We don’t have any more information on how the British Polling Council’s review of the election polls will progress beyond it being chaired by Pat Sturgis, but several pollsters have given some thoughts today beyond the initial “We got it wrong and we’ll look at it” statements most pollsters put out on Friday. Obviously no one comes to any conclusions yet – there’s a lot of data to go through and we need thoughtful analysis and solutions rather than jumping at the first possibility that raises its head – but they are all interesting reads:

Peter Kellner of YouGov has written an overview here (a longer version of his article in the Sunday Times at the weekend), covering some of the potential causes of error like poor sampling, late swing and “shy Tories”.

Martin Boon of ICM has written a detailed deconstruction of ICM’s final poll which would be have been an interesting piece anyway in terms of giving a great overview of how the different parts of ICM’s methodology come together to turn the raw figures into the final headline VI. Martin concludes that all of ICM’s techniques seemed to make the poll more accurate, but the sample itself seemed to be at fault (and he raises the pessimistic possibility that sampling techniques may no longer be up to delivering decent samples)

Andrew Cooper of Populus has written an article in the Guardian here – despite the headline most of the article isn’t about what Cameron should do, but about how the polls did.

Finally ComRes have an overview on their site, discussing possibilities like differential response and the need to identify likely voters more accurately.


674 Responses to “The polling post-mortem – some pollsters’ thoughts”

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  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32725167

    Kent Police are making inquiries into a report of electoral fraud in the Thanet South seat, contested in the general election by Nigel Farage.

    breaking ish news 30 minutes ago

  2. @Hawthorn

    UK politics is kind of like that.

    Thatcher / Major Tories weren’t kicked out until post-ERM exit

    Blair / Brown Labour weren’t kicked out until post-“great recession”.

    Labour have held power in Wales since it was devolved.

    The only exception is Scotland. SNP may never have gained power but for a relative handful of votes in 2007.

    Governments changed more frequently before, but I suppose you could argue that crisis situations arose more often (Profumo, devaluation, three day week, winter of discontent) in the 1960s / 1970s.

  3. Afternoon everyone. This has been a very in-depth thread, particularly when discussing the possible changes to the HRA. I doubt if too many MPs have spent anywhere near as much time or effort thinking about some of the possible pitfalls associated with the legislation. It will be interesting to see what kind of British Bill of Rights emerges and how it coincides with some of the anti-extremism measures that have emerged over the last couple of days.

    Anyway, back to polling (Oh NO!!!!). I suggested over the last couple of days that perhaps one way of improving the accuracy of the national polls was to weight the raw statistics to the demographics of actual voting patterns, not just to those who say that they would definitely vote. To test this theory out, I looked back at the data from YouGov’s final call. I’ll not bore you with the precise details, but the upshot was that a very high percentage of those polled indicated that they would defiinitely vote (76%). What I tried to do was to map the indicated voting intention onto a demographic with a VI of 66% (that of the actual election). Now, this can’t be done exactly without recourse to the raw data – however, I was able to approximately downweight younger voters (less likely to vote) and C2DE voters (also less likely to vote). In age terms, the weighted demographics that YouGov used are: 18-24 (12%), 25-39 (25%), 40-59 (34%), 60+(29%). For the SEG it’s ABC1(56%), C2DE (44%). I came up with a quadratic weighting function to reduce the actual voter turnout to 66% and came up with the following demographic weights of the electorate (NB this is just a model, those who did the exit poll may actually have the right numbers!).

    By Age: 18-24 (7%) 25-39 (15%) 40-59 (36%), 60+ (41%)
    By SEG: ABC1 (60%) C2DE (40%)

    If I then use the crosstabs to estimate voting intention on this data, I end up with

    Con 35.3%, Lab 32.5%, LibDem 9.3%, UKIP 12.3%, GP 3.7%, SNP 5.2%

    This is a bit closer to the final result, but it’s still not right. Therefore, as well as the demographics being very wrong, the YouGov sample was still a bit too Laboury (horrible adjective!). Another issue is that around 12% of the Labour VI in that final poll came from people who didn’t vote in for Con, Lab or Lib Dem in 2010 (probably didn’t vote at all – but you can’t tell from the crosstabs).

