There have been three polls over the last week – in the Sunday papers there were polls from ComRes and Opinium, the regular YouGov poll for the Times last week. Voting intention figures were:

Opinium – CON 37%, LAB 25%, LDEM 16%, BREX 13%, GRN 2% (tabs)
ComRes – CON 28%, LAB 27%, LDEM 20%, BREX 13%, GRN 5% (tabs)
YouGov – CON 32%, LAB 23%, LDEM 19%, BREX 14%, GRN 7% (tabs)

There isn’t really a consistent trend to report here – YouGov and ComRes have the Conservatives declining a little from the peak of the Johnson honeymoon, but Opinium show them continuing to increase in support. My view remains that voting intention probably isn’t a particularly useful measure to look at when we know political events are looming that are likely to have a huge impact. Whatever the position is now, it is likely to be transformed by whether or not we end up leaving the European Union next month, on what terms and under what circumstances.

What did receive some comment was the sheer contrast between the reported leads, particularly because the ComRes (1 point Tory lead) and Opinium (12 point Tory lead) were published on the same day.

Mark Pickup, Will Jennings and Rob Ford wrote a good article earlier this month looking at the house effects of different pollsters. As you may expect if you’ve been watching recent polls, ComRes tend to show some of the largest Labour leads, YouGov some of the biggest Tory leads. Compared to the industry average Opinium actually tend to be slightly better for Labour and slightly worse for the Tories, though I suspect that may be changing: “House effects” for pollsters are not set in stone and can change over time, partly because pollsters change methods, partly because the impact of methodological differences change over time.

What that doesn’t tell us why there is a difference. I saw various people pointing at the issue of turnout, and how pollsters model likelihood to vote. I would urge some caution there – in the 2017 election, most of the difference between polls was indeed down to how polling companies predicted likelihood to vote, and this was the biggest cause of polling error. However when those new turnout models backfired and went wrong, polling companies dropped them. There are no longer any companies using demographic based turnout models that have a huge impact on voting intention figures and weight down young people. These days almost everyone has gone back to basing their turnout models primarily on how likely respondents themselves say they are to vote, a filter that typically only has a modest impact. It may be one factor, but it certainly wasn’t the cause of the difference between ComRes and Opinium.

While polling companies don’t have radically different turnout models, it is true to say (as Harry does here) that ComRes tends to imply a higher level of turnout among young people that Opinium. One thing that is contributing to that in the latest poll is that Opinium ask respondents if they are registered to vote, and only include those people who are, reducing the proportion of young people in their final figures. I expect, however, that some of it is also down to the respondents themselves, and how representative they are – in other words, because of the sample and weights ComRes may simply have young people who say they are more likely to vote than the young people Opinium have.

As regular readers will know, one important difference between polling companies at the moment appears to be the treatment of past vote weighting, and how polling companies account for false recall. Every polling company except for Ipsos MORI and NCPolitics use past vote in their weighting scheme. We know how Britain actually voted at the last election (CON 43%, LAB 41%, LDEM 8%), so a properly representative sample should have, among those people who voted, 43% people who voted Tory, 41% people who voted Labour, 8% who voted Lib Dem. If a polling company finds their sample has, for example, too many people who voted Tory at the previous election, they can weight those people down to make it representative. This is simple enough, apart from the fact that people are not necessarily very good at accurately reporting how they voted. Over time their answers diverge from reality – people who didn’t vote claim they did, people forget, people say they voted for the party they wish they’d voted for, and so on. We know this for certain because of panel studies – experiments where pollsters ask people how they voted after an election, record it, then go back and ask the same people a few years later and see if their answers have changed.

Currently it appears that people are becoming less likely to remember (or report) having voted Labour in 2017. There’s an example that YouGov ran recently here. YouGov took a sample of people whose votes they had recorded in 2017 and asked them again how they had voted. In 2017 41% of those people told YouGov’s they’d voted Labour, when re-asked in 2019 only 33% of them said they had voted Labour. This causes a big problem for past vote weighting, how can you weight by it, if people don’t report it accurately? If a fifth of your Labour voters do not accurately report that they voted Labour and the pollster weights the remaining Labour voters up to the “correct” level they would end up with too many past Labour voters, as they’d have 41% past Labour voters who admitted it, plus an unknown amount of past Labour voters who did not.

