Today the British Election Study published its face-to-face data for the 2017 election. The BES has two main elements: one is a large online panel element, using the same respondents in multiple waves so that they can track change at an individual level. The other part is a smaller face-to-face element, using a genuine random sample to try and get the best sample possible. The face-to-face element is also cross-referenced with the marked electoral register (that is, the copy of the register in polling stations where people’s names are crossed off as they vote) so that they can verify after the election whether people genuinely did or did not vote.

This means the face-to-face data is by far the best data we have on actual turnout levels and on turnout levels among different demographic groups. When discussing turnout I’m often asked about the official figures for turnout among men and women, young and old, and have to explain that these figures do not exist. While there are official figures of the numbers of votes cast in each constituency and the number of people on the electoral register (a different figure, note, to the number of people who are actually eligible to vote, where there is an absence of official data), there are no actual figures for turnout among demographic sub-groups of the population. We know how many people voted, but not details of their age, gender, class or other demographics.

Up until now there has been a widespread narrative that in 2018 Labour managed to engage young people who do not normally vote and substantially increase youth turnout at the general election (referred to by the rather irriating neologism “youthquake”). This was never based on particularly strong evidence. The narrative had begun to take hold during the campaign itself because of the difference between polls (a simple explanation of the polls during the 2017 campaign was that companies showing a large Tory lead were doing so because they weighting down younger respondents based on their past unlikelihood to vote and companies showing smaller Tory leads were basing turnout more on self-reporting and, therefore, often showing higher youth turnout). A common and not unreasonable assumption before the general election was, therefore, that if youth turnout did increase those polls showing a smaller Tory lead would be right, if youth turnout stayed low the Tories would win comfortably. Another common discussion during the campaign were the enthusiastic crowds of young people that were attracted to Jeremy Corbyn’s events. People sensibly cautioned that what mattered was whether those crowds actually suggested normally uninterested young people would vote, or just represented the more politically engaged young people.

By election day, there was a narrative that if all those enthusiastic young people actually came out to vote Labour would do well, and if it was just a mirage the Tories would win. Therefore when the Conservatives did do less well than most people expected the most easily available explanation to reach for was that young people had indeed been enthused to go out and vote Labour. In the immediate aftermath of the election an implausible claim that youth turnout was 72% was widely reported, without any apparent source. Shortly after that polling evidence from various companies emerged that did support a higher level of youth turnout. Given that the problem with polling accuracy in 2015 was that poll samples had too many of the sort of people who vote, particularly among young people, this evidence was rather dicey. It could have been that youth turnout had risen… or it could have been that polls still contained too many of the sort of young people who vote. The final bit of evidence was that seats that contained a larger proportion of young people did see their turnout rise more at the election… though as Chris Prosser and the rest of the BES team ably explain in their paper, this is not necessarily the strong evidence you might think: seats with more young people tend to be urban and more diverse, so it’s equally possible that urban areas in general saw a larger increase in turnout.

In fact the BES data released today – using a random sample and checked against the electoral register – does not find evidence of any increase in turnout among under 25s, thought does find some evidence of an increase in turnout among those between 25 and 44. The boost in youth turnout that people have been using to explain the 2017 election may not actually exist at all (or if it does, it was among relatively young voters, rather than the youngest voters). That’s not to say that young voters were not still important in explaining the election result – age was still an important divide on how people voted, young people did still heavily vote for Labour so it is still fair to say Labour managed to enthuse young people more, it’s just that the level of turnout among under 25s does not appear to have risen; Labour just took a greater share of support among younger voters.

This does raise some other questions about the polls at the 2017 election. Until now the most obvious explanation for why some polls got the figures very wrong and others got them right is that, by basing turnout patterns on what happened in 2015 some polls missed out on a genuine surge in youth turnout, therefore understating Labour support, and that polls showing higher youth turnout were closer to the actual result. However, if youth turnout didn’t actually rise then this explanation seems far less convincing. My own view is that the way turnout models were done was probably still a major factor in the error, but it may be more a case of how they were done rather than the principle (besides, there were some approaches, like the YouGov MRP model, that used demographics in their turnout modelling and did well). More on that issue another time.

