Given the success of the approach at the 2017 election I expect we’ll see several MRP seat models this time round. The first one to emerge however is one constructed by Focaldata, using data from mixed sources, including YouGov, that Best for Britain have used to drive a tactical voting website. It has caused some controversy – particularly on the comment pages of the Guardian – with people arguing over the validity of its recommendations. I won’t get too far into that (vote for whoever the hell you want), but thought it was probably worth making a few comments about MRP itself, considering it will crop up again through the campaign.

What is MRP?

First, we need to understand what MRP is. It stands for multilevel regression and post-stratification, which almost certainly doesn’t help. There is a academic paper by Ben Lauderdale and his colleagues who run the YouGov MRP that explains it in great detail here, however the short version is that it’s a modelling technique aimed at producing robust estimates for small geographic areas from large national samples. In the context of elections, that means coming up with estimates of vote share in single constituencies based on a big national sample.

Using traditional techniques even very, very large samples don’t contain enough respondents to be a good guide to individual seats. If you had a huge sample of 50000, divided by 632 seats it would still give you less than 100 people a seat – which wouldn’t be enough to produce decent data. I’ve seen this as a naive criticism of the Best for Britain MRP model (there are only 70 people per seat!) but in fact that is exactly the problem that MRP is intended to solve.

MRP works by modelling the relationship between demographic and political variables and voting intention (the multilevel regression part), and then applying that to the demographics and political circumstances in each individual constituency (the post-stratification). So in this case, an MRP model would look at how demographics like age, gender and education relate to vote intention, and how that differs based on political variables (Is there an incumbent MP? Is it a remain or leave area?). That model is then applied to the known characteristics each seat. What that means is the projection in an individual seat is not just based upon how respondents in that seat say they would vote, it’s effectively also based on how respondents with the same demographics in seats with similar political circumstances say they would vote.

How well does it work?

At the last election YouGov had an MRP model that performed very well – correctly predicting the hung Parliament and some of the more unusual election results like Canterbury and Kensington. Clearly, given the accuracy of the YouGov model, it is possible to use MRP successfully to produce decent seat level estimates from a big national sample.

Best for Britain’s defence of their tactical recommendations relies heavily on how well the YouGov MRP model did in 2017. However, not all MRP models are necessarily equal. It isn’t one single model, it’s a technique, and it’s possible to do it well or badly. It is not certainly not a magical guarantee of accuracy. If we look back to 2017 the YouGov MRP model got all the attention, but it wasn’t the only MRP model out there. Lord Ashcroft also commissioned an MRP model, but that wrongly predicted a Tory majority. Just as some polls have been more accurate than others in recent years, some MRPs may be more accurate than others.

The things that drive the quality of a MRP model should be the quality of the data that’s going into it, and the quality of the model itself – have those designing it picked demographics and political factors that allow them to accurately model voting intentions? As an external observer however, it is quite hard to judge that. For the YouGov model there is its track record from 2017. From other MRP models, we’re driving a bit blind. We know it is a technique that can be very successful if done well, but we won’t really know if it is being done well until it’s compared to actual election results.

Are tactical voting recommendations based on an MRP model sensible?

In principle, yes. MRP is obviously not perfect or infallible – nothing is – but it is an established technique for producing estimates of support in small geographical areas from a larger national poll. Certainly it should be better than using a crude uniform swing, or just basing recommendations on what the levels of support were at the previous election and assuming nothing has changed since.

In practice, of course, it depends on the quality of the model and the tactical decisions that people make based upon them – I certainly don’t intend to get into that debate, especially since I expect there will be various rival tactical voting sites with different recommendation, and perhaps different aims and motivations.


543 Responses to “MRP models and tactical voting”

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  1. @CMJ – indeed. I had wondered if a lot of ex-labour BXP voters might be put off by a pact with the conservatives but looking at polling most BXP voters seem to want a pact so that may not be much of an issue. One problem may be that con-remainers currently planning to vote conservative may be put off by the cons teaming with farage – it may also help unify the remain/anti-tory vote.