There are several ways of addressing this issue. One is for polling companies to collect the data on how their panellists voted as soon as possible after the election, while it is fresh in their minds, and then use that contemporaneous data to weight future polls by. This is the approach YouGov and Opinium use. The other approach is to try and estimate the level of false recall and adjust for it – this is what Kantar have done, instead of weighting to the actual vote shares in 2017, they assume a level of false recall and weight to a larger Conservative lead than actually happened. A third approach is to assume there is no false recall and weight to the actual figures – one that I think currently risks overstating Labour support. Finally, there is the approach that Ipsos MORI have always taken – assuming that false recall is such an intractable problem that it cannot be solved, and not weighting by past vote at all.

Dealing with false recall is probably one reason for the present difference between pollsters. Polling companies who are accounting for false recall or using methods that get round the problem are showing bigger Tory leads than those who do not. It is, however, probably not enough to explain all the difference. Neither, should we assume that the variation between pollsters is all down to those differences that are easy to see and compare in the published tables. Much of it is probably also down to the interaction of different weighting variables, or to the very samples themselves. As Pat Sturgis, the chair of the 2015 enquiry into polling error, observed at the weekend there’s also the issue of the quality of the online panels the pollsters use – something that is almost impossible to objectively measure. While we are wondering about the impact of weights and turnout filters, the difference may just be down to some pollsters having better quality, more representative panels than others.

4,413 Responses to “Latest voting intention and the difference between the polls”

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  1. “(this time a falsely remembered discussion on vertical farming) in an attempt to discredit the person who has just pointed out where you went wrong in your current analysis. That’s a very Trev like tactic.”


    Falsely remembered, lol. You wish…

  2. Alec – what number did you assign to me and Lefty?

  3. Interesting Yougov Welsh poll out today, first for a while;

    Welsh Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 29% (+5)
    LAB: 25% (+3)
    LDEM: 16% (-)
    BREX: 14% (-4)
    PC: 12% (-3)

    , 10 – 14 Oct
    Chgs. w/ Jul

  4. ALEC

    @”So that’s a 3 then?”

    You make my point eloquently.

    Tivialisation is no less present on UKPR than anywhere else. You seem to have embraced it.

  5. Had a long post spiked as UKPR dropped offline.

    On the balance analysis, basically my notion that perhaps UKPR was more evenly balanced on Brexit was wrong.

    I have 64 posters currently in the list, with a majority (33) scoring 1, 7 scoring 2, 8 at 3, 6 at 4 and 9 at 5, average 2.22, so quite a hefty remain bias.

    Number of posts is also remain biased in this sample (10 pages) with 63% of all posts from committed remainers (1s). However, that is distorted by an abnormal number of posts from one particular individual in this sample (accounting for 13% of all posts). This poster has lengthy absent periods, so it is likely that a bigger sample would rectify some of this imbalance.

    Interesting, committed leavers are more likely to post long posts (5 paragraphs or more), with the 14% of posters scoring 5 posting 35% of the long posts.

    It is also notable that the sample coincided with a period where two prolific committed leavers were less active (one well known poster was completely absent from the sample) so again, it is likely that a bigger sample would yield different results in terms of the volume of posts. However, I have paid work to do, so that’s enough scrolling through old posts.

  6. @Alec

    “pathological inability to admit you just got something wrong”


    All I did was talk about the weightings in the graph.

    You then chuck in a load of nonsense about stuff I never said. I didn’t challenge the weightings in the model, I didn’t deny we had taken a hit from Brexit, didn’t claim the 60 Bn figure was definitely wrong, but you did a succession of posts as if I did.

    In your mind, I claimed those things, but I really didn’t. You just made it all up. Which is very toxic to the board.