In the meantime, there’s a summary of the BES findings on youth turnout here and their full paper is here.

562 Responses to “Some thoughts on the BES turnout data and the absent “youthquake””

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  1. @”(We can also ponder quite what retired Tory Leavers expect to achieve by constantly insulting the people they are relying on to make a success of Brexit, and what they expect the consequences to be)”

    I think the consequences are pretty predictable-the same ones that the haughty spokespersons for the self proclaimed “educated” part of our electorate generate when they tell Leave Voters that they just too unintelligent, racist & xenophobic to understand the EU.

    I just heard one such on R5Live’s Brexit phone in this morning. The scope of this person’s insult failed utterly to occur to him.

  2. Garj,
    ” The data anyway is the likelihood of age groups to vote for the parties, not the absolute number of votes. 30% of 40 year olds who voted in 2015 voted Tory, and 30% of 40 year olds who voted in 2017 voted Tory. If turnout increased then actually they added voters in that age group overall, it’s just that Labour added more.”

    Actually, I got the impression their base is the total number of people eligible to vote. So lower turnout would reduce the percentage who voted for everyone. Thus tory vote was increased by higher turnout, but reduced by lower proportion of those who voted choosing tory. Broadly, the tories mantained their vote in the younger age range and increased it amongst the 55+. labour lost vote share amongst 75+, but gained much more at lower ages, with higher gains the lower the age band.

  3. @Danny, B&B

    I think it is well demonstrated both here and in the US that cohorts of voters do drift right as they age; there is some logic to that as they become asset holders and invested in the status quo, as well as socially conservative relative to the overall population.

    We also have some evidence that the group currently 60-80 years of age is relatively right wing and has been relatively right win all of its adult life; for instance as a cohort it was less favourable of EEC membership in 1976 than those both older and younger, and appears to have supported the Conservatives in their young adult life (20-40) more than cohorts before or since.

    My feeling is that – as it passes on – this group will be replaced to a degree by the general rightward drift of following generations; however the following cohort start from a more centrist place and therefore will be somewhat less right-wing than this cohort at the same age.

    Overall therefore there will be a small movement away from the right as this cohort shuffles off stage.

    I think that it’s interesting that this group appear to have already bene more right-wing by 1976, which implies that their formative experience comes earlier than this.

    My personal theory is that this cohort was the one that grew up on tales of British heroism in the war, and suffered the loss of empire and the uncertainty over the UK’s role in the world after Suez.

    Older groups that actually fought in the war were relatively pro-EEC; younger groups that travelled and mixed with immigrants are also more relaxed about working with overseas partners. This cohort IMHO carry the scars of rationing and the myths of ‘617 Squadron’ and ‘Went the Day Well?’

    Of course, that could be a load of rubbish!

  4. It would be very interesting to see the leaked Brexit reports in full, especially as it’s supposed to contain some sectoral analysis. It also looks to be GDP rather than the more relevant GDP per capita. It’ll be interesting to see what assumptions they’ve modeled in for the impact on population growth, as that seemed to be a big factor in the economic forecasts of other Brexit reports. Don’t get me wrong though, I think we’ll still see a drop in GDP per capita, but just how large is going to depend on how much they expect migration and childbirth to fall in their various scenarios.


    @”– it was leaked from Davis’ department, fuelling the increasingly persistent rumours that Davis realises he has made the political mistake of his life”

    One can never tell which report is correct . I have just read that he leaked it because he thinks these Treasury produced numbers are cobblers.

    I have three questions on the numbers.

    * They propose GDP changes against existing 15 year forecasts-where are these 15 year forecasts?. I have never seen any forecasts from OBR, IFS etc covering such a huge period of time.

    * Why are the negative effects forecast in these numbers less than the negative effects for the same scenarios in the previous Treasury forecasts? What has improved in their view?