  2. @James E

    I’ve actually compared the regional movements I get vs the ones YG released:

    London

    Party – My Regional Model – YG Regional Result

    Con – 26 – 29
    Lab – 33 – 39
    LD – 22 – 19

    Rest of South

    Party – My Regional Model – YG Regional Result

    Con – 43 – 42
    Lab – 18 – 17
    LD – 22 – 21

    Midlands Wales

    Party – My Regional Model – YG Regional Result

    Con – 38 – 38
    Lab – 25 – 25
    LD – 13 – 14

    North

    Party – My Regional Model – YG Regional Result

    Con – 34 – 32
    Lab – 32 – 30
    LD – 13 – 16

    Scotland

    Party – My Regional Model – YG Regional Result

    SNP – 44 – 42
    Con – 20 – 22
    Lab – 11 – 12
    LD – 10 – 13

    Overall I’m ahppy how close they are. London Labour looks to be the furthest out, but others are within 3%.

  3. @CMJ

    Not impugning your motives at all, and I know you well enough by now to be confident that you’re not grinding political axes either, but in the same way that you’re not in the slightest bit bothered about my scepticism, and nor should you be, and that you fully intend to continue to conduct your modelling, and feel totally free to do so, you must too in return grant me the privilege of saying that I think they’re a bit rubbish for all the reasons I’ve already and often stated! It’s a free world and all that :-)}

    On to other related matters.

    As for opinion polling, I suppose it’s a bit like crystal ball gazing, certainly if you then go on to extrapolate the snapshot-in-time data to forecast and predict a future event, but maybe it’s better to read the book itself. In other words, let’s look at what history tells us about past elections and how parties have tended to perform when actual votes are cast. Again, all sorts of provisos and caveats need to apply to historical research as a means of forecasting the future (yes, yes, I know, history rarely repeats itself!), and I also accept changing political landscapes and the fact that General Elections take place in unique social and political capsules all of their own, but history can be informative nonetheless.

    So, I’m going to have a go. I’ve looked back over all the elections since 1979 and checked the winning margins in %VI terms, not seats, that have existed between Tory and Labour in all those elections. Pre-1979 I’ve ignored for now, but my cursory political history expertise makes me think it was a similar story before then in terms of UK election results. Apart from the 1983 and 1987 Thatcher and 1997 and 2001 Blair landslides, the margins between the two parties have never got anywhere near double figures. Thatcher’s 1983 landslide saw the biggest of the lot at 15% and Blair was second biggest in 1997 with 12%. The other two were 11% (Thatcher in 1987) and 9% (Blair 2001). All the rest, including when both parties plumbed nadirs in support, the margins have only been between 3-7%. I suspect, as I said, that the same applied in the 50s and 60s, but I haven’t fact-checked those.

    In other words, the sort of winning margins suggested by some of the current polls (12-16% for the Tories), are almost without precedent in the history of British elections. We last saw these sorts of pre-election poll leads in 2017 and we know what happened there.

    So, the question I’m pondering is this. Does this election feel like a rerun of 1983 or 1997? Does Johnson look like a Thatcher or Blair on her and his way to an historical and almost unprecedented political and electoral triumph? Does this country feel like one that is about to present Johnson, and his party,a party that hasn’t won a workable Commons majority for over 30 years it has to be said, with a historical triumph?

    Because, to believe these current polls, you’ve probably got to believe all these other impossible things before breakfast too.

  4. “”My observation is if you go to areas where there is wide flat land good for arable crops, the hedges are gone. Areas steeper and more varied, they are more likely to remain.””

    Yes, this is probably true for much of England.

    But total UK biodiversity reflects the whole country, and some areas with flat ground are not in climates helpful for arable cropping. So livestock and grass for sileage predominate, and there is much less ploughing.