  7. In the final rush in Brussels it seems. Now talk that while difficulties remain, and deal could be reached tonight.

    EU still suggesting their Irish customs red line is intact, and given the talks last night with the DUP and Johnson, there is a suspicion that the UK has moved to clarify their customs proposals which the EU originally said were not operable.


    @”There’s reasonable evidence that the spread of agriculture in the Early Neolithic made the control of good territory slightly advantageous, but that it was the development of the ox-drawn plough (the “Neolithic robot”) that “made land more valuable and labour less so”.

    A recent study published in the Journal of Political Economy suggests that the data does not support that general idea.The authors propose that a system of mutually recognized private property rights was a precondition for farming , not a result of it.

    This takes us back to the fascinating transition between Paleolithic & Neolithic -the Mesolithic when groups of hunter gathers became sedentary & transitioned to “gardening” wild cereals & other plants as a precursor to the Agricultural Revolution .

  9. @Alec

    “pathological inability to admit you just got something wrong”


    All I did was talk about the weightings in the graph.

    You then chuck in a load of nonsense about stuff I never said. I didn’t challenge the weightings in the model, I didn’t deny we had taken a hit from Brexit, didn’t claim the 60 Bn figure was definitely wrong, but you did a succession of posts as if I did. Which is rather toxic tbh…

  10. @ CARFREW – Germany and Japan both have an “export-led” economic model which I dislike at it relies on the “kindness of strangers” (ie patsies who tolerate their “export-led” model and are obliged to run “woeful and widening” trade deficits to balance global trade). They also need to recycle their trade surpluses by buying foreign assets (mostly debt (eg USTs) but for UK the flip side has been UK selling the “family silver”)

    Interestingly though both Germany and Japan are near the bottom of large developed nation GDP league tables with only Italy doing worse.

    Anyway, we need to consider not just where we want to get to (a balanced current account IMO) but where we currently are and how realistic different options are.

    IMO we will always be a net importer of agri-food and resources as we have no “natural” competitive advantage in those BUT we can and should net import less of both (renewable energy the obvious non-contentious issue to reducing our net import of “energy”, agri-food we should be more like Netherlands)

    In manu goods then unless we wish to compete with China and E.Europe on wages, workers rights, etc then we should focus on high value add (domestic consumption and exports) and import low value add (should be non-contentious). Most countries adopt a “nativist” approach and so should we. Swiss is probably a decent example of some lessons we can learn from (eg see their trade deals with likes of China)

    For services then we are global leader in many fields and have to support that “developed” competitive advantage (notably finance/banking related, see link below) and expand in the industries of tomorrow: Green-tech; life sciences; automation; etc

    PS see next post for some more GDP stuff (repost of stuff I’ve written many times but refreshed for more recent data)

  11. Average annual GDP growth (2Q16 to 2Q19):

    EU “big 5”

    Italy: 0.84%
    Germany: 1.18%
    UK: 1.41%
    France: 1.66%
    Spain: 2.47%

    Simple average = 1.51%
    Weighted average = 1.42%
    (as Germany+Italy economies are larger than France+Spain)

    These five economies are over 50% of EU total so anyone who wanted to say that:

    “Post EU ref UK GDP has been the same as the (weighted) average of the large developed Western nations in EU”

    would be correct in saying so

    The “simple” v “weighted” issues is far more noticeable if you include all the smaller EU economies.

    Simple average of EU28 = 3.22%
    Weighted average of EU28 = 1.91%

    Why? Eastern European economies and “tax havens” are relatively small in size but have grown much more rapidly (for fairly obvious reasons[1]) than the “big 5”

    So if someone was being very “naughty” they could say UK has underperformed EU (simple) average GDP by almost 2% per annum since we voted to Leave.

    Source (edit the “TIME” section to cover whatever period you wish to examine):

    NB Other G7 average annual GDP change same 3yr period (source tradingeconomics, rounded to 0.1%):
    USA 2.5%
    Canada 2.5%
    Japan 1.3%

    [1] They have lower corporation taxes and, in most cases, lower wages (exception of RoI and Lux). Also since the Eastern European nations are considered to be “catching up” then they are allowed higher amounts of state aid AND they are net recipients of EU money – quite the “enabling environment” for stronger growth, non?

