Donald Trump has won, so we have another round of stories about polling shortcomings, though thankfully it’s someone else’s country this time round (this is very much a personal take from across an ocean – the Yougov American and British teams are quite separate, so I have no insider angle on the YouGov American polls to offer).

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about whether there was potential for the US polls to suffer the same sort of polling mishap as Britain had experienced in 2015. It now looks as if they have. The US polling industry actually has a very good record of accuracy – they obviously have a lot more contests to poll, a lot more information to hand (and probably a lot more money!), but nevertheless – if you put aside the 2000 exit poll, you have to go back to 1948 to find a complete polling catastrophe in the US. That expectation of accuracy means they’ll probably face a lot of flak in the days ahead.

We in Britain have, shall I say, more recent experience of the art of being wrong, so here’s what insight I can offer. First the Brexit comparison. I fear this will be almost universal over the next few weeks, but when it comes to polling it is questionable:

  • In the case of Brexit, the polling picture was mixed. Put crudely, telephone polls showed a clear lead for Remain, online polls showed a tight race, with leave often ahead. Our media expected Remain to win and wrongly focused only on those polls that agreed with them, leading to a false narrative of a clear Remain lead, rather than a close run thing. Some polls were wrong, but the perception that they were all off is wrong – it was a failure of interpretation.
  • In the case of the USA, the polling picture was not really mixed. With the exception of the outlying USC Dornslife/LA Times poll all the polls tended to show a picture of Clinton leading, backed up by state polls also showing Clinton leads consistent with the national polls. People were quite right to interpret the polls as showing Clinton heading towards victory… it was the polls themselves that were wrong.

How wrong were they? As I write, it looks as if Hillary Clinton will actually get the most votes, but lose in the Electoral College. In that sense, the national polls were not wrong when they showed Clinton ahead, she really was. It’s one of the most fustrating situations to be in as a pollster, those times when statistically you are correct… but your figures have told the wrong narrative, so everyone thinks you are wrong. That doesn’t get the American pollsters off the hook though: the final polls were clustered around a 4 point lead for Clinton, when in reality it looks about 1 point. More importantly, the state polls were often way out, polls had Ohio as a tight race when Trump stomped it by 8 points. All the polls in Wisconsin had Clinton clearly ahead; Trump won. Polls in Minnesota were showing Clinton leads of 5-10 points, it ended up on a knife edge. Clearly something went deeply wrong here.

Putting aside exactly how comparable the Brexit polls and the Trump polls are, there are some potential lessons in terms of polling methodology. I am no expert in US polling, so I’ll leave it to others more knowledgable than I to dig through the entrails of the election polls. However, based on my experiences of recent mishaps in British polling, there are a couple of places I would certainly start looking.

One is turnout modelling – US pollsters often approach turnout in a very different way how British pollsters traditionally did it. We’ve always relied on weighting to the profile of the whole population and asking people if they are likely to vote. US pollsters have access to far more information on which people actually do vote, allowing they to weight their samples to the profile of actual voters in a state. This has helped the normally good record of US pollsters… but carries a potential risk if the type of people who vote changes, if there is an unexpected increase in turnout among demographics who don’t usually vote. This was one of the ways British pollsters did get burnt over Brexit. After getting the 2015 election wrong lots of British companies experimented with a more US-style approach, modelling turnout on the basis of people’s demographics. Those companies then faced problems when there was unexpectedly high turnout from more working-class, less well-educated voters at the referendum. Luckily for US pollsters, the relatively easy availability of data on who voted means they should be able to rule this in or out quite easily.

The second is sampling. The inquiry into our general election polling error in 2015 found that unrepresentative samples were the core of the problem, and I can well imagine that this is a problem that risks affecting pollsters anywhere. Across the world landline penetration is falling, response rates are falling and it seems likely that the dwindling number of people still willing to take part in polls are ever more unrepresentative. In this country our samples seemed to be skewed towards people who were too educated, who paid too much attention to politics, followed the news agenda and the political media too closely. We under-represented those with little interest in politics, and several UK pollsters have since started sampling and weighting by that to try and address the issue. Were the US pollsters to suffer a similar problem one can easily imagine how it could result in polls under-representing Donald Trump’s support. If that does end up being the case, the question will be what US pollsters do to address the issue.