    Back in 1990 as part of the ITE countryside survey I had to record a kilometre square near Beauly that was totally flat and in multiple crofting-derived ownership. It was a nightmare, with many owners, many small narrow fields, their boundaries a mix of dykes, hedges and wire fences. To cope with the need for bigger farms the individual farmers had acquired strips scattered within and around the kilometre square.

    I went past last summer, and it looked much the same – still lots of boundaries and probably not good for wildlife along them or in the actual parks.

  5. northernruralmodeoman
    a boxing day election !
    ……………………………………………
    Check the rules on GE pause if a senior Royal leaves us. Then sing God save the Queen (and senior Royals) with extra enthusiasm.

  6. @Crossbat11

    It was that of way of thinking that made me convinced it would be a hung parliament in 2017, despite everyone arguing tonthe contrary and on here. It was frustrating at the time when people would laugh at me but I had the last laugh.

  7. @Alec

    I enjoyed that Tweet and many of the replies. I couldn’t decide if this one was sincere or sarcastic though:

    “Is outrageous that a one-party scottish state could determine English affairs in this way, England needs its own parliament, not a place where Scots can be and influence”

  8. @rossbat11
    You wrote:
    “based on what happened as recently as only two years ago, we know how foolish it is to think that opinion and voting intention doesn’t shift, and shift appreciably. It is widely accepted too that the electorate has never been more volatile than it is now, nor has party loyalty been so low”.
    …………………………………………………..
    Exactly
    ……………………………………………………

    You then refer to “psephological poppycock”.
    If Jack Grealish posted on this site, he would post such a phrase.

  9. @Davwell – another point re CAP that I have raised previously is that for an objective judgement, thought should be given to a comparative analysis of other non EU agricultural policies. Eg, is the EU agricultural policy better or worse than other nations with regards biodiversity decline and conservation objectives?

    I raise this as a question, as I have no idea of the answer, or even if anyone has looked at this.

  10. NICKP

    @”You’d think they’d just stick to printing money, wouldn’t you?”

    I think thats what McDonnell will end up doing.

  11. CB,

    Just has to be like 2015 – tight but just about workable majority (no votes lost by HMG) with 5.5 lead or 1979 more comfortable with 7& lead.

    I actually think that with LDs doing better than both ’79 and ’15 the Cons may need 7% to secure a functional majority but 5% could enough if the votes split right for them.

  12. “I think thats what McDonnell will end up doing”

    As opposed to starting with it, a la Osborne et al?

  13. @CROSSBAT11

    For “are almost without precedent in the history of British elections” you could as validly write “have occurred in almost half of recent British elections”. Or indeed “haven’t been within reach of either party in nearly two decades”.

    I agree with a lot of the sentiment in the rest of your post, as to how it feels etc. But I don’t think it’s really a statistical argument.

  14. ALEC

    @”It’s the way companies run their accounts, with asset values and future liabilities included in their annual accounts on top of the simple cash balances, and it’s the way pension funds operate.”

    I don’t think those are good examples for your cause.

    Companies have to show Fixed Assets separately from Net Current Assets in their Balance Sheets Cash is included with the latter, not the former.
    There is a reason for this-investors can see how liquid they are. It is Net Current Assets which shows them-ie Receivables & Inventories minus Payables. Investors look at this and the Companies Cash Flow Statement with care. Because if the company has an inadequacy of liquid assets , and it ever needs to start liquidising its Fixed Assets then it is probably headed for Insolvency.

    What lenders want to know is two things :-
    *Can you repay the interest?
    *Can you repay the loan at end term?

    And the answer to those questions is to be found in your Cash & Quasi Cash balance-not your Factory & Plant & Equipment. You need those to run the business & generate Cash Flow.

    Pension Funds’ key focus is Income Stream vs Pension Payments. Funded Corporate Schemes , whose Trustees need to have triennial actuarial valuations are told in the Actuaries Report whether the Contributions will pay for the Forecast Pensions over the next n years-Cash Flow-again.

    A Mortgage Lender for a property owner knows that if its/his/her cash flow fails & they cant make repayments-the Property can be sold.