  12. PS to above GDP data. I often mention the 0.5% ish per year of UK underperformance and that anything above that would have created an overheated UK economy that would have required “cooling” down (probably via interest rate hikes given ne0liberal Cameron+Osborn would still be running the show)

    So 1.4% plus 0.5% = 1.9% (which is about UK trend growth)

  13. @Carfrew – “He queried the weightings, and suggested some of the fall could be explained by the US China thing.”

    That’s right. Underneath a headline where he said the IFS £60bn number was wrong he queried the weightings for the wrong set of economies and then claimed that factors which had been accounted for were not accounted for.

    “Which is rather toxic tbh…”


    That’s the final part of your response range.


    Completely agree. Free and compulsory, but with valid option to spoil. No one should be forced to pick a bad apple from a poisoned tree.

    I believe here has to be an option to spoil (as in I don’t care) but I think there needs to be an option of none of the above since that seems to get the most votes I also believe we need a more proportionate voting system I personal am in favour of STV PR but I’ll live with anything that is more proportionate than FPTP (oh and the AV system was not proportionate in my view which is why I am surprised the LDs proposed it)

    I find disenfranchisement is becoming a fashionable thing in the UK. The EU folk were not permitted a vote in 2016. The Scots are being refused access to EU negotiations, despite voting to stay in the EU, and NI is being thrown under the bus to get England it’s suicidal wishes.

    As such, I find the political world is quickly becoming a place of ‘us and them’ wherever I look. Boris wanted to divide the nation every chance he got (or he’s so completely inept, he couldn’t help it). His rhetoric and actions, or inactions are reprehensible, not only of a politician, but as the first politician.

    The reality is that our political process makes this profitable. I have constantly said that if you remove the party name on the policy as shown here

    What is funny about this is not that they find these policies attractive but the fact hat they are horrified at the fact the policies are those of their chief bogeyman. Simply put our politics is not about policy it is about tribe.


    My apologies for misreading your comments

    As to your comment about r4cism being a London centric thing. Just to give you some examples of the fact that it often people from exactly where you come from that seem to be key to r4cism. When I went to Polytechnic most black people would not venture to non metropolitan places of learning because of the issue and much heralded stamping out of r4cism in football tended to see arrest of people that lived just outside London was just a standard in terms of news.

    Rarely when you see or here of high profile r4cism the people concerned live in London, but they live just outside like you do

    Lastly my experience of playing football also mirrors this in the late 70s early 80 going to play any team in the Essex leagues was one of the reason I gave up on football

  15. @Jim Jam – I have you as a 2 and @leftie as a 1.

    Happy to be corrected on either.

  16. @Trev

    Sounds reasonable to me. I have a bit of a disquiet about manufacturing, in that while we can see a trend towards less manufacturing in future, and hence rewarding our emphasis on services, one worries that a fair number of people might nonetheless prefer, or be better-suited to manufacturing.

    I’m not sure how many that is, or what’s the best approach to dealing with it, but perhaps it could be on the radar.

  17. Something of a role reversal in Brussels it seems.

    The idea of the October 31st ‘do or die’ was that it was meant to create such pressure on the EU that they would crack under the weight of the ticking clock and give the UK what they asked.

    However, today Barnier has said that Johnson will need to make concessions on a customs border in the Irish Sea by midnight tonight, or have no deal to show to the commons on Saturday.

    At the moment, there seems to be little sign of any substantial shifting on the EU side, and it looks like they feel they have a shove on and will keep looking to push Johnson backwards.

  18. ALEC

    Yes, I am now a committed remainder – what ever number that is.