    * The difference between the FTA option & the “Soft Brexit” option is -3.0 % over 15 years.. According to my Cumulative effect Calculator, that is -0.21% pa over that period. Question-is such a number within the bounds of MOE for forecasts over that sort of period?

  6. The cost of Brexit

    The trouble is that many know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.There is invariably a cost if you change political direction.

  7. Garj,
    “Demographics favour Labour, but having increased their support in most age groups is there an obvious source of more votes that they haven’t already got?”

    Yes there is. winning an election is always described as a battle for the middle ground. This is a dangerous simplification, because you must be sure of your flank before you can go after the middle. But leaving that aside because it is usually true, the way to win an election is always considered to be through the middle.

    Either party is seeking to bring waverers over to their side from the centre. Remember too, the centre is not a fixed position but merely the momentary middle. What these results show us is that labour gained ground in the age group 75 and below, while tories gained in 55 and above. Labour gained more overall.

    Your argument is presumably that they have exhausted whatever issues drove those people. But given government policy now is to a large extent unchanged, presumably those drivers continue to operate and can be expected to persuade more people the same way.

    There are two factors, Brexit and ‘normal’ politics. Brexit indeed threatened the flanks of both parties, but tory more than labour. At present neither issue has been dealt with: Brexit seems likely to continue to run for years, and of course the normal two party knockabout will continue endlessly. It is normal that incumbent governments steadily lose popularity until their opponent gains enough to beat them.

  8. @ DANNY

    “I got the impression their base is the total number of people eligible to vote.”

    I don’t think so. Their top chart, likelihood to vote, puts the youngest at about 45%, while the chart below has Labour alone at nearly 70%. Self evidently 70% of 18 year olds eligible to vote can not have voted Labour if only 45% of them turned out. Even so, just because turnout increased, you can’t just assume that the Tory vote would have fallen had it not. Wasn’t the argument supposed to be that most of the former non-voters who went to the polls plumped for Labour?

  9. Haven’t seen any reaction from JC on the forecast of Brexit economic damage.

    Wonder what he will think of this too?

    ………..”We believe there is no left-wing case for leaving
    the Single Market and the Customs Union.”

    That’s you , I think Corby :-)

  10. @Colin

    “I think the consequences are pretty predictable-the same ones that the haughty spokespersons for the self proclaimed “educated” part of our electorate generate when they tell Leave Voters that they just too unintelligent, racist & xenophobic to understand the EU.”

    Ah, thus speaks the voice of experience and wisdom.

    What a fine example.

  11. bigfatron
    “I think it is well demonstrated both here and in the US that cohorts of voters do drift right as they age;”

    Not according to this article and linked paper:

    “You become more conservative

    Not so. Imagine ten people: one aged ten, one 20, one 30 and so on. The oldest is less liberal than the 60-year-old, who is less liberal than the 40-year-old, and so on. You might conclude people get more conservative with age. But you’d be incorrectly assuming that each person started out with the same political outlook.

    A 100-year-old woman, born in 1918, formed her baseline political opinions in a very different time. What was liberal in the 1940s is conservative now (consider race relations, feminism and sexual norms). What you’re seeing is a 100-year-old whose political opinions have become less conservative, but remain more conservative than her children’s or grandchildren’s opinions, who began their lives on a more liberal footing. This is what researchers in the US found in their study of political attitudes among different age groups over 30 years. They concluded that “change is as common among older adults as younger adults”.