1,352 Responses to “Why were the US polls wrong?”

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  1. COLIN

    Alt right as far as I’m aware more of a US political movement which doesn’t really have much political capital in the UK as yet.

    Milo is a Breitbart technology editor, although I don’t recall anything ever done by him regarding technology.

    Despite the fact he is a camp Gay man who prefers Black boyfriends it hasn’t stopped the clearly false accusations of homophobia and ‘racism’.

    Assiduosity referred to him as ‘colourful’ and he certainly has a larger than life persona . He is intelligent and articulate, able to put his point clearly across and to argue his corner, unlike so many others.

    Of course each political camp has its characters who are ‘colourful / charismatic. Milo is just one of many.

  2. Colin,

    Increasingly you can customise news feeds, so that articles from bogus sights can be blocked.

    I use the Apple News app on my iPad and it lets you select topics your interested in and supplies you relevant stories.

    That has let me get used to a lot of particularly US News feeds.

    There are however three problems.

    First there is a proliferation of these sights so on US politics you will get twenty or thirty stories a day and a lot are if not bogus hugely spun for one side or the other.

    I tend to catch the Alt Right ones mostly because they tend to have catchy headlines like “Obama’s latest ploy to Destroy America!” Blocking sites that run stories like that is a bit of a no brainer.

    The second problem is repetition. I like science and Space articles, and you get fairly interesting stuff, but a story about the Juno probe will appear dozens of times in a week each one just a rehash of the NASA press release.

    The final problem is that in filtering out the wacky and repetitious you run the risk of gradually narrowing your field of view.

    Instead of only reading about what you want, you are actually only reading what you like and no longer reading challenging alternative views.

    Peter.

  3. @TOH – “Latest employment figures are interesting.”

    The most interesting bit of the figures is the bit you missed out, which, coincidentally, happens to be the most up to date data. The claimant count jumped sharply in October, up by 10,000, which is the biggest monthly rise since 2012. The September figure was also revised upwards slightly.

    Most analysts commentating on the result said that this was the most significant result from this data set, as along with the slowing pace of employment growth it suggests that the employment market is starting to reverse.

    Funnily enough, it is also consistent with my posts from a couple of weeks ago when I said that the data coming in tended towards the finding that Brexit related impacts begun to bite in October after a three month time lag.

    In light of your ding dong with @Somerjohn about who is posting the more balanced information, I was genuinely surprised that you left this bit out.

  4. THOUGHTFUL

    Thanks.

    I looked at Wiki, and a few Youtubes of him at Universtyevents.

    Got the picture I think.

    As you say there are “colourful” ** characters across the political spectrum………one or two on Mr Corbyn’s team :-)

    ** hopefully this term is not racist ?

  5. PETER CAIRN

    @”Instead of only reading about what you want, you are actually only reading what you like and no longer reading challenging alternative views.”

    Yes-I understand the issue.

    Its just that I am not -so far as I know-exposed to it, because I use Google News.

    I don’t have a smart phone either , and type on my desk top keyboard with the index finger of my right hand-so the urge to assimilate news quickly whilst walking down the street-or talking to someone else -is absent in my life.

  6. PETER CAIRNS

    @” I like science and Space articles,”

    Me too-saw this today !

    http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/pia21206/a-glimpse-into-history

  7. Colin,

    “because I use Google News.”

    Which uses a similar algorithim to Apple to select content.

    The difference is where as I set the topics of interest and can filter out sources I think are duff, Google does that automatically for you.

    I am my own gate keeper. Google is yours.

    Just checked Google News.

    First five story sources;

    Guardian, Daily Star, Guardian, Daily Mail, Guardian…

    All of which to some degree have a political bias.

