Polling news round up

Labour leadership

Regular polling remains sparse given the ongoing inquiry and that we’re in that odd sort of political interregnum with Labour yet to elect their new leaders, but there have been a couple of polls on the Labour contest and the EU. A new ORB poll on the Labour leadership earlier in the week showed Andy Burnham was seen as the candidate most likely to help Labour’s chances at the next election (36%), followed by Liz Kendall on 25%. Full tabs are here.

I would be extremely cautious of polling about the Labour leadership election. Essentially there are two real questions about the Labour leadership – who is going to win, and who would be best at winning votes for Labour. For the first one, we need a poll of Labour party members, and we don’t have a recent one (there is some data from a YouGov poll of party members for Tim Bale & Paul Webb, but that was done straight after the election before the candidates were clear). For the second, I suspect any data is fatally flawed by the public’s low awareness of the candidates – right now, polls about the Labour leadership are little more than name recognition contests. Looking at the tables for the ORB poll it looks to me as if the main reason the prospective leaders scored so highly is that the question didn’t offer a don’t know option, if it had, I bet the don’t knows would have had a runaway victory.

Worth looking at as a corrective is this ICM poll on the Labour leadership that asked people to identify photos of Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Jeremy Corbyn. 23% were able to identify Burnham, 17% Cooper, 10% Kendall and 9% Corbyn. Essentially, if 90% of the respondents to a poll can’t even recognise a photo of Liz Kendall or Jeremy Corbyn, how good a judge are they going to be on what sort of Labour leader they’d be? “I’m a particular fan of the one I’ve never heard of and know nothing at all about” said no one, ever.

Sky poll on the EU

SkyNews have released a poll they have carried out themselves amongst a panel of BSkyB subscribers. The poll itself shows nothing particularly new (people think the EU is good for the British economy by 39% to 31%, etc, etc), but the concept itself is interesting – it’s a proper effort to get a representative sample from their subscriber database, weighted by age, gender, past vote, Experian segment (as an alternative to class), ethnicity, tenure and so on. It is, however, unavoidably only made up of Sky subscribers, which will bring with it its own biases. The question is to what extent those biases can be cancelled by their weighting and sampling. We shall see. The tables for this first poll are here.

Parliamentary debates

Last week there were two Parliamentary debates on regulating opinion polls. The first, last Thursday, was prompted by Lord Lipsey and concerned whether polling companies needed regulating to prevent them asking leading and biased questions – though it was largely made up of the specifics of one single poll on mitochondrial donation. The other was the second reading of George Foulkes private members bill regulating opinion polls, which includes a good response from Andrew Cooper of Populus. Lord Bridges for the government stated they had no plans to regulate polls. Lord Foulkes’s bill was nodded through to the committee stage, so will trundle on for a little longer.

Herding pollsters

Finally there’s a great piece by Matt Singh on pollster herding here. Matt mentions some of the possible reasons for herding, but more importantly actually does the sums on whether there was any herding… and finds there wasn’t. The spread between different pollsters in the final polls was very much in line with what you’d expect to find.


230 Responses to “Polling news round up”

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  1. Greece:

    I don’t know. I’m not an economist or a politician. I don’t know all the data, or what it means. Even if I had and was, I wouldn’t be able to predict the future.

    ^ The only honest answer you’re gonna see on this for a while.

  2. Greece:

    I’m not sure why Grexit will be such a disaster and create such turmoil in the markets. Their economy is pretty small in the scheme of things so why does it matter? Is it because it makes investors worry about the whole future of the Euro?

  3. Pete
    In a word yes. You are right that in itself the Greek economy doesn’t count for much. In the caustic words of one US financial magazine its just a sandbag thrown from Eurozone balloon. But lines are being crossed. It will be the first time a developed country has gone into arrears with the IMF for example. China and India may question why quite so much has been loaned to such a small country.

    Germany has worked hard to prevent problems moving on in domino fashion. But fears will persist.

    It is also a developed country where the moderate left has been all but extinguished and this may also have echoes elsewhere.

  4. @Barney Crockett

    Germany has worked hard to prevent problems moving on in domino fashion. But fears will persist.

    Germany has a huge vested interest in retaining the Euro.

    The Euro has effectively given Germany a more competitive currency to sell her ample wares with than she could ever achieve going solo.

    No wonder they have fought like crazy to keep the status quo.

  5. Barney
    Yes, it seems to me that there are some echoes of the 1930s, with a recession followed by the rise of more extreme left and right parties across Europe. We’re very very lucky that our ‘extremists’ are UKIP and the Greens.

    Let’s just hope that 2019 isn’t a repetition of 1939!

  6. “Let’s just hope that 2019 isn’t a repetition of 1939!”

    ————

    No wonder Cammers wants out…

  7. “It is also a developed country where the moderate left has been all but extinguished and this may also have echoes elsewhere.”