    “Population Aging, Intracohort Aging, and Sociopolitical Attitudes
    Abstract: Prevailing stereotypes of older people hold that their attitudes are inflexible or that aging tends to promote increasing conservatism in sociopolitical outlook. In spite of mounting scientific evidence demonstrating that learning, adaptation, and reassessment are behaviors in which older people can and do engage, the stereotype persists. We use U.S. General Social Survey data from 25 surveys between 1972 and 2004 to formally assess the magnitude and direction of changes in attitudes that occur within cohorts at different stages of the life course. We decompose changes in sociopolitical attitudes into the proportions attributable to cohort succession and intracohort aging for three categories of items: attitudes toward historically subordinate groups, civil liberties, and privacy. We find that significant intracohort change in attitudes occurs in cohorts-inlater- stages (age 60 and older) as well as cohorts-in-earlier-stages (ages 18 to 39), that the change for cohorts-in-later-stages is frequently greater than that for cohorts-inearlier-stages, and that the direction of change is most often toward increased tolerance rather than increased conservatism. These findings are discussed within the context of population aging and development.”

  12. garj,
    “They remain bafflingly high”

    No, they dont. Politicis is currently dominated by an issue which matters more to many people than whether tory or labour win. These people have turned out for the candidates wearing the relevant hat.

  13. “The EU did not turn out to be the economic success that it was supposed to (delivering worse growth than the previous decades, worse growth than its peers, etc), staying out of the Euro didn’t cause a disaster (quite the opposite as the PIGS…”
    @Trevor Warne January 30th, 2018 at 10:26 am

    If it helps, I stopped reading your post at this point.

  14. @ DANNY

    I think you’re conflating the middle ground of politics with the middle age of voters. There is certainly some correlation, but the two are not one and the same. My point is that these charts seem to imply that the Tories hoovered up all of UKIP’s older voters, while Labour nabbed all the swing voters. Now, in order to increase their polling numbers, they need to start eating into the Tory vote (and vice versa). You say “presumably those drivers continue to operate and can be expected to persuade more people the same way” but the polling since the election has not borne that out and the Tory numbers remain stubbornly high despite all their travails.

  15. @Colin

    In one ear, out of the other.

    Dear me.

  16. S Thomas
    “The trouble is that many know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.There is invariably a cost if you change political direction.”

    I think that the trouble you’re having here is that whilst you presumably ascribe a positive social and political value to leaving the EU, many retainers consider this to be a negative thing both socially and politically.

    So what we have is a population that is split on the social and political ramifications, but united in the eventual economic outcome.

    Assuming that both retainers and leavers have equal and opposite views on society, the only thing that is left is the economics, which is negative. Therefore, the net outcome on our country will be negative, looking at it from all sides.

  17. Some straight questions for the leavers on here:

    Now please correct me if I have the wrong end of the stick here, but UK GDP is roughly £2 trillion. Lets say that we go with a comprehensive trade deal, that gives us a 2 % reduction in GDP, so better than the DEUX estimates. That’s £40 billion a year. Or £770 million a week.

    Now lets say that we skip £175 million in net payments to the EU each week (I can’t remember the exact figure, but half the BJ sum seems fair to me).

    That leaves us about £500 million a week worse off, but with a much lower level of EU influence in the country with a Canada +++ type relationship.

    Q1. Would you personally have voted for that?
    Q2. What proportion of people who voted leave would have voted for that?

  18. @ HIRETON – without seeing the full report we can’t be sure but yes the leak suggests they do account for modest boost from new trade deals. The overall numbers look suspiciously close to the previous Treasury numbers from before the referendum so I am guessing they have the same assumptions (but have added a few years and adopting the ‘we haven’t left yet’ excuse to cover the fact they got it very wrong for the 2016-18 period)

    Amongst many issues I have with these models is the perfect competition and pass through of tariffs. Happy to explain (again) if you believe that assumption.

    I’m not aware of any major differences in Leavers views – typically we don’t go in for the 3 decimal place projections using highly subjective assumptions. Most expected a small ‘dip’ of slightly lower GDP growth after the referendum (over 18mths ago) and through until we’ve properly left (Dec’20?) with the gains coming after that.

    So far spot on – we’re in the small dip (which the original Project Fear projections did predict but massively over exaggerated)

    The future is unknown. Much depends on the final deal, govt reaction to limit risks/capture opportunities and the much larger and more important domestic and international factors (e.g. a Corbyn govt or burst of one of the many bubbles at home and abroad).