    Peter.

  8. Mori poll released today-

    CON 42% -5
    LAB 33% +4
    LD 10% +3
    UKIP 7% +1

  9. PETER CAIRNS

    a) I know they do-and take that into account when reading them

    b) I can’t be arsed with filtering. I just click on Google News & choose topics/sources-or search for a topic of interest which isn’t covered.

    c) I also read The Times each day :-)

  10. Alec: “The most interesting bit of the figures is the bit [TOH] missed out”

    Yes, I spotted that but refrained from pointing it out for fear of appearing obsessive.

  11. Graham,

    No-one wants to discuss polls on here! You should know better!

    Interesting changes but my impression is that Mori oscillates more than most polls.. The previous one with the enormous Tory lead did look like an outlier..

  12. Colin,

    “I also read The Times each day :-)”

    I think that should be :-(

    Peter.

  13. PETER CAIRNS

    A very balanced newspaper with great journalists. :-)

  14. It is really interesting to watch this now with hindsight.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2016/may/12/why-people-vote-donald-trump-indiana-death-american-dream-video

    Would Sanders have beaten Trump-with the same message?

  15. Andrew111

    Mori’s poll certainly adds to the impression that last month’s 47% for the Tories was an outlier!

  16. @COLIN

    “Would Sanders have beaten Trump-with the same message?”

    I really doubt it, it really is impossible to understate how toxic the world ‘socialist’ is over here. That said, if you replace Sanders with Warren, then I’d have near absolute confidence in answering “yes!’

  17. I see that Trumps lead in Michigan is now down to 11,600 – just under 0.25% of the vote there. Would this not trigger an automatic recount there?

  18. That poll could be interesting, if it proves to be more than just an unwinding of an outlier.

    The notable feature is that there is a heavy drop in Con, which may well be the settling of an usually high score last time, but also a big jump in Labour, where Labour’s score was if anything slightly higher than other pollsters last time.

    We can’t say if this is the effect of concerns over the Brexit process, or the beginnings of a general movement, but we shouldn’t dismiss this poll just yet.

    As if by magic, this poll has come out on the same day as the latest PMI Household Finance Index. I’ve posted before about a reasonable correlation between this and polling numbers, with something like a three month lag, and hey presto, the headline today is “Higher inflation expectations contribute to worst financial outlook in three years”.

    Households current finances have weakened since the Brexit vote, although there was the distortion of the July bounce to consider, but the expectations for the next twelve months index is falling off a cliff.

    Households are reporting stagnating wages, increased job insecurity and high expectations for inflation. Private sector workers are reporting the first downward pressure on earnings since early 2014.

    It’s important to keep a perspective on this – households are reporting that they are very pessimistic about prospects for the next twelve months, but they aren’t yet saying current conditions are really declining (not yet) so part of this may just be pessimism because people think things are going to start to bite. However, a sense of economic gloom among households may still have an influence on polling patterns.

    It will be very interesting to monitor Con polling averages in the months to come, along with keeping an eye on any Brexit polling. If we are seeing declining household finances, and if inflation is the primary driver of this, and if this is laid at the door of the Brexit vote, then there would be a potential causal mechanism to link the HFI to changes in support for Brexit. But there are a great number of ifs involved.

  19. Curtice for NatCen on “What Do Voters Want From Brexit?”

    http://whatukthinks.org/eu/what-do-voters-want-from-brexit/

    All the good things, of course! But when push comes to shove, the population remains equally divided on whether to prioritise controlling immigration or free trade.

  20. @GRAHAM

    “I see that Trumps lead in Michigan is now down to 11,600 – just under 0.25% of the vote there. Would this not trigger an automatic recount there?”

    No – Michigan does not have automatic recounts. Even if they did, the state flipping would leave Trump above 270 EVs, making it rather pointless.

  21. By the way, the popular vote margin currently stands at +1,161,582 / 0.89% for Clinton, more than double the amount Gore won by in 2000. This still has room to grow as California continues to report votes as they are counted.