    ———–

    The austerity meme, coupled with the immigration meme, is very handy for extinguishing the moderate left…

  8. Pete B

    There has been turmoil, the London stock market went down a little over 1% yesterday, hardly a panic. Greece is a known unknown and as such is not too bad. The Euro is not going to unravel in the next few years. It is ‘just’ a Greek tragedy. Others will lose money but nothing they can’t afford. There will be no domino effect in the next few years.

  9. Ah, that should read there has been NO turmoil!!

  10. CATMANJEFF

    Your comments re Germany and the Euro are absolutely correct. Not at all surprising that the Germans want to retain the Euro, but not at any cost I think.

    Jamie
    That’s a very bold statement. I think that both the Euro and the EU will eventually unravel. They will attempt to hold the Euro together with more EU integration which hopefully we will not be part off. Either Germany will end up paying in more and more and the German voters will get fed up or Germany will impose more and more austerity on the weaker parts of Europe and they will revolt. Either way it’s bound to eventually fail. At my age I may not see it happen but my children certainly will.

  11. TOH

    I agree with all of that. I actually think it is possible to create a sustainable currency union, but I can’t see anyone who wants to pay the price. They might surprise me yet. I think the Southern Europeans will, over time, have enough of austerity and leave….the unsustainable can last a very long time, much longer than we imagine, before collapsing much more quickly, in my experience.

  12. It’s back to what econom ists – at least the sensible ones – have been saying for some time.

    Monetary union doesn’t work without fiscal union. Although you can have fiscal union without political union it’s a bit problematic (no taxation without representation).

    So it does look like the Euro will unravel except maybe for some core countries – Germany, Holland, Austria and maybe a few others. It’s a bit difficult though to see a process for that to happen without a fair degree of chaos in the mean time

  13. Inspired by CB11’s crie de coeur yesterday-a One Act Play :-

    AYE UP EXPEDIENCE

    A Front Parlour , in The North

    Two hard working people sit by the fireside.

    Doris: Tha’s a bit wisht our Albert.

    Albert: Aye

    Doris: Wha’s tha mithered about then?

    Albert: T’Elecshun Doris. Who shall wi vote fer?

    Doris : Well Labour Albert-same as allus.

    Albert: Fer yon Miliband then?

    Doris: Im wi’ yon gravestone Albert ?

    Albert: Aye Doris-‘eed be Prime Minister like.

    Doris :Oh aye-likely!

    Albert: A can’t do it Doris . A mun vote Conservative this time.

    Doris: Them wi’ bowler ‘ats an t’ arid orthodoxies Albert?

    Albert: Aye-a reckun Doris.

    Doris: But what will they say down at t’Institute Albert-an down at t’Co-Op ?

    Albert: They’ll not know Doris -we’ll say nowt .

    Doris: Oooh Albert – but what abaht yon Anthuny Wells?

    Albert: We’ll tell him we’re voting Labour same as allus Doris.
    Close yon curtins , put wood in t’oil an lock it .

    Doris: Tha naws best our Albert.

  14. Good luck to the Greek voters with this :-)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-33311422

  15. Greece matters because its private sector owes large amounts in euros and because of possible contagion especially in Spain.

  16. Good morning all from a warm and again grey Giffnock.

    WOLF..

    “Greece matters because its private sector owes large amounts in euros and because of possible contagion especially in Spain”
    ______

    It’s the same back in the UK, private sector screws things up (banking, housing etc) yet it’s the public sector and those in low wages/benefits who have to face the consequences.

  17. @ Jamie

    I agree with all of that. I actually think it is possible to create a sustainable currency union, but I can’t see anyone who wants to pay the price. They might surprise me yet. I think the Southern Europeans will, over time, have enough of austerity and leave…

    Which is precisely why the Euro will not collapse.

    Either those southern Europeans leave; which despite short-term turmoil will produce a very attractive currency. Likely to persuade Denmark, Sweden and even – ultimately – Norway and Iceland to join in with Germany et al.

    Or those southern Europeans will remain; which suggests the currency has ridden out the storm. Which will also see short term turmoil and then, gradually, a strengthening of the currency.

    People who say the Euro will collapse obviously have very little idea of how strong a ‘Deutsche mark’ the Euro really is. Nor, clearly, do they realise the extent to which the rest of northern Europe (with the exception of France which is a separate case) are very very happy to sail under a fundamentally German banner.

    It will be the pound – not the euro – which goes under the hammer within 20 years.

  18. WOLF

    @”Greece matters because its private sector owes large amounts in euros and because of possible contagion especially in Spain.”

    Greek private sector debt to the West is a fraction of its Sovereign Debt-30 bn euros vs 331 bn euros.

    Malta is exposed to Greek State Debt to the extent of 5% of its GDP-countries such as Slovakia &Sspain, 4% of GDP

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/datablog/2015/jun/19/the-greek-debt-what-creditors-may-stand-to-lose

  19. David in France

    Those are the reasons it will last a long time…..On this, we might have to wait 20 years to see who is right! Your thoughts or the idea that it can’t work without monitary union = fiscal union = political union. And people don’t want political union.