    I haven’t gone back to the equivalent poll in 2010, but my guess is that the overestimation of the LibDems in 2010,may be partially due to the same phenomenon, namely an overenthuastic sample group which is not really representative of the actual electorate.

    Where the party pollsters *may* have had an advantage is that they could make use of local knowledge from door-to-door canvassing and maybe have had a better idea of likely turnout in some seats. In terms of the use of issue polling to lead up to asking VI, I’m still a bit unconvinced. There was a (I think ComRes?) poll during the campaign which asked people which party was responsible for certain policy announcements, the results of which indicated that Labour were getting credit for the Conservative policies on the NHS!

  4. @Thoughtful

    Whether the Thanet electoral fraud investigation turns up something or nothing, we are going to hear a lot of conspiracy theories about this.

    However, if it turns out that there is enough substance to need a rerun, I would expect Farage to win in a by-election environment.

  5. I think it’s a mistake to think that the voting public had any specific tangible and relatable fears about the SNP, even if you reduce them to broad stroke labels such as ‘Nationalist’. Remember, the Conservative campaign didn’t even focus those fears on the actual leader of the SNP, but the former leader. This was very much a FUD campaign.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

    The fears and doubts in FUD are deliberately intangible or even obviously untrue, because the main play is the uncertainly. “Sure, those specific things they said might have been shown to be false, but still…” It’s a very specific method of getting someone to not do something (ie, stick with their current telephone service) rather than do something. But having enough Labour voters stay home in key marginals is how the Conservatives won.

  6. I think the answer is here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32606713

    I do get the need, mid-term, to separate the VI question from other questions about good leader, best PM, state of the economy. But come a campaign, people will vote on 1/ how well the economy is doing, 2/ who would make best PM, 3/ how well the campaign has gone, and then finally 4/ would they support Ed M’s Labour or David Cs Conservatives.

    Time and time and time again, simply adding these names in resulted in a four point swing to the Cons, but for some reason they were frequently not used to in the campaign. But surely this is one time when it is absolutely essential to get the “ballot box” experience linked essentially to the headline VI figure.

  7. @robin hood

    “a couple of you here on the front page were actually quite abusive about it (e.g. Crossbat111 and James Peel).”

    I have fond memories of @james peel saying my suggestion of Tories on 37% was impossible (they got 37.8%) during a swingback discussion

    Then again I declared at least once that a Tory majority is NOT going to happen, so I’m unable to complain about any of this, it makes me a hypocrite.

    If you go back and read the comments with hindsight, most of us come off as a bunch of pretentious idiots

  8. @ Jayblanc

    I agree, to see the Lab/SNP fear tactic as a single play is a mistake. It was one strand in an interacting set of fear stories and the cumulative effect is what worked rather than any single element

    Some of the main themes were:

    * Fear of Labour’s economic competency
    * Fears from memories of the banking crash (the infamous no money letter)
    * Fear of EM perceived weakness as a leader
    * Fear of immigration and Labour’s willingness to tackle it
    * Fear of Sturgeon / Salmond as strong leaders who could manipulate a weak EM
    * Fear of break-up of the union
    * Fear of constitutional crisis from a messily hung parliament.
    * Fear of impotent minority government.

    You could probably add some more.

  9. JAMES

    The post-crash travails of Labour are somewhat reminiscent of the Tory attempts to combat the negative views around Black Wednesday.

    Labour did quite well in allowing a recovery after the crash. Likewise, the Tories.

    Tories tried to paint Black Wednesday as “White Wednesday” due to it allowing the pound to devalue and aid recovery. I think most economists would agree that devaluation was a good thing. Likewise, the consensus amongst economists is the need to reflate after a recession (or at least NOT do austerity).