    I’m sure hard core Remainers will latch on to every ‘prediction’ that shows doom and gloom but having heard it all before and seen it didn’t happen, I doubt it will make any change to poll responses or govt policy.

  19. @BigFatRon

    “My personal theory is that this cohort was the one that grew up on tales of British heroism in the war, ”

    Or, perhaps, they grew up at a time where folk memory was of Britain standing alone, which they continue to cling to. An elderly aunt of mine commented at Xmas (while enjoying the hospitality of her French sister-in-law), “I remember when we did just fine without the EU, thank you”.

    Or perhaps yet more simply, they grew up hating the Germans, and have hated them ever since. To the point that they prefer to sacrifice their grandchildren’s futures in order to “stick one to the Germans”.

  20. RE: early election

    The tories are not going to choose to have an election, But – if a brexiter becomes leader and starts pushing in harder direction (oo-er) the party may well split.

    The current spate of anti-may aggro within the party seems to be coming from the brexit wing as they dont like the direction things are going -BINO.

  21. @ B&B – the question is how many Leavers believed Project Fear 1.0 and we had that answer over 18mths ago. Since then did we get the recession and mass unemployment that was predicted? Why do you think Leavers will now fall for Project Fear 2.0?

    @ COLIN – Labour Leave and Trade Unionists against EU both make excellent left-wing cases for leaving both the SM (mostly due to FoM) and CU. The left-wing case for stopping FoM in particular is far stronger than the capitalist case and although being in opposition allows LAB to pretend they’d get a bit more cake than CON I’ve always been surprised the cherry they pick is ‘easy movement’ of labour!?


    @”Ah, thus speaks the voice of experience and wisdom.”

    He didn’t have much of either-even after Nicky Campbell had explained to him how many UK voters he had just insulted.


    @”In one ear, out of the other.

    Dear me.”

    I should get that seen to-it could be serious.


    Didn’t actually read it I must confess.

    More interested in JC’s response-which isn’t visible as yet :-)

    Too busy thinking about whether Churchill was a Racist or not , before he next pops out for a coffee I expect.

  25. TW:
    Of course we didn’t. Osborne might as well have said that we were all going to be eaten by bears and it would have been no less laughable (I actually remember laughing at it on the car radio that morning). The difference is that these figures appear to be entirely reasonable and have been calculated as a best-guess estimate, as opposed to Osborne’s cak-handed nonsense.

    However, I suspect that anyone who believed him would be equally perturbed by the minus £500m a week figure.

    Will you answer my questions now?

  26. ROBIN

    @”To the point that they prefer to sacrifice their grandchildren’s futures in order to “stick one to the Germans”.

    To coin a phrase. ” Dear oh dear”

    You need to take a care. Chris Riley of this parish gets very upset at gratuitous insults to chunks of the Electorate of that kind.It is giving him a nasty ear condition.

  27. B&B

    @” that gives us a 2 % reduction in GDP, so better than the DEUX estimates. That’s £40 billion a year.”

    Is it ????

    I am reading 2% IN TOTAL AFTER 15 years.

    That would be 0.13% pa cumulative over 15 years.

  28. @Colin

    But polling data says they have precisely this view (although without the explicit anti-German motivation). As I recall, a *majority* of those who are retired think family members losing their jobs is OK as long as we get Brexit.

    I continue to struggle to understand the mentality of such people, and have no problem with being insulting about them. They deserve to be insulted. And I don’t think gentle logical persuasion is likely to have any impact on their views, so there is no reason to worry about inadvertantly hardening their stance.

  29. Colin, its a 0.13 % reduction relative to what it would have been each year:
    Year 1 = 99.87%
    Year 2 = 99.87 x 99.87 = 99.74%
    Year 3 = 99.74 x 99.87 etc etc
    After 15 years we get the economy being at 98.07% of what it might have been, or a 1.93 % loss, which someone has probably rounded to 2 %.