    I wouldn’t expect Carfrew or Colin to participate- They see themselves on Mount Olympus gazing down on us mere mortals,

  19. @ BANTAMS – Thanks for the Welsh poll. I’ll show the % changes from GE’17 as it shows CON can lots of LAB heartland seats even with a lower overall % (and BXP still hanging around). It will be interesting to see the LAB’17 x-break (my hunch hunch is LDEM’s gains are almost all from LAB but LAB have also lost some VI to BXP)

    CON: 29 (-5)
    BXP: 14 (+14)
    UKIP: 0? (-2)

    Subtotal Leave: 43 (+7)

    LAB: 25 (-24)
    LDEM: 16 (+11)
    PC: 12 (+2)
    Green: 0? (uc)

    Subtotal Remain: 53 (-11)

    NB Doesn’t add to 100

    Popping those numbers into Electoral Calculus would give following for Welsh seats (change since GE’17)

    CON: 19 (+11)
    LAB: 17 (-11)

    PC: 3 (-1)
    LDEM: 1 (+1)

    – All 11 of CON gains are from LAB GE’17 seats
    – the PC lose to LDEM is Ceredigion which PC won by a whisker in GE’17
    – CON would win back B+R which LDEM gained in the recent by-election (but did not have at time of GE’17)
    – quite a lot of marginal seats so seat specific issues and tactical voting will be important (ie in many seats LDEM is a “wasted vote” but would that voter pinch nose and vote for a possible PM Corbyn??)

  20. Peter Cairns (SNP)
    “Rubbish, ignorant self-indulgent Rubbish!”
    “Yours is the infantile emotion driven logic of Trump, only believe what you want to believe, deny what you don’t like is true!”

    I have a different opinion to somebody, and you immediately post childish insults. Do you realize how stupid it makes you look?
    Gave me a moment of amusement though.

    “Oh, and how’s about this for a good argument for Photo ID for voting, bring on. The People’s vote!”

    If you bother to read what I have written about Photo ID for voting you would see that I don’t support the Governments proposal in its current form. You appear to be suggesting that any future referendum should be rigged. Why am I not surprised?

    Thanks for your comments on the investment aspects of Brexit, and for the further reference. I’ll have a good read when I have the time.

    “You’ve just re-stated your ideal scenario, which isn’t part of the problem being foisted on people in reality. This isn’t a plan to introduce free ID cards. It’s a plan to force people to produce photo ID based on existing ‘acceptable form of ID’, all of which are either not applicable to many, or cost the individual financially.”

    I think if you bother to read all my posts on the subject it is quite clear that I do not support the Governments proposals in their current form.

    “Doesn’t it strike you as ironic or frightening that the Conservative Party of all parties is doing this? The party that was supposed to be all for civil liberties and fairness? Or are some voters more equal than others?”

    I certainly think the proposed policy is badly flawed as I have made clear above, and I have therefore emailed my MP who is a Conservative ex-minister accordingly. As a democrat that seems to me the proper thing to do in the circumstances.

  23. CARFREW to Alec
    “As for the model, it’s a model, you’re acting like it’s some immutable law. It’s back to your rather shaky idea of proof again. We don’t really know how good it is. There are things they can do to try and check, but in the end, it’s open to question. You don’t really know if it was 60 Bn.”


  24. PTRP
    “My apologies for misreading your comments”
    No problem.
    Sorry to hear of the problems you have had over the years. I have always hated racism.


    I couldn’t participate in Alec’s OP because I would have had to allocate my designation across three of his categories.
    This would have required % ppns & I’m not sure what they would be myself .
    In short those categories are inadequate to the meaningful definition required-which as has been debated here-is so often nuanced , subtle & ill defined by the holder of the opinion.

    So if Alec has decided for himself how he categorises me he will be wrong. I don’t know if he has-he hasn’t explained.

    As to Alec’s supposed results, of course I cannot place any credibility on them unless he publishes the base data..

  26. So-it looks as though we are now at-There is A Deal by the w/e if there is time-rather than if one can be agreed.

  27. Slight hiatus on the employment front ( ONS) for October. Very small adverse changes -but the confidence boost from an organised mutually agreed Brexit is very very urgent.