    Finally, both the Tories and Labour (at least their leaderships) were in favour of ERM. Likewise, both Tories and Labour were in favour of banking deregulation.

    However, despite all this the government of the day of the FUBAR got the blame, no matter what the truth of the matter was, and there was nothing they could do until the next FUBAR.

    Of course a FUBAR does not guarantee a government defeat, Black Monday and the late 1980s/early 1990s bust did not do for the Tories due to weaknesses in the opposition and the Tories having had the sense to get rid of Mrs T.

  10. @IUVENIS

    Not wishing to go back through all the arguments over the HRA repeal again, but your core statement:

    “The simple way to introduce a British Bill of Rights would be to:
    1. Repeal the HRA and return to the pre 1998 position
    2. Substitute a new Bill of Rights restating the Convention obligations but without requiring English Courts to consider the ECHR jurisprudence.”

    Seems flawed, as you appear to be suggesting (a) that pre-1998 British Citizens had no right to petition the Court in Strasbourg directly (b) that British / English Courts were under no obligation to heed Strasbourg rulings before the introduction of the HRA and (c) that a return to this imaginary pre 1998 position is possible whilst remaining full signatories to the ECHR.

    I’d recommend further reading including the advice of previous Conservative senior legal officers to the government or the work carried out for the Equalities and Human Rights Commission by expert academics which neatly summarises the history:

    “The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is an international treaty drawn up within the Council of Europe, which was established in Strasbourg in 1949 in the course of the first post-war attempt to unify Europe. The United Kingdom was among
    the first states to ratify the ECHR and played a pivotal role in its creation. The UK accepted the right of individuals to take a case to Strasbourg and the jurisdiction of the ECtHR in 1966. In 1998, the right of individual petition and the jurisdiction of the
    Court were made compulsory for all states which are members of the ECHR.”

    It’s the last sentence which is the clincher, the treaty requirement to allow individual petition was introduced in 1998 as former Eastern Bloc countries were joining the Council of Europe and EU, this will not be up for negotiation so long as certain errant EU members are playing fast and loose with civil liberties.

    Anyway, all of these matters are arguable, and would no doubt be debated along the lines you set out.

    To an extent that is a side issue to the meat and drink of this site, repeal of the HRA, renegotiation of our relationship with the Council of Europe is an unnecessary legal imbroglio, which is unlikely to achieve much of substance and could quite possibly waste parliamentary time and end up making the government look foolish and divided.

    As @Colin says, most people take a ‘common sense’ approach to ‘Equalitees and Human Rights’, it doesn’t seem terribly common sense to be wasting all this time on getting nowhere when most people perceive their day to day quality of life issues as being more important.

    On your other substantive point regarding being found in breach being a good thing… you said “Nor need it damage public opinion of the UK government if it’s found in breach, since the public may agree with it – and frequently do!”

    I wouldn’t be so sure. Yes we are fed an ongoing diet of those less – to be diplomatic – comprehensible judgements of the ECtHR and Supreme Court under the treaty, but as I quoted from the YouGov research last night, there is overwhelming support for the principles of the Articles of the Treaty… and people might just find, when they come to be publicised, that they rather like some of the judgements protecting them from the overweening power of the state that the ECtHR has reached in the past. In particular I think many Conservative voters would be surprised at how much they find that they agree with the anti-statist line the Court takes in many areas.

    On the politics, simply put if we are moving to an electorate – as I think we are and others here have also set out – made increasingly up of ‘retail voters’, who pick and choose the party with the best offer – who the heck is getting in the queue for the stall selling long and complex and possible pointless legal wrangles when they could be buying ‘better schools’, ‘stronger economy’?

  11. EXILEINYORKS

    It would be a remarkable turnaround to go from being an ex-leader to an MP!

    I think it would depend on how serious the breach (if any) was.

  12. Given how popular things like nationalisation, price controls, rent controls etc. appear to be, it’s not necessarily the case that peeps are that afraid of a tilt to the left.

    Fear of Socialism is a bit extreme anyway, as we didn’t even have it in the Seventies.