  22. @ASSIDUOSITY

    “I assume that in the longer term we will get comparable information to that produced for the 2012 election by the US Bureau of Census:

    https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/socdemo/voting/publications/p20/2012/tables.html

    However, as far as I can see, whilst this is a fascinatingly detailed picture of who was registered and who voted – brilliant for campaign machines – it doesn’t actually record how these demographics voted.

    Is that correct?”

    As far as I know, yes. We probably won’t have this data for some time, as votes are still being counted in some places. Also it appears there is another Sams posting on this thread. I’ll add my last initial for clarity.

    As for the IPSOS/MORI poll, while it shows a narrowing of the gap, you can hardly say being behind 9 points encouraging for Labour.

  23. Alec

    My apologies for posting only part of the unemployment figures. What I did post was all that was available in the news clip I reported on at that time. I was trying to be totally factual and unbiased so I am not surprised at your ” surpise”. A lesson for me to wait a little longer for fuller details.

    I tend to agree with your comments by the way, possible early signs of a Brexit effect which as you know I expect.

    Somerjohn

    I have never suggested you are obsessive, while you support some views which I do not, I think your posts mostly interesting.

    There are however others who are “obsessive” which is a shame.

  24. GRAHAM

    “Mori’s poll certainly adds to the impression that last month’s 47% for the Tories was an outlier!”

    I think we can all agree on that. I look forward to seeing the detail of the new poll and hopefully there will be others to see it there is a new trend.

  25. The LD+3 could be quite interesting.

    Thats a lot more than sampling error at those percentages.

  26. Graham

    Using Electoral Calculus that gives aTory majority of 34 ld boundaries or 60 new boundaries. Interestingly the Tory share is still comfortably above 40 again. Looking at the detail we have:-

    Government approval – 4%

    May’s approval +24%

    Corbyn’s approval -28%

    Farron’s approval – 13%

    Alan

    I think the LD 10% is much more likely that the 6%in the recent Opinium poll based on local by-election results

  27. THOUGHTFUL

    Very funny. :-)

  28. TOH

    We’ll have to see more polls, but it’s very unlikely to get 10% if the reality is 7-8%. It’s not like main parties who are on 30-40% where the sampling creates variations of typically 3%.

    Down that low, I’d expect the variation to be about half that of a major party.

  29. I should have reported the comparisons with the previous poll by the same polsters so in full

    Government approval -4 (-16)
    May +24 (+16)
    Corbyn -28 (-24)
    Farron -13 (-12)

    So Government approval and PM’s approval have both improved significantly.

    Corbyn and Farron have moved backwards.

    Alec

    These figures do not support you post on this poll i would suggest. Have you a view on that?

  30. People interested in Brexit might like to look at the following. I don]t think it makes happy reading for people from any position! It is, however a coherent argument.

    https://waitingfortax.com/2016/11/16/labours-brexit-tactics/

  31. In reaction to the sense of ennui that seemed to afflict some this morning, I recommend the example of Zelda Fitzgerald’s unnamed friend immortalised by the writer thus:

    ““She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”

  32. @ TOH

    “Your post to me re inflation. We agree i think, the inflationary pressure of the devalued £ will not go away but retailers especially will be holding prices down as much as they can until at least after Christmas…”

    Absolutely agreed. Methinks times are going to be tight for retailers – especially the medium sized chains – for the next couple of years. Their margins may be under sustained pressure if the £ remains low and consumers are unable / unwilling to pay more.

    M&S almost certainly did the right thing to retrench so radically if it is to avoid going the way of behemoths of the past like BHS, Woolworths, Littlewoods (as a store) and C&A (in the UK).

    Does this impact polling? Failing retailers not only cost jobs, but are a very visible form of company failure, and forlorn high streets can foster a wider lack of confidence in the economy.

    Not to get ahead of ourselves here but miserable retailers often signify unhappy consumers, who are often discontented voters, though at the moment they seem happy with May and appear to consider themselves to have no viable alternative to the Conservatives.