    What possible interest would a Gilt Buyer have in the notional value of a State Motorway or Office Block.? It would only be of interest if the Country had defaulted on its Debt Repayment Schedule. And by then , a bunch of National “assets” will be of no interest whatsoever.

    PIMCO’s statement is a reminder that their primary interest is in the ability of UK to service its Debt & repay on maturity.

  15. @ OLDNAT / SNP – No one want to comment on the % of SNP that are Leavers??

    Anyway, it’s a shame YG didn’t ask more questions or conduct a large enough poll to be able to show regional x-breaks but our previous discussions on collapse of SLAB (and whether lean “Unionst-nose pinch” v “Indy-LoC-Remain”) is not answered by this poll.

    (eg SLAB VI could well be moving to SNP in SLAB-SNP marginals but moving to SCON/SLD in ABSNP seats)

    IE are the inter-party moves “lumpy” or “smooth”.

    Hopefully we’ll get a larger and more detailed Scottish poll soon.

  16. NICKP

    If you are referring to the BoE’s Asset Purchase Programme ( QE)-that isn’t Helicopter Money-printed and gifted to the State.

    BoE has bought Gilts already in issue which have redemption dates , at which dates, the BoE receives repayment from The State. If/When the current BoE Monetary Policy to reinvest redemptions in Gilts and maintain the stock of QE is ceased, the stock of QE will run down to zero naturally as Gilts are repaid.

    The Fed has started this already.

  17. catmanjeff,
    “The MRP model of YouGov proved to be rather good in 2017”

    Not sure exactly how it worked, but polling appeared to be a rolling programme collecting more samples each day. The goal was to keep using new data to add to the existing data set, instead of discarding the old data as a traditional poll does.

    While what they are doing seems sensible and as you said got a good outcome at the end, if there is this lag in collecting data, their result will be out of date. One might expect a poll wholly conducted at the last moment before polling would be more accurate.

    But obviously, they must have thought about that, and you do it anyway to find out how well it works.

  18. Quite a move in bookies in last 24hrs or so, but I’m not sure why (some inside info on TBC polls??)

    CON majority (326+) is now below evens (approx 55% likely from around 40% a short while back).

    There are LOTS of rumours of BXP candidates standing down and a few seats for sure but in most cases these are very much still rumours and if a previously named BXP candidate pulls out then HQ can parachute a new one in

    Anyway, a good time to book a bit of profit and see if get the chance to reset IF we get a good LAB poll

  19. The English people can sometimes hold views that some might describe as arcane or esoteric. This tweet –

    “As an Englishman in England I can only marvel that Scotland, uniquely in the world, is a nation which hosts three foreign political parties which are dedicated entirely to maintaining rule, exploitation, extraction, and domination by a foreign nation which holds Scots in contempt.”

    Perhaps we are interested in the kakist.

  20. @Crossbat11

    To paraphrase Public Image Limited, they could be right, they could be wrong!

    At this stage they should be taken with a large dose of salt – in a couple of weeks they will in my opinion a lot better guide as to what may be happening.

    I very much doubt this election will be a simple re-run of ’17. In the early stages of ’17 the polls seemed to support the narrative that Corbyn was un-electable, and Labour was down to its base etc. They had just been pummelled in local elections, riven by internal divisions – and for those of us who in many ways were fixated with the notion that Labour could only win by adopting the ’97 approach, it all seemed to point to an inevitable Tory landslide.

    Now even if the polls are currently out and the Tory lead is 5/6% rather than 10/12%, with the added dynamic of LDs and Brexit, it could turn out like ’05 when with 35.2% Blair won a comfortable working majority. Alternatively, if votes fall a certain way Labour could be the largest party.

    Whilst I can see a chance of scenario similar to ’17 where Lab manages to hold its ground in its heartlands – as has been the case since ’15, their potential roads to an overall majority is severely handicapped by their marginalisation in Scotland.

  21. @Crossbat11,

    You say the Conservatives haven’t won a workable majority for thirty