  13. @ Exile In Yorks: but Nigel has committed to waiting until a Labour seat comes along before he stands in a by-election ;)

    Of course he’d win a Thanet South by-election if it came to it – the Tories would be seen to have been cheating.

  14. And The nature of the assumed fraud. Very little information is available.

  15. JayBlanc

    It’s childish but talk of a ‘FUD campaign’ makes me titter, especially in a Scottish context

  16. @ LOUISWALSHVOTESGREEN

    The trouble is that some of the groups you mentioned with low propensity to vote can be rather active under certain circumstances, and it is difficult to predict.

  17. I think FUD is really a fad …

  18. @PollTroll

    The elctorate aren’t usually very kind to candidates who force a bye-election because of minor electora lmisconduct.

    Gerry Malone went to court after he lost Winchester by 2 votes in 1997. He lost the ensuing bye-election by 21,000 votes.

  19. on the bbc it says labour knew internally it wasnt going well, this bears out anecdotal evidence i heard whilst last minute canvassing in cardiff central successfully on election day, I said hows it going in cardiff north? the regular team inferred it was “badly”, and how about the vale, they inferred “no chance!”
    i think i knew then! whilst the vale was never going to be easy, cardiff north should have been a shoo in. Which begs this question. If the polling companies didnt know but private Labour and Tory polls did, did the polling companies suffer from being too distant from feel and mood in marginals?

  20. Then there is Phil Woolas as well, although his Lib Dem rivals had already stuffed themselves by going into coalition.

    If we are talking about misrepresentation, minor treating or a few postal votes then the Tories would be very strong favourites.

    If we are talking about stealing ballot boxes, ballot stuffing or large scale postal vote fraud, then UKIP would be very strong favourites.

    If it was somewhere inbetween, then who knows?

  21. NS is great in cryptic language.

    “There will only be another referendum on independence if the people of Scotland vote in an election to the Scottish Parliament to have one.”

    Considering the election results and the polls (ahem …), it depends only on SNP putting the referendum in the manifesto or not (obviously after considerations).

  22. Good afternoon all from a sort of sunny/dull/bright/sunny’ish Mount Florida.

    Scotland’s only Labour MP Ian Murray will be feeling a bit cut off from the rest of his Labour party colleagues ..The nearest Labour held seat to his Edinburgh South seat is Wansbeck which is over 111 miles away in England.

    BUT!! Spare a thought for poor ole Alistair Carmichael of the Lib/Dems. His Orkney and Shetland seat is a staggering 450 miles from the nearest Lib/Dem seat of Westmorland & Lonsdale.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    ………And they say it’s a long way to Tipperary!!

  23. @Laszlo (3.08) – You’re absolutely right, of course. While there’s differential turnout among different age groups and economic grades, there’s also a big difference between different types of seats. And there’s also the fact that you would expect a bigger turnout in marginal seats, or where there’s an effort to push out an unpopular MP. For such local effects, you really need constituency or at a minimum, regional polls. However, national polls, even under FPTP, should be able to give a reasonable description of the total vote, with the various local effects averaged out to some extent. What I did was a really crude attempt to get to a realistic overall voter turnout from a poll of over-enthuastic politics lunatics!

    @Everyone. Does anyone know if the data (raw or otherwise) from the exit poll will be made public?

    Re: Farage and electoral fraud. The declaration was extremely late (I seem to recall during the election broadcast about 4am that they hadn’t started to count?). If something untoward did happen, it must have been at an fairly extensive level – Farage lost by 2800 votes.

  24. Monk: subtle difference: UKIP did not take the result to court. The police started the investigation without anyone asking them to.

  25. @ASSIDUOSITY

    I certainly wasn’t implying there was no right of individual petition before the HRA, but the right of individual petition to the ECHR simply led to cases brought by individuals against the UK in the ECHR (eg. Osman v UK and many others).

    The English courts were under no obligation to interpret English law – whether contained in statute or in case law – to make it compliant with the Convention. That was a new provision in s2(1) HRA 1998.

