I’ve only had a couple of hours sleep so this is a very short comment on lessons from the polls at the election. The two best performing traditional polls seem to be those from Survation and Surveymonkey. Survation had a one point Con lead in their final GB poll, Surveymonkey had a four point lead in their final UK poll. The actual lead is 2 or 3 points depending on if you look at UK or GB figures. Congratulations to both of them. While it wasn’t a traditional poll, YouGov’s MRP model also came very close – it’s final GB figures were a four point lead (and some of the individual seat estimates that looked frankly outlandish, like Canterbury leaning Labour and Kensington being a tossup, actually turned out to be correct).

Looking across the board the other companies all overstated the Tory lead to one degree or another. The actual share of the Tory vote was broadly accurate, rather it was that almost everyone understated Labour support. I have a lot of sympathy with Peter Kellner’s article in the Standard earlier – that to some degree it was a case of pollsters “trying too hard”. Companies have all been trying to correct the problems of 2015, and in many cases those changes seem to have gone too far.

A big gulf between pollsters that many commented on during the campaign was the attitude to turnout. The pollsters who were furthest out on the lead, ComRes, ICM and BMG, all used methods that pumped up the Tory lead through demographic based turnout models, rather than basing turnout on how likely respondents said they are to vote. This was in many ways a way of addressing an issue in 2015 polling samples that contained too many of the sort of young people who vote, weighting down young turnout (and turnout among working class respondents, renters, or less well educated – different pollsters used different criteria). This wasn’t necessarily the wrong solution, but it was a risky one – it depends on modelling turnout correctly. What if turnout among young people actually did rise, then pollsters who were replicating 2015 patterns of turnout might miss it. That may be what happened.

That said, one shouldn’t jump to conclusions too quickly. It may be a case of how demographic turnout models were applied (by weighting the whole sample to match 2015 recalled vote and then separately weighting different demographic groups up or down based on likelihood to vote there’s a risk of “double-counting”). Most importantly, the YouGov MRP model and the Surveymonkey survey both based their turnout models on demographics too, and they both got the election right, so clearly it’s an approach that has the potential to work if done correctly.

Personally I’m pleased the YouGov model worked, disappointed the more traditional YouGov poll had too big a lead… but that at least gives us something to learn from (and for most of the campaign the two showed a similar lead, so rolling back some decisions and learning from the model seems a good starting point).

And with that, I’m going to get some sleep.


2,448 Responses to “Post-election thoughts”

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  1. Apropos the “two nations divided by a common language” remark by GB Shaw [and a big SHOUT OUT and a few WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPS for that comment by the way], it seems that, increasingly, our religious beliefs [or lack of them] are becoming at least as large a divide.

    Here, the idea of a politician discussing the desire to live their life being “faithful to christ” is, for many of us, slightly embarrassing and awkward.

    In the States, for a politician to say they are an atheist almost seems to be the kiss of death for their career.

  2. Never been a fan of Farron but I must say he impressed me today with his decision to put his personal religious beliefs before party it takes moral courage to do that. In a world of cynical politics where people make exaggerated claims and fake anger to score political points to see a party leader speak from the heart and actually follow his beliefs is a rare breath of fresh air.

  3. Paul croft

    There are a few states where it is illegal for atheists to hold public office

  4. Paul Croft

    Arsene Wenger and Sam Allardyce?

  5. Candy
    “The French voters know what they’re doing – they’re abstaining to make the point that he does not have a mandate for his policies, he’s only in position because LePen made the second round.”

    No, he only got elected because Fillon had a whoopsie and HE didn’t make the second round. 2nd round would have been Fillon v Le Pen. It was Fillons to lose and he achieved that!

    Macron seems personable enough, he reminds me of Clegg. He has many good ideas for France and the EU but I bet much hasn’t changed in 5 years time.

  6. SAM

    Wash your mouth out.

  7. Re Farron – I don’t think heb gets it still?

    He says ”and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, ”
    Being a Christian or any religion is not a problem for voters and nor should it be but one that puts your religion above others is a problem.

    he does not say to hold faithfully to the bibles teaching as I see it, he just says the bibles teaching.

    Some on here might argue that I am being pedantic and that his statement was just wording but I think his choice of words indicates a mind set that makes him an inappropriate leader of a modern political party GB at least.

  8. Big Sam and Wenger– very good idea. Sam could give a “free transfer” or a seaon’s “loan” of some of his excess to Wenger, who looks like he needs some.

  9. CAMBRIDGERACHEL

    While some states do have language in their constitutions requiring religious tests to hold public office, the US Supreme Court ruled such clauses unconstitutional for any public office in Torcaso v. Watkins, back in 1961. As such no-one can be barred from public office for being an atheist (or any other religion). Whether they lose votes for it is an entirely different matter.

  10. @Jim Jam

    I agree ‘re Farron.