    Pay data still good :-

    “In real terms (after adjusting for inflation), annual growth in total pay was estimated to be 1.9% and annualgrowth in regular pay was estimated to be 2.0%”


  28. “I wouldn’t expect Carfrew or Colin to participate- They see themselves on Mount Olympus gazing down on us mere mortals,”

    Ooh Valarie!
    That’s toxic!!!!


  29. Interesting take from the Irish Times on the differences in Brexit polling across the Irish Sea –

    “Mr Varadkar sees his personal rating jump by 15 points since May, ending an 18-month long period of decline. More than half of all voters (51 per cent) now say they are satisfied with Mr Varadkar’s performance as taoiseach, his best rating in a year …

    In addition, there is strong approval for the government’s handling of both the economy and Brexit. More than half of all voters (54 per cent) say the government is doing a good job on handling the economy while six out of 10 voters (60 per cent) approve of the government’s handling of Brexit.

    On making a compromise on the backstop, however, voters are almost evenly split – a small majority among those who expressed a preference (47 per cent) suggested that the government should not compromise on the backstop to achieve a deal, even if this risks a hard border, with 42 per cent in favour of compromise.”

  30. @ CARFREW – Manufacturing

    Much depends on how you measure it. In GDP terms then it’s about 9% of UK economy (US is 11%, developed nations average 14%ish, Germany and Japan both 21%)

    UK and US are much lower than Germany and Japan due largely to chronic trade deficit versus deliberate trade surplus.

    In terms of % of people employed then I’ll use the same data set but note it takes a slightly broader definition.

    Factories will continue to become more automated (ie the trend of less people working in “industry” will continue at a global level).

    However, I’d like to see UK managing the adjustment by creating more “Green” tech and (ie manu Ind) jobs in UK (and poaching a bit of manu back from elsewhere). Overall, I’d expect we’d continue to run a trade deficit in manu goods but ideally a much smaller one than we currently do (and we slap tariffs on those that exploit the current system, especially if they operate as “pollution havens” and the imports are high carbon footprint – see previous comments from a while back on Border Adjustment Tax)

    In that regard LAB’s policy ambition of replacing “fossil fuel jobs” with “green jobs” are good but without an “enabling environment” of lowish taxes, “fair” trade, bit of state aid, continued education and retraining etc then the high-value add jobs, wages and taxes of tomorrow (ie future developed competitive advantages) will not be coming to UK – they’ll go to the countries that have the most “enabling environment”.

    I’m not saying it will be easy, HMG have to do a lot more[1] to “help” UK economy “evolve” and as i’ve said many times we should become #1 country in the World for things like Green-tech as that will do a lot more to tackle Global Climate Change than any increase in a “de-growth” unilateral approach (eg we should scrap the Carbon Price Floor and use “more carrot”, “less stick” in the future)

    [1] Boris+Saj are better than May+Hammond and I guess we still need to “play nice” with our supposed “friends” in EU but I’ll certainly continue pushing for Green UK jobs for UK workers and do what I can to ensure we grasp the opportunities of leaving the CU+SM.

    PS I could go back over “pocket factories”, “built under license”, etc. but we’ve been over most of these topics on UKPR a few times already.

  31. where he said the IFS £60bn number was wrong he queried the weightings for the wrong set of economies and then claimed that factors which had been accounted for were not accounted for.
    “Which is rather toxic tbh…”
    That’s the final part of your response range.


    That easy, huh? Can you prove the £60Bn figure isn’t wrong?

  32. @Valerie

    “I wouldn’t expect Carfrew or Colin to participate- They see themselves on Mount Olympus gazing down on us mere mortals,”


    I already participated.

  33. @Trevors.

    Roger Scully, the doyen of Welsh polling suggests that Labour will remain the biggest party in Wales with 18 seats compared to the Conservatives’ 17 (plus PC on 4 and LD on 1). However a lot of seats flip from Lab to Tory in this scenario including almost all of NE Wales and some seats along the M4 corridor. Surprisingly neither your estimates nor his suggest Cardiff Central going LD which must be possible despite a very Remainy Labour MP.