    I don’t think there will be any renegotiation of the Convention, simply a return to the position where arguments in the English courts about human rights (of which there are many) would be against a backdrop of a new British Bill of Rights and not the HRA, and where anyone aggrieved with the English court’s interpretation would have to rely on the right of individual petition.

    As the substance would either be the same or similar, I agree this could be seen as a distraction. However, that depends on the narrative. It could be seen as the government standing up for British values as opposed to tortuous continental interpretations of the same values.

    I’m not saying that’s right, but there’s no doubt that ‘human rights’ has, like ‘health and safety’, become a very negatively loaded term in the UK, even though, as you rightly point out, polling shows the individual rights are popular. Attacking the link to Europe (even in a limited way) while restating the individual rights could therefore be popular.

  26. By the way I’m pretty sure this is a storm in a teacup and doubt we’ll have a by-election. As others above have mentioned, something would have had to go very wrong (ie actual cheating and not just a miscount) to affect the result.

  27. As it is quiet here, I try the patience of people here with a bit more Bayesian stat. It was the first to occur to me (I won’t search back, but it was the very first time I brought it up), but then dropped it as impractical.

    ToH’s reasoning however brought it back.

    So: initially assigning 100% probability to the VI declaration of the individual. However, it is then modified by a certain odd if they answer to a policy, leadership (I’m still not convinced by this), etc questions in a particular way.

    Now, this is a main accusation against Bayesian stats, but there you are.

    So, it treats questions about policies and VI as independent variables, but saying that the Real VI is a function of the answers (obviously you can treat the demographic variables in the same way). This because your interest is the validity of VI. Somebody asked here from Unicorn: what is your hypothesis. So here the hypothesis is that the VI of the individual is correct as published, thus the overall figure we give is valid within the confidence intervals.

    So you make the validly of the VI declaration conditional on demography and answers to the policy questions. The maths is really daunting, but there are again good programmes to do it.

    Now, it is necessary to make the model learning, thus the probabilities of the effects of the questions would have to be adjusted with the increasing number of samples.

    Once the results of the Bayesian odds settle, you will know when something fundamental changes because of the way in which the posterior odds are calculated.

    I finished this now for 5 years. Thanks for the patience.

  28. @POLLTROLL If the police started the investigation then anyone could be under ‘suspicion’, including UKIP. I’m not really sure why you assume the investigation might only concern the victor.

  29. I have just taken a few moments to tot up votes for all the wards in Thanet South from the council elections. This is complicated by the fact that for the council elections, multiple members are elected and for one ward (in Dover council) UKIP did not put up candidates.

    Excluding the ward where UKIP did not run, UKIP accumulated (by my back of a post-it calculation) 358 more votes than the Tories (35526 vs 35168 – remember this is multi-member and excluding one ward).

    Looking at individual wards also shows the following:

    http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/cgi-bin/seatdetails.pl?seat=Thanet%20South

    CLIFTONVILLE WEST (Thanet Council)

    According to electoral calculus estimates, it should be Con: 1436, Other (inc UKIP) 1485. This is in line with their prediction. In the locals, the Conservatives accumulated 1698 votes and UKIP 3029.

    NORTHWOOD (Thanet Council)

    Similar picture EC: Con 1087 Other 1076, Councils Con 1993, UKIP 3909.

    On the other hand, some wards seemed to have gone askew in other ways.

    SANDWICH (Dover Council)

    EC: Con 1770, Other 1075, Councils Con 548/8 UKIP 860, although UKIP only ran two candidates.

    Of course, the electoral calculus model could be rubbish. It could be that people voted UKIP in the locals and Conservative in the General Election. However, it does look weird and the effect seems to affect only some wards.

  30. BWM
    Its got to be the Tories fault mate! Get with the programme.

  31. If the election was to be re-run, there could be a lot of tactical unwind now that Cameron is PM if it was the case that UKIP supporters were voting Tory.