  11. Sam

    Thanks for the correction

  12. JIM JAM

    Farron clearly has strong personal beliefs, as well as political ones. One of his political beliefs is that his own values, which are indeed drawn from his Christian faith, should not impede the freedom of others. I do not see why it is so hard to understand this relatively simply concept.

  13. Diary Committments delay Queen’s Speech

    What diary committments do politcians have that are more important than forming a government! Are DUP MPs committed to guessing the weight of pigs at fairs in their rural constituencies? Does Johnson have a Telegraph lunch, etc. Is Gove attending a parents’ evening at his kids’ comp. Bizarre.

  14. @S Thomas

    “Any fair read of my musings would detect that the use of one party state was in the same spirit as pre-election people were concerned about a tory one party state. No -one meant it as jackboots down whitehall or along the old champs or as a reference to pre-election scotland.”

    No-one meant it as a reference to pre-election scotland. What does this mean? Are you saying that it is possible to claim seriously that pre-election Scotland was a one party state? If so, it is hard to take seriously your claim that you do not resort to personal abuse. Many Scots who voted for the SNP might think that is your game.

    “I do not resort to personal abuse which I feel lessens you rather than me.” You don’t really know what you are doing, imo. You could have put the full stop after “abuse”.

  15. @Robert Newark

    What’s the mood in France at the moment? Are the Republicans going to try to put up a fight to get their chaps elected to the Assembly?

  16. Just in case anybody was wondering
    U.S. Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 3: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    U.S. Constitution, First Amendment, Establishment Clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….”

  17. sam.

    come on . have posters lost their sense of humour. It was a JOKE !

  18. Sam S – No wish to get in to a drawn out discussion but it is perhaps a somewhat patronising ad hominem to suggest I can’t understand a simple concept when some might argue you are unable to understand a slightly more subtle distinction between his views and other politicians of faith.

  19. “I do not resort to personal abuse which I feel lessens you rather than me.” You don’t really know what you are doing, imo. You could have put the full stop after “abuse”.

    A comma, actually.

    Or reconstruct.

  20. Arsene Wenger and Arlene Foster perhaps.

  21. Arsene would be good at saying he never heard what was said when one of his side said something bad?

  22. JIM JAM

    Sorry, it was patronizing and unnecessary of me to include that line. It seems to me that you are reading his statement as though he places his own faith above that of others, which is not at all how it came across to me.

    As for Arsene… I think the less I say the better.

  23. From a tweet by pete broadbent an anglican bishop:

    “Nobody shd be forced to choose between their faith & their politics ”

    Which is fine on the face of it.

    But, as always, with “faith” it’s all about the details. What are you actually being faithful about and, importantly, can that be reconciled to the core values of the party that you are a member of.

    Both are pretty elastic but I think it’s also clear that sometimes there just has to be a breaking point.

  24. Actually, given Arsenal’s record the last 20 years, is it not fair to say Arsene’s leadership is quite “strong and stable”, if also rather unspectacular. Perhaps exactly what we need when negotiating Brexit!

  25. Back to the election and, as the gradual quietening down here may portend, it seems very possible to me that, little by little, normality will resume.

    Almost the same government ministers throughout and, JC can puff and puff with all his might but, if he can’t blow the piggies’ house down there won’t really be much that he can do about it.

  26. “Never been a fan of Farron but I must say he impressed me today with his decision to put his personal religious beliefs before party it takes moral courage to do that.”

    ——–

    Assuming the party didn’t decide to put the party before his religious beliefs…

  27. @cambridgerachel,

    Did you not see Anthony’s post earlier. It specifically said people need to stop looking to link tragedies to political gain. Facebook left wing groups like Evolve etc are already doing this before the authorities have even finalised the fatalities.

    At the end of the day there will be an independent enquiry involving the Fire Service. I’ll make a decision post this enquiry findings rather than based on left wing news groups with an agenda. If there is proved fault, we can all discuss then.

  28. Ok, I’ll spell out the question that everyone’s dancing around. Would Fallon have been questioned so much about his personal beliefs had he been a Muslim rather than a Christian?

  29. Paul Croft – “But, as always, with “faith” it’s all about the details. What are you actually being faithful about”

    It’s actually nobody’s business but his. He shouldn’t have to justify himself to anyone. And as long as he is not imposing his faith on others, it remains in the private realm. He should be able to worship the Cookie Monster without anyone trying to impose restrictions on him.

    You either have freedom of religion or you don’t.

    If you don’t, and are imposing a stalinist restriction on all matters spiritual, even when privately held, then you need to be upfront that you are removing people’s freedom of religion, and apply it to everyone, not just select groups.

    Is that what you are advocating?

  30. Sorry, Farron.

  31. Robbiealive

    I made a similar point earlier today.

    You would think that Foster and May would be cancelling all other diary engagements to get the deal sorted.