  33. @TOH

    “Amusingly there was better reporting on the Merkel piece in the DM this morning. I quote “we cannot wobble n the basic principle of the free movement of people””

    I think the DM are spot on here (for someone of my political persuasions the temptation would be to say that even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day :-) ).

    Nothing new in this speech of Merkel’s as far as I can see – freedom of movement an indivisible principle of the EU she says, though Boris disagrees, and to give the UK a special deal would unwind the whole single market as everyone else would want their own special arrangement too.

    All the stuff on access to benefits was for a domestic audience and had more to do with individuals’ rights to claim under the contributory German social security system – all that is IMO of course.

  34. @Charles

    Thanks for the link. Interesting piece of comment/journalism although I don’t share the views of the author. I do however share the confusion as to Labour’s political strategy on Brexit.

    John Healy was on R4 today and, like Sir Keir Starmer a couple of weeks ago, he was speaking in terms that wouldn’t have been out of place from a government minister. He accepted that Brexit will happen and Labour shouldn’t oppose it. He accepted that migration control was a red line and that Labour shouldn’t oppose it. He argued that the UK should press to get the best trading terms possible with the EU.

    Basically not a fag paper’s difference from the Tories. It feels like Labour are seizing on slightly ephemeral questions of whether the government has a “plan” and whether parliament should have a “say” because they have made a strategic decision not to go on the attack over Brexit itself (essentially what your link is bemoaning, a quoting German sources as bemoaning).

    When we talk about Hegelian discourse and social media bubbles, it does occur to me that the balance and strength of opinion here on UKPR is quite a long way from the centre of gravity of UK politics at the moment. It feels like if you put 10 MPs and 10 UKPR-heads in a room, it would be 9 MPs and TOH vs 1 MP and Somerjohn/John Pilgrim/Tancred/etc.

  35. @ Thoughtful

    “I’m not sure as to why you think that I’ve either aimed my comment at you personally, nor why you think I was ‘irate’.

    Simple. It was ASSIDUOSITY in capital letters at the start of your post that led me to believe the comment was addressed to me and that its contents bore some specific relevance to myself.

    Much in the same way I would assume that a letter which began ‘Dear Assiduosity’ was for my attention, and its contents in some way pertained to me.

    I stand corrected, and will in future assume that posts you start with ASSIDUOSITY are not in fact for my attention and rather that is how you intend to attract general attention.

    As such, you will forgive me if I do not feel obliged to respond to them – it would seem foolish if they are in fact nothing to do with me after all.

    On the question of your sounding irate, a number things led me to that conclusion, amongst them your use of capitals – which I always think of as the written equivalent of purple faced shouting – and then the deployment of the second person pronoun coupled with exclamation marks, as below…

    “If you cannot defend your beliefs without resorting to name calling and insult, then your beliefs are probably wrong !”

  36. Assiduosity

    “All the stuff on access to benefits was for a domestic audience and had more to do with individuals’ rights to claim under the contributory German social security system – all that is IMO of course.”

    Again we agree, liked your “clock” analogy although I think the DM does somewhat better than that at times.

  37. @ Colin

    “Had never heard a of “AltRight” & Mr Milo Yiannopoulos until ASSIDUOSITY posted about him/them/it ?
    Are they significant or relevant in any way?”

    Of course it’s not possible to read all the posts here, but @ Tancred first introduced the ‘Alt Right’ onto this thread a couple of days ago:

    “….even in the 1950s America was multi-racial, given the large black population, so immigration has simply made things worse.
    America has gone from 85% non-Hispanic white to 62% non-Hispanic white in 50 years. I exclude white Latinos as they mostly feel scant affinity for white Anglo-Celtic America, preferring to be identified with Mestizos of the same Hispanic culture. An elite of well educated Latinos are an exception to this rule, but does not detract from the fact that in general, Hispanics prefer to be considered as a separate grouping.
    So what now for America? Fortunately there are groups from political think tanks such as Alt-Right who are responding to these serious concerns and have backed suitable candidates in all kinds of elections throughout America, ending with the presidential one.”