  32. I suppose it was their fault the opinion polls were wrong – or should we blame the voters for not putting a cross in the right box?

  33. Interesting article in last Sunday’s Observer by Andrew Rawnsley. He concludes
    ‘a vanishing majority, dissipating authority, a lot of cuts to come and expensive promises to keep, a fractured kingdom and an EU referendum that was split the Conservative party asunder. David Cameron should savour his “sweet” victory while he can. History tells us that it will turn sour.’

  34. Social media was alive with suggestions of fraud etc following Farage losing, it seems some could not believe he was beaten fairly. It appears someone has made an allegation and I think the police would be duty bound to investigate. The conspiracy theorists would have a field day if they refused to investigate.
    I could be wrong but I think Occam’s razor will apply here, the simplest answer will probably the correct one. That is there were a large number of votes and they were doing two constituencies at once.
    Of course it could be large scale fraud, but in the absence of evidence of this I would still go for the simple solution.
    Of course the Police investigation may provide such evidence, we will see

  35. VALERIE.
    Hello to you and to all, from a warmy sunny day in the Southburne ward of Bournemouth East where they weigh tory votes.

    Andrew Rawnsley and you are pointing to the truth that all victories turn to dust. Tis the human condition. Dust to Dust..
    Even Maggie and Tony (won three elections in a row) had to fall, and one day the Tories will fall.

    However, I think we do not know the name of the next Labour PM, and I think the Lib Dem numbers, although quite high, suggest that they will not be providing a name for The Head of State in the near future. Just my opinions here.

  36. @Valerie

    It reads to me like a disappointed man trying to put a positive gloss on things.

    Certainly, in the medium term, there is no sign of Cameron’s authority dissipating (quite the reverse) and the kingdom is probably a lot less fractured than if we had had an indecisive outcome in which nationalist parties were able to use their influence to exacerbate existing animosities.

  37. As an American, who enjoys following British politics, and transfers my Democratic party allegiance to the Labour party when doing so, I have enjoyed this web page during the lead up to the recent GE. Thus far, I have learned that the Labour party must, to win again:

    1. Be true to its roots and move left. New Labour, 3 GE victories notwithstanding, was a mistake.

    2. Even though EM moved left, he didn’t move far enough and was an ineffective leader.

    3. It must move to the right, and become more like New Labour again, except now it will be called New Labour Mark 2.

    4. No more special advisors, a charasmatic figure from outside of London is the ticket.

    Losing parties all go through this type of flailing about, especially when the extent of the loss is a surprise. Labour’s problems are especially challenging in that votes are draining away from it in numouers directions — SNP, UKIP, the Greens, or just not voting. Since the interests and concerns of those various groups are often at odds with one another, it is difficult to see what strategy will allow Labour to regain support from all those groups.

    Life is like that when a political party has had a surprise loss. The Conservatives have also seen their vote share decline over time, but as the saying goes, you don’t have to outrun the bear, just your friend. SNP and the Greens aren’t taking many votes from them, and the message adjustments needed to get back “Blue Kippers” are a lot eaiser for them to make than a similar exercise would be for Labour to get back “Red Kippers.”

    I don’t have any clever suggestions for Labour. In the long run, I think they survive, in one form or another, becasue the right of center Conservative party has to be balanced by a left of center Labour party. In 2001, it didn’t look like the Conservatives would ever win another GE and they actually elected Ian Duncan Smith as their leader, which actually seem to confirm how hopeless they were. But, they survived that and are now looking at a 10 year stretch of being in government. A sustained period of time in power, even under capable political leadership, and whatever one might think of DC, he is a good politician, always hurts a political party. Labour won’t get back to power based on Tory failure alone, boundry changes and incumbency effect will make them hard to dislodge, but over time their position will erode and opportunities will arise for Labour. Figuring out how to be ready to take advantage of those opportunities, and developing a long term plan for doing so, are the issues that must be the focus of the coming leadership contest.