    Perhaps there is more to it than diary issues……no surely not ! :-)

  32. Pete B

    No he wouldn’t, also he wouldn’t have got the same question if he had been a tory

  33. CANDY
    It is relevant if the leader of a major political party thinks the gay sex is a sin. It does not disbar him from his position. But the voting public have a right to know and make a decision on whether they wish to vote for his party.

    That is democracy.

  34. On the delays in the Tory-DUP agreement: I expected this because my impression of the DUP over the years is that they are very tough negotiators and well versed in brinkmanship. The fact that there is a lot of pressure on the Tories to reach an agreement quickly because of the need to get the Queen’s Speech moved ASAP just gives the DUP a lever to get what they want (whatever that might be).

  35. I can’t be bothered with all this faith stuff. Too dreary by half.

    One of the things that always disappoints me on this otherwise usually quite thoughtful site (even without Thoughtful, or on second thoughts especially without Thoughtful) is the recurring theme of ‘The Tories haven’t won anything in 20 years and clearly will never form a majority again, ever’ or ‘Labour haven’t won anything in 20 years and clearly will never form a majority again, ever’ or ‘All Tory voters are decrepit and as they die off Lab will be in power for ever and ever’ or ‘Everyone turns into a Tory when they get old so Con will be in power for ever and ever’ or ‘The tories are finished in Scotland no Mp’s at all ho ho ho’ or ‘SNP are a one party state in Scotland everyone else might as well pack up and go home’

    All of that is [email protected] and [email protected] Politics oscillates. After 15 years of RoC everyone gets tired of that and we go to 15 years of LoC.
    Perhaps the oldsters will still be Tories, but 60% of them not 70%, and 50% of the 25-45s will be Lab rather than 40%

  36. @CloudSpotter

    He voted in favour of gay marriage! So he is able to separate his political job from his personal beliefs and not impose his beliefs on others,

    The same cannot be said for his opponents who appear to be aiming for a Stalinist ban on freedom of religion and a drastic restriction on the spiritual space. Unless of course you are a pet group that votes for them, in which case you get an exemption.

    Either you respect freedom of religion across the board, or you don’t.

  37. Pete B
    I agree. Which makes me suspicious of the timing of Farron’s resignation. I wonder if TM has decided it is just not possible to do a deal that would be acceptable with the rest of the UK with the DUP.
    If the LDs agree to abstain, can the Conservatives pass the Queen’s speech?

  38. Candy

    It was the media that went after him not his political opponents

  39. CANDY
    You are suggesting that the public needn’t be told of a party leader’s personal beliefs. It seems to me that if voters are to make an informed decision about the leader of a party, they have to know.
    It appears that the public are wary of very religious politicians. That is their right.

  40. New thread

  41. @Pete B

    Ok, I’ll spell out the question that everyone’s dancing around. Would Fallon have been questioned so much about his personal beliefs had he been a Muslim rather than a Christian?

    Sadiq Khan was during the Mayoral election. (another Lynton Crosby success…)

  42. @Pete B

    “Ok, I’ll spell out the question that everyone’s dancing around. Would Fallon have been questioned so much about his personal beliefs had he been a Muslim rather than a Christian?”

    Certainly not, and indeed anyone who tried would be accused of bigotry and shunned.

    For example, I have no idea what Sadiq Khan’s views on homosexuality are. My suspicion is that they are about the same as Farron’s – that he privately thinks it’s wrong but wouldn’t dream of imposing those views on other people. Yet we don’t see Sadiq Khan being hounded from office…

  43. Lol, Farron wasn’t hounded from office!! He just handled the questions sub optimally and looked a bit of a plonker…

  44. Gotta love how just trying to check whether someone to be entrusted with office is prejudiced is to be equated with the banning of religion and Macarthyite witchunts and Blackisting, hilarious …

  45. @ Carfew

    ‘Assuming the party didn’t decide to put the party before his religious beliefs…’

    The thought had occurred….

  46. @Pete B
    Ok, I’ll spell out the question that everyone’s dancing around. Would Fallon have been questioned so much about his personal beliefs had he been a Muslim rather than a Christian?

    @Catmanjeff
    Sadiq Khan was during the Mayoral election. (another Lynton Crosby success…)

    @Imperium3
    Certainly not, and indeed anyone who tried would be accused of bigotry and shunned.
    For example, I have no idea what Sadiq Khan’s views on homosexuality are. My suspicion is that they are about the same as Farron’s – that he privately thinks it’s wrong but wouldn’t dream of imposing those views on other people. Yet we don’t see Sadiq Khan being hounded from office…

  47. Whoops posted too soon,

    My question, who is right here?

  48. Hang abouts, there’s no question over Sadiq Khan where gay rights is concerned: he’s stated his support unequivocally, his voting record is there to be seen, and he’s received threats and abuse because of his clear support.

    Not the same with Farron. Trying to bring Sadiq Khan into doubt is a bit dodgy, tbh.

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