seats to the SNP in no way enhances the Tories’ position: it only weakens Labour’s position, which is not at all the same thing. Try thinking in ways which are not dictated by London media centric assumptions.

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