    @Tancred
    November 14th, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    The two points that interest me most here are the notion that a ‘multi-racial’ USA was ‘made worse’ by immigration. I will allow you to draw your own conclusions as to what that signifies in terms of thinking, particularly given that the USA has been multi-racial since its foundation. It is, however, a position often advanced by the ‘Alt Right’.

    The second pertinent point @Tancred makes is that ” Alt-Right… are responding to these serious concerns and have backed suitable candidates in all kinds of elections throughout America, ending with the presidential one.”

    This unlocks a very relevant discussion regarding the links of the President Elect of the USA to such groups. This is not a theoretical discourse as Trump’s first appointment (along with his Chief of Staff) was that of Steve Bannon as chief strategist and Senior Counsellor to the President.

    Bannon is the executive chairman of Breitbart News, a website with strong associations – as Bannon himself advertises – to the ‘Alt-Right’. It seems therefore instructive to understand this movement if one is to understand Trump’s circle.

    As to Milo Y, I cited him for two reasons. Firstly he is a relatively rare example of a prominent British member of the ‘Alt Right’. Secondly, IMO he often demonstrates the kind of tactic we had been discussing here of making comments that could be at the least described as ambiguous on matters of race and religion and then when challenged on them rather than defend his position attacking the questioner for daring to challenge him.

    Personally I regard this as disingenuous and intellectually lazy, quite apart from potentially being a conscious means to deflect from actually well founded criticism.

  38. ASSIDUOSITY

    I’m afraid that I merely copied & pasted your name from your own post and used it merely to identify whose post I was replying to.

    As there are on this board several threads running at the same time, it becomes difficult to follow them without reference to the previous relevant one.

    As this is for multiple readers I do tend to keep responses open to make it inclusive to all and not just the party named.

    I do have a question though. If you believe “your use of capitals – which I always think of as the written equivalent of purple faced shouting ”
    Then why have you chosen to capitalise your name in its entirety ?

  39. Neil A

    When we talk about Hegelian discourse and social media bubbles, it does occur to me that the balance and strength of opinion here on UKPR is quite a long way from the centre of gravity of UK politics at the moment. It feels like if you put 10 MPs and 10 UKPR-heads in a room, it would be 9 MPs and TOH vs 1 MP and Somerjohn/John Pilgrim/Tancred/etc.

    The position vis-a-vis the country is rather closer perhaps. The link posted by Old Nat
    http://whatukthinks.org/eu/what-do-voters-want-from-brexit/
    suggests that the country wants to have its cake and eat it (Free trade and control of immigration). Donald Tusk and practically everyone else in the EU says that that is not possible. The choice is no Brexit or hard Brexit (see link within link I posted). Old Nat’s link suggests that wnen this is put to the country 51 per cent want hard Brexit (immigration controls) and 49 per cent No Brexit (i.e. free movement of people and no immigration controls).

    This doesn’t look to me like a very satisfactory situation. It seems roughly agreed on this site that the disbenefits of Brexit are being slow to come through and the possible benefits will be slower still. ToH sturdily maintains his indifference to this situation. I doubt, however, that this indifference will be shared by all. So over time the balance will probably slip a bit to say 52 no brexit and 48 brexit. The country will remain bitterly divided, uncertainty will continue and everybody including the European Union will be the losers,

    Given all this we desperately need people to get together and work out a path through. In my view the way to do this is not to threaten the EU with legal suits by South Korea that are much more likely to be launched at us than the EU and by making cheap jokes about Gingerama that are likely to be simultaneously offensive to the notoriously touchy and vindictive Trump and to the
    EU as well. At the time I thought that Theresa MAY had made an inspired choice of Brexit ministers. I know of nothing against David Davies but the other two seem to me to be a disaster.

  40. Charles

    Thanks for the link. It made for interesting reading.