  30. @Colin

    Yes. An aggregate reduction of 2%, so that in 15 years our GDP is 2% lower than it would otherwise be, represents an *annual* loss in production in 2034 of £40bn-$50bn (at today’s prices). Taxes from that are e.g. getting on for half the defence budget.

    And that is the *optimistic* scenario.

    At this point, Alec is starting to bang his head against desk, wall or other similar surface…

  31. @Alberto
    You are misreading my post – I am not saying that people become more absolutely socially conservative as they age, but become more socially conservative relative to the whole of society.

    I do think that people become more economically conservative as they age, as they move from being asset poor to being asset rich.

    From a quick read (I’m meant to be working!) I don’t think the study that you quote conflicts with these opinions, however apologies if I have missed something.

  32. @Robin

    “As I recall, a *majority* of those who are retired think family members losing their jobs is OK as long as we get Brexit.”

    I’d not looked at the age breakdown of that survey before. Yes it’s 50:28:22 yes,no,dk for 65+. There’s a pretty obvious correlation between age and being ok with loss of your own/family member jobs and age for leave voters.

    What’s particularly interesting is that for the remain ‘extremists’, age doesn’t seem to be so much of a factor. 11% for 18-24, 20 for 25-49, 19 for 50-64, 14 for 65+, would consider loss of their/family member job a price worth paying.

  33. “A new survey of voters in the recent UK general election has revealed that young voters – those between the ages of 18 and 24 years old – were significantly more motivated by a desire for change, a rejection of the vision of Brexit that the Government was promoting, and frustration with the current political climate than the rest of the voting population, write Michael Bruter and Sarah Harrison.”

    This is a blog post from July 2017 on a poll that seeks to explore why young people voted the way they did.

  34. There is analysis of the Whitehall paper on the economic effects of Brexit on the Uk to be found here

    It finds the analysis credible but somewhat cautious, an approach that tends to play down the economic effects.

  35. @BFR
    Re: WWII and all that

    you may be interested in the analysis presented in this article

  36. @ B&B – I don’t think we’ll be eaten by bears, I don’t belief in magic money trees or rainbow unicorns and I certainly don’t believe a rehash of a model that has repeatedly failed. I would very happily discuss the assumptions behind the failed model as any model is only as good (or bad) as the assumptions it uses.

    I don’t have a crystal ball but I am always looking to improve my model and I’d especially question it anytime it was wildly wrong about the outcome. For 2016 and 2017 I was pleasantly surprised to under estimate the Brexit dip although that was due to a more resilient consumer and debt build-up which is by far the hardest component to estimate being so driven by confidence and sentiment. Well within MOE but always good to back-test and see where the differences between actual v prediction lie.

    If you want an echo chamber response then discuss the 3rd decimal place in these “new” predictions with ALEC, ROBIN, etc. I’d avoid SOMERJON as he still doesn’t accept 2017 wasn’t the recession he was told it would be.

    I’m interested in the assumptions behind the model not another rehash of a failed prediction that sticks to the same failed assumptions. If you believe everything your told without checking the assumptions and facts then that is of course up to you.

    @ ROBIN – I would expect older people are more suspicious about what and who they believe and after having seen any and all EU/Euro/Brexit predictions repeatedly turn out false become very dubious about believing the same old guff from the same biased sources. But hey, believe what you want and if you want to convert someone I suggest you start with Corbyn – he clearly doesn’t belief the same old guff either but he is at least in a position to do something about it if he wanted to.

  37. @ SAM – I see LSE highlight the use of the ‘gravity model’ from 1962. It should be very embarrassing for academia to continually drag that one out given it only refers to amount of trade not who benefits from it. I’ll also refrain from my usual no gravity in cyber space jokes (that would be the Dij denominator being zero and making the equation infinite)

    Q: How do you minimize Dij for ‘goods’ and also ensure you are not exposed to potential future tariffs and currency movements?
    (clue: it would help reduce our 100bn/year net trade deficit in goods with EU!)