  38. Hawthorn @James et al

    As Kaufmann said about the election of Foot: ‘the Labour Party has just voted to lose the next general election’. There are lots of reasons that contributed to the Labour defeat and electing E Miliband was top among them. Many people echoed GKs words in 2010 but we’re scoffed at by a left wing commentariat who agreed with EM that the voters had shifted to the left (don’t they always say that- I’m hearing that as the reason SNP won the seat total they did and why 1 million people voted Green)…

    Our politics requires a nimble-footed telegenic ideologically flexible salesman as the figurehead of a party if it is to win.

    Even with that the context can still traduce intentions- given the “crash was Labours fault” narrative stuck it’s likely only another major incident is going to shift the Tories below 300 seats. With boundary changes even less likely.

    The only potential blip on the horizon is a possibly bitterly divisive EU referendum campaign. Or the economy going south and the deficit STILL not cleared by 2019 when we were promised it would be by 2015.

    Loads of ‘IF’s !

    About the only thing I am certain of is that the Labour party will vote in a leader to the right of EM. How much to the right I don’t know- quite probably not enough for social democrats like myself. But more centrist than ED they will be.

    Whether they will work out on TV and Radio is another matter.

    In 2018 (EU referendum meltdown scenario) or 2020 (DC calmly hands over the reins) they will be up against either Osborne, Boris or someone as yet not considered a contender.

  39. @Chris Lane,
    Good afternoon Chris. Hope you had a good afternoon at school.

    Colin is always quoting ‘interesting’ articles in The Times. So I thought I’d join in.
    @BWM
    I’ve no idea if Andrew R is disappointed or not as I’m not a mind reader. You’ll have to ask him.

  40. Rob

    If it was not for the SNP, Labour would be on 272 seats.

    Labour would still have lost, but don’t try to blame Ed Miliband for the rise of the SNP.

    We would have been talking about 30 gains from the Tories next time which is a very different kettle of fish.

  41. Anyone care to speculate on who will get a vote in the EU referendum ?Residency test or nationality ?

  42. 30 to reverse positions, that is.

  43. @Hawthorn – You may be right to say that Ed Miliband should not be blamed for the rise of the SNP, but he surely has some responsibility for the loss of 40 Labour seats, regardless of the fact that they were in Scotland.

  44. VALERIE

    The good old UKPR game-competitive quoting eh?

    Old CB11 always liked Rawnsley & referred to him a lot. It figures :-)

  45. Unemployment still coming down. Pay increases still going up.

    Wonder what EB would have said if they had won ? :-)

  46. BWM
    We have not been introduced, but welcome to the board. You join a small but determined band.

  47. @Laszlo

    re Scottish referendum (the sequel)

    I think we can be pretty certain that it will be in there in some form. The question is whether it will be an unconditional promise to hold one (still don’t think this is likely) or a “we reserve the right to hold one if x, y or z (i.e. Brexit) happens’ type thing.

    Quite interesting comments by ex Italian PM (and well connected Eurocrat) Mario Monti on Newsnight last night. Basically warning the Tories that if the UK leave the EU then Scottish independence is more likely.

    That said, I still think that the likelier scenario is we end up with something like 1975, i.e. PM accepts some sort of weak renegotiation, some of the bigger hitters call for exit, but enough FUD campaigning persuades a majority against Brexit.

  48. VALERIE
    Rawnsley is hardly a Tory. The Indie is hardly a Tory paper. Therefore, like Toynbee and all the others, if one is not slagging the
    Tories off, one is forecasting their doom. To consider the losers of the last election’s doom, would be more beneficial in the long run.

  49. @ROLAND

    Thanks – I have posted in the past and hope to continue in the future.

    My main surprise, post-election, is how many people are using the pre-election polls to try and identify how/why Cameron won. It strikes me that if the polls couldn’t get the result right, then why/how are they likely to shed any light on the reasons for victory? If the sample isn’t valid for the purposes of measuring VI then why will it be better at telling us the reasons why people voted as they did (or even their preferences for PM, etc)?

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