    Looks like both LD and Brxt will rack up the votes and not the seats while PC benefit from a concentrated vote

    However even on these figures Labour still retain every single Valleys seat (no Bridgend is NOT in the Valleys) showing quite how well they are dug in there

    Your final point about tactical voting etc is of course very pertinent making all these estimates quite fluid

  34. @ToH

    No probs Howard.

  35. @ Valerie
    “I wouldn’t expect Carfrew or Colin to participate- They see themselves on Mount Olympus gazing down on us mere mortals,”

    Ha ha. Your comment made me look back at their responses to Alec’s survey. I could not find Carfrew’s, amongst his usual blitz of posts, but Colin’s provided a good laugh. As a rule, the more people post on this site, the more pompous & self-important they become. But this is a polling site, so there are ways of dealing with those congeniality unable to make a decision!

    Anyway, as Mount Olympus is in the EU they will have to find a new elevated home after Brexit.

  36. @Trev

    “Why? Eastern European economies and “tax havens” are relatively small in size but have grown much more rapidly (for fairly obvious reasons[1]) than the “big 5””


    That’s a good point, and it brings to mind another: that just as less developed countries may grow faster, if an economy is close to full capacity it may well be harder to grow.

    Also, regarding the US, giving it a weighting boost due to the size of the economy would have the issue that as a larger economy it already has the advantage of a big internal market and it also has a continent of resources.

  37. @Robbiealive

    “I could not find Carfrew’s”


    I gave a 3

  38. Ha ha. Congenitally not Congeniality.
    More of the former would of course be welcome.

  39. @Danny (from a while back)

    Yes, passing with less than 1.5m at any substantial speed differential is considered careless or a similar offence. I’d suggest you try being on bike and having someone do this to you if you think it’s unreasonable. I’d also point to rule 163 of the highway code (“give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car”).

    Cycles have every right to be on the public highway and pedestrians generally have a greater right than all else (see Brushett v Hazeldean for a good recent example). This is not, thankfully, the US. There is also still a space saving as the space requirements apply when overtaking, not between 2 wheeled users at stop lines throughput at which is the main determinant of capacity and overall journey times, not the maximum speed reached between junctions.

    If all the pedal and motorcyclists in London took their cars one day it would make the normal traffic look positively free flowing.

    It is certainly far better for them to be separated, but as the furores in London show, that takes time and vested interests do not let go easily. E.g. the unblock the embankment campaign, happily ignoring that the segregated track is shifting a considerably higher amount of people/hour than the general traffic lane and parking it replaced ever did.


    “The order varies but the identical (within MOE) times are consistent.”

    Google also assumes a relatively sedate 12mph pace for cycling. Top gear did an east-west race across London a while back and the car was stone dead last, the local rag has done a few in bristol, same thing. I find the same on my commute, I’m being held up by cars (most of which only have 1 person in), not the other way around, even when one overtakes, I’ll pass them and 3+ more at the next junction.

    Average speeds in urban areas have been in the low teens for many years with the central couple of miles usually under 10mph.

  40. @Robbiealive

    “But this is a polling site, so there are ways of dealing with those congeniality unable to make a decision!”


    I’m usually ok with having a clear position on many things, from Austerity is bad, to storage taxes, from the evils of ramping up
    Property prices, to how Scotland should have a Spaceport (if they want).

    It’s just that Brexit is so complicated, subject to the whims of negotiations, and we’ve no experience on leaving the EU, it’s not as straightforward as some things.

  41. What about Thorium?

  42. The Trevors,
    “In many goods then unless we wish to compete with China and E.Europe on wages, workers rights, etc then we should focus on high value add (domestic consumption and exports) and import low value add (should be non-contentious). ”

    Interesting spiel you have there Trevor, but some immediate difficulties.

    When you say ‘we’, just exactly who do you mean? Do you mean the collective psyche of the British unemployed, which will will this into existence? Because our government is highly non interventionist, and most unlikely to start up any industry. Then, our etablished industry will seek to strangle any competitors at birth, and even more so will foreign competitiros use that old trick of buying up a fledgling company, taking its intellectual propery and making the goods once again in China.