    While the analysis is purely E&W, it may throw some light on SLab’s movement away from strong support for Scotland remaining in the Single Market.

  41. @THOUGHTFUL

    “Then why have you chosen to capitalise your name in its entirety ?”

    This site does so automatically for all users. Like you, I merely copy/paste other user’s names when replying to them, so they end out in all caps too.

    That reminds me, an earlier post went into automod, but I have added my last initial as I noticed another Sam posting in the thread yesterday.

    As for the Alt-Right, as raised by Colin/Assiduosiy/Tancred, it is essentially a rejection of the social change of the last fifty or so years since Civil Rights Movement driven by resentment, anger, and not-so-subtle.

  42. ASSIDUOSITY

    Thanks.

    As I said earlier, I looked them up after Thoughtful’s post.

    May I ask……..are you related to OLDNAT by any chance?

  43. Interesting poll with a great deal of fluidity in the numbers.

    Also, as @TOH points out, there seems to be some disjuncture between the generally favourable movement for the PM and the decline in Conservative fortunes, albeit maintaining a commanding lead.

    In addition to the strong possibility that the previous poll could have been an outlier, I suppose there is also the potential that there may be some methodological changes here.

    I’m only signed up for a couple of polling panels, but the number of contacts to take part in surveys seems to be at an all time high, yet the number of polls emerging into the public arena is much lower. This coupled with noticeable changes in the ordering of questions and the questions themselves would indicate to me there is a great deal of experimentation going on at the moment to hone approaches.

    Setting all of the above aside, are we in a position yet to say that UKIP are on a long term pattern of decline? Are the signs of a LibDem revival, no matter how small, now real? Is there a possibility that May’s honeymoon is at least reaching the beginning of its end?

    Verdict out on all I would say, more numbers needed.

  44. Thoughtful @ ASSIDUOSITY

    “Then why have you chosen to capitalise your name in its entirety ?”

    I find that when I copy and paste names, whether they come out as capitalised or not depends on which browser I’m using.

    If you look at the dashboard for this site, “assiduosity” is all in lower case.

    Weird and wonderful are the ways of digital communication! :-)

  45. @” it does occur to me that the balance and strength of opinion here on UKPR is quite a long way from the centre of gravity of UK politics at the moment.”

    I remember-ALEC-the many friendly exchanges we have had on this topic over the years.

    If memory serves me right ( which is a long shot !) I think that you offered the opinion that the balance of political opinion ** on UKPR tended to be aligned with that of the Government.at the time.

    If that memory is correct , would you say the rule has broken down somewhat at present?

    ** acknowledging that AW asks that our posts cannot & do not indicate political allegiance. :-)

  46. Colin

    I see that your name is recorded on UKPR, properly spelt with a capital “C” since it is a proper name.

    Whereas mine is designed to be a descriptive nickname, and hence (like assiduosity) is entirely lower case.

  47. Neil A: “it does occur to me that the balance and strength of opinion here on UKPR is quite a long way from the centre of gravity of UK politics at the moment. ”

    Well, that raises the question of what you think the balance of opinion here on UKPR is. I’d say it’s somewhere between 60/40 in favour of Brexit and 50/50. Given the demographics of the site and of the Brexit vote, I’d say that’s about right – posters here are clearly better educated than average, but seemingly with a high proportion 65+, so that probably cancels out. As Brexit/Remain is also around 50/50 (though MPs allegedly more Remain-inclined) I’d have thought we reflect the political CoG quite well. All guesswork and imo, of course, but do you disagree?

    Incidentally, while I’m addressing you, did you see Candy’s post a couple of days ago re Europol? She suggested, IIRC, that it was largely a front for MI5-type activity, and that by signing up again we were throwing a sop to the EU in the form of intelligence info. Sounded a bit unlikely to me, but perhaps you can shed some light?

  48. LASZLO

    An interesting link.

    Those heady days of Momentum Rallies seem a distant memory now.

    I must say that the incidence of Corbyn supporting “shares” by the younger generation on my Facebook has fallen to near zero.

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