    Remainers might also be interested to learn the World isn’t actually flat! Beyond the Ural mountains there exists a rapid growth continent called Asia and on the other side of the Atlantic there’s the New World now referred to as N/S.America. Also something known as comparative advantage that relies on their actually being comparative advantages between economies and not setting up barriers (CET) to reduce genuine advantages from trade while locking in those within that barrier to monopolistic pricing exploitation (ie competition within EU is far from ‘perfect’)

  38. Skim, skim, skim, skip…………………………………

  39. @TW

    Single economic predictions (e.g. from the OBR at budget time) are often wildly out because they don’t take into account changes in the world economy. Which is perfectly reasonable, but does increase the margin of error.

    Comparative analyses, on the other hand, are on much firmer ground. OK, the effects may be 4-8-12 instead of 2-5-7, but the ranking is pretty much nailed on. If you trash your economy, your economy will do worse than if you don’t trash it.

    Or as a journalist tweet said this morning. “I can’t tell you what your weight will be in 10 years time, but I can tell you that if you eat lots of burgers and sit on the sofa watching TV, your weight will be greater than if you eat healthily and go to the gym every night”.

    [I would really like the OBR to be mandated to produce economic forecast to show the net effect of each budget/change in spending plans compared to no change. Much more valuable]

  40. “Focusing only on %s misses the bigger picture, which is: none of the potential upsides of leaving the single market and customs union makes up for economic damage caused by non tariff barriers. ” – as Alberto Nardelli points out.

  41. One significant point is that the rise in turnout from the 25-44 group includes only one year of students who paid £9k/year tuition fees, which first came in for the academic year beginning September 2012. £3k tuition fees were introduced in September 2006, so would account for a further six years of this cohort, and £1k fees in September 1998, eight years of this cohort. Four years of this cohort who were university students would not have paid tuition fees at all.

    It is likely that the students who had been on £1k per year fees would have paid them off by 2017, and probably some of the £3k per year fees students as well, so what we may be seeing is an example of altruistic behaviour by voters who saw todays’ students suffering but were not suffering themselves.

  42. Robin

    Very much so.

    Even with a lot of noise in a model it is still possible to measure the impact of various factors with a lot less uncertainty. It’s the difference between prediction intervals and confidence intervals.

    Obviously this goes over the heads of most people and so is a prime area for people who want to deliberately misrepresent things.

    It’s a bit like saying “How can you tell me the odds of getting a particular set of numbers in the lottery if you can’t tell me which numbers are going to come up”.

  43. Huff post analysis of guardian poll has got it wrong. They are ignoring the neutrals in the better/worse off questions, and there are a lot of neutrals. Honestly, 15% say better off, 29% worse off leaves 56% dont know/neutral, and then they argue that leavers MUST have believed they would be worse off but voted for it anyway?

    I dont agree with Huff, who seek to argue the economic case did not matter. I maintain these people believe they will be no worse off under Brexit, (that is what the complete figures say), and then go on to consider other factors. I do agree the argument they are making why this age group (who now happen to be pensioners) is more inclined to isolationism.

  44. Really horrible that the egregious Steve Baker, in order to trash *his own department’s* analysis, has been forced to argue that all Government forecasts are wrong.

    Ignoring, for a second, that the report he is tearfully attacking isn’t actually a ‘forecast’ as such, and that he is broadly insulting all of the people he works with from day to day, can anyone else remember a Minister defending himself with the argument that nobody should believe a word that the Government he belongs to actually says, and for the people who voted for that Government to then so approve that message?

    As all policy has to address future outcomes, and Baker has just publicly stated that all Government predictions are wrong, then what does Baker think drives policy?

    Are we actually run by nihilists? Does anyone think this is an adult way to run the country?

  45. Sam,
    you know you linked a response to the whitehall 2016 paper, not this new 2018 one?

  46. @Alberto “You become more conservative. Not so.”