    Even the British companies who do manage to grow from a startup to real size – Dyson for example – then choose to do their manufacturing abroad. There are sound global economic reasons why you manufacture where labour is cheap and then use cheap transport to get the goods to where there is a market.

    If you want to break that cycle, then pobably what you would want to do is create a local market protected by tariffs and regulations, which then makes it more cost effective to produce locally. Oh – we did that – we made the EU.

    So surely the best strategy for a nation having just lft the EU and findin itself economically beset on all sides, would be to join the EU?

    While that sounds perverse, if we do leave I see rejoining fast as pretty likely. Unless, as you say, we are all happy to slash our incomes?

  43. Colin

    Thanks for the link.

    Reasonable argument in that paper too. Pre-history is always great for theorising!

    Neither conflict with my rubbishing of that paper, though!



  44. Welsh Political Barometer poll – Scully’s article is worth reading in full – not least for his caveats.

  45. Is anyone aware of 2016 referendum totals, adjusted for differential death rates?

    Doing some back-of-envelope calcs, around 2 million people have died since the referendum (3.3 years times 607k deaths 2017). Of those, all but around 15,000 were over 18 – that seems an astonishingly low figure for young deaths, but see

    Of those 2 million, perhaps 85% voted in 2016 (because overall turnout was 72.2%, but 90% for 65+), so it seems reasonable to assume 1.7 million referendum voters are now dead. And the vote split amongst over-65s was 65% leave, 35% remain.

    So it looks to me as if 1.105m leave voters have shuffled off this mortal coil, accompanied by 595,000 remainers.

    Which would leave votes cast by those still alive as:

    Leave 16,305,742
    Remain 15,546,241

    So, for a while longer the leavers still have it. At that rate of attrition, it will be another 6 years before remainers are in a majority. Unless, of course we consult the 2.3m citizens who have turned 18 since the referendum.

    But, as I said, these are fag packet calculations. Anyone have anything better?

  46. Colin,
    “A recent study published in the Journal of Political Economy suggests that the data does not support that general idea.The authors propose that a system of mutually recognized private property rights was a precondition for farming , not a result of it.”

    I dont see what evidence there is for this in the article you linked. They seem to presuppose private ownership of land farmed by an identifiable set of private owners.

    But I dont see why there need be private ownership at all. Presumably the natural thing for a hunting band accustomed to working together for the common good, to do would be to farm collectively also. The article argues that early farming would be far less productive than hunting, but to me it seems obvious you cannot hunt all the time. Once you have enough antelope to eat today, you have free time to do something else.

    Antelope might not keep so well for the winter months. whereas a grannary full of grain might do so very much better. So that farming would allow you to create preserved food to tide you over the periods when the hunting was bad. As such it would be an adjunct to hunting, which people would carry on part time in between their main occupation of hunting.

    As to ownership, the obvious thing would be for a heavily armed band of the sort they imagine to claim a territory. In time this might then lead to property rights as presumably some people would choose to specialise in running the farming operations, and leadersip would elide into ownership. It is easy to imagine the old and sick would not want to move around all the time, and would naturally setle. So a town would develop surrounded by a hunting ground, and in time this would become a nation.

  47. @ Valerie to ALEC

    “Yes, I am now a committed remainder – what ever number that is.”

    I had to scroll back a few pages to find the original post, as I have been doing other things.

    In summary – I agree with Valerie.

    My only caveat is that the expected lifetime of the earth is estimated at 7.5b years, so we cannot be sure that the EU, or human life in general, will have survived until then.

    Or perhaps the negotiations will still be going on, but either way I won’t be here to see it all.

  48. That YG Welsh Poll may be accurate but I would caution against using as a part of an aggregation approach along with Scotland and England only polls. It is a single poll and from one of the 2 companies recording the lowest Lab scores.

    It would be a big surprise if the Tories out-polled Labour in Wales when push comes to shove.

  49. SJ – Peter Kellner said the cross over occurred earlier this year with voters still alive who voted in the ref plus new young voters breaking as per polls.

    This assumed no change.

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