  20. DAVID IN FRANCE

    I can agree with you in the short term, indeed i implied as much in my 8.15 post when I said I would probably not see the demise but my children will. However of course it will no longer be the Euro if the southern Europeans and possibly France leave. It will be a modified Deutsche mark as you yourself say.

    As to the pound, many forecasters including CEBR have suggested that the UK will be the strongest European economy by 2030 aided by the fact that we are not constrained by being in the Euro zone.

    I am totally confident that the Euro and the EU will collapse within the next 20-30 years.

  21. “As to the pound, many forecasters including CEBR have suggested that the UK will be the strongest European economy by 2030 aided by the fact that we are not constrained by being in the Euro zone.”

    —————–

    Well, it’s not hindered either by the fact our population is growing* while Germany’s for example will be shrinking…

    * we’re set to have the largest population in Western Europe some time around 2050 (which may also have summat to do with being in the EU…)

  22. @Colin

    Loved the pastiche of a northern working class household. Was it inspired by Sillitoe or Bennett? Maybe, considering the quality of the writing, even D.H. Lawrence, perhaps? The accents were spot on and not a hint of any patronising snobbery too. Everything I expected from you; irony, good humour and a refined wit. No snide parody nor underlying unpleasantness, totally devoid of ill humour and malice.

    A joy to read, as always.

    :-)

  23. Ruling faction in Unite calls for a vote for Corbyn.Probably a relief for Burnham .

  24. “many forecasters including CEBR have suggested”

    These forecasters are only ‘suggesting’.

    I am not surprised as their forecasts have been shockingly inaccurate and forced to be changed on a monthly basis often dramatically so within a few months.

    I have near zero confidence in their predictions for 15 years time.

    If you want to test this I suggest you look back to 2000 and see how many accurately forecasted 2015.

    In reality it is little better than the best guess at the time of a bunch of economists, effectively just an opinion hindered only marginally by the facts.

    I speak as an accountant and trained economist…

  25. Colin

    Yes loved your piece, very witty.

    Jonathan

    Of course i agree with that. The point to make though is that they are just as likely to be correct as those like David in France above who predict doom and gloom for the UK and the £. What i am convinced about is that my prediction for the Euro and the EU will come to pass.

  26. Colin
    Tha did reet youth.

  27. CB11

    Inspired by this book if anything :-

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ee-Gum-Lord-Gospels-Yorkshire/dp/185825065X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435687006&sr=1-1&keywords=Ee+By+Gum%2C+Lord%21

    ….and by being a Yorkhireman I suppose.

    Thanks for your comments-glad you enjoyed it :-)

    TOH

    Thanks.

  28. Pete B

    “I’m not sure why Grexit will be such a disaster and create such turmoil in the markets. Their economy is pretty small in the scheme of things so why does it matter? Is it because it makes investors worry about the whole future of the Euro?”

    Greece owes (owed?) lots of money to the banks and so it was the threat of various domino effects related to that which was the big threat a few years back.

    Greece was never bailed out. The banks Greece owed money to were bailed out. It’s not really about Greece; it’s about the banks.

    Once all of Greece’s debts to the banks are transferred over to the EU taxpayer so the banks are safe (and once they have finished asset stripping) they can let Greece go like a drained corpse.

    The panicky element is no one – at least no one in the media – really knows if that point has been reached yet i.e. is it safe to let Greece default or is it still too early.

    Time will tell.

    .

    The internal contradictions of the Euro ought to lead to it collapsing however the other option is the EU holds it together by becoming more authoritarian. Personally I think this is the most likely.

  29. @Mr Jones

    Most that money isn’t real anyway.

    It’s just funny money invented from the magic money tree that is called ‘fractional reserve banking.

    All money is debt…

  30. If I may be frank, in many of the posts I’ve read on here there is a lot of nonsense said. The EU is political. You can argue about the economics all you like, but at the end of the day we are talking about continuing a process to converge the economies of Europe into a coherent whole. It will take many years (I think Schumman and Monet thought about 50, but it’s looking more like 150-200 years).

    You all are, of course, entitled to your views. But ever closer union is the name of the game. Getting all countries to integrate and harmonise is the watchword. You may not like it, but what is the alternative? Splitting apart again and having an unmanageable collection of 28 different economies.

    Get real. That way lies disaster.

    Greece may leave; the EU may be wounded; indeed the UK may leave. But on the continent itself, not the views of those on an outlying island, many people understand and actually want the integration to continue. It makes their life easier to have single currency than the mess we had before.

    You have to remember that the Euro is part of the project to get political integration. That’s the difficult bit, but that’s the important bit. Political integration is the only way that Europe will survive and not go back to its murderous internecine wars. It’s not easy and it means the old guard have to die off.

    150-200 years. The will of Europe is much stronger than what is thought in the UK. The UK can be a player or it can not. But it will be forced to join in the long term — whether it likes it or not. 20 years I read above. Maybe, maybe not. But it will happen.

    Sorry Euro-sceptics, but you are wrong.

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