    I think it is rather dangerous to use an American study to justify changes of left-right political position with age in a european country. American politics has always been right-wing from a european standpoint, with a much stronger libertarian tradition. There has never been a socialist government in the USA, unlike the UK and other european countries where eurocommunism also was/is a distinct strand, particularly in countries like France and Italy. The level of support for parties like Die Linke in Germany shows that this is still the case today.

  47. forcasts

    The problem with forcasts is that they are….well ..forecasts.Presumably these are based on the tories staying in power until 2030 and persuing the same economic policies.

    what if as a result of Brexit Labour get into power and unconstrained by the EU enact policies which transform our economy.?Surely if you support Jezza this is what you believe. According to that idea any forecast beyond 2022 is not possible. Therefore if you see Jezza transforming the UK economy outside the EU then the forecast must be wrong and understates the socialist rocket.
    Unless, somewhat oddly, labour supporters want jezza but a jezza constrained by the EU from enacting his policies ie JINO

  48. S Thomas,
    “.Presumably these are based on the tories staying in power until 2030 and persuing the same economic policies.”

    I would presume that all governments do their very best for the economy. So are you saying their policies to date are useless and they are no good at governing? Or are you saying that without the current top notch managers in place, the future is dire indeed….

  49. @ ROBIN – lazy economy sat on the London sofa is an analogy I’ve used for UK before, not sure how it is relevant to your point though.

    You might be interested to know that you can find all the info on predictions versus actuals on that amazing new thing called the internet. I’d encourage you to look into the ‘success’ (sarcasm) of the EU and in particular the EA19 economies performance (I posted a bunch of it on an old thread, can’t be bothered repeating it to the EU blind monkeys). You can use comparative analysis on historics, peer group, etc, etc. I’ll even help you out and suggest if you want to make the EU look modestly OK then avoid 1992(Maastricht) – 2002, cherry pick 2002-2007, avoid 2007-2016, cherry pick 2017, oh and add in Japan as your peer comparison :)

    Of note on the UK side the OBR recently looked in their rear view mirror and decided to revise future productivity based on historic productivity just as others started to question service sector productivity measures and whether UK GDP has been under reported. I wouldn’t take their predictions to the 3rd decimal place!

    Group think is a well known issue. Think tanks that use the same assumptions think as a group.

    @ DANNY – Good spot! The treasury numbers are pretty much the same as 2016 with very minor changes such as modest boost from new trade deals so it doesn’t really matter if SAM linked to old analysis. It would have been a little too obvious to reproduce the exact same analysis with just 2years added to the dates but wow look how close they got to doing exactly that!! Got it completely wrong but don’t review why just rehash it with 2yrs added on and add in a tiny new bit to hope no one notices it’s the same old guff.

    Maybe the highly paid folks doing this kind of analysis are eating too many burgers and sat on overly comfy sofas? Maybe they should back-test their findings using comparative analysis and empirical evidence but hey that would show their models are wrong so I wouldn’t hold your breathe there.

  50. In relation to those of you assuming that the Tories will not go for an early election, I’m not so convinced. It’s becoming harder and harder for the PM to maintain a credible negotiating position with the EU while being attacked by both sides of her own party. A bad result in the local elections could tip the number of MPs calling for a leadership election over the threshold and the rumours suggest the numbers are already quite close to it .

    A couple of weeks ago I suggested that we might end up in a “reverse 1980s” scenario with the Tories splitting over Brexit resulting in a clear Labour victory at the next election (much as the Labour split in 1981 resulted in Conservative victories for the following three elections).

    The few comments on this suggested that Labour was more likely than the Tories to split. But the last couple of days, and notably the willingness of so many Tory MPs to call for a leadership election that would surely risk precipitating such a split, convinces me further that this is a possible scenario. While this would certainly shake up the current polling stalemate between the two parties, it could also have some unexpected impacts. How many 2017 UKIP-Labour switchers would vote for a Tory (English nationalist) party)? How many anti-Corbyn Labour supporters and LibDems would support a Tory (liberal globalisation) party? Do any of you believe this is becoming more than a purely hypothetical set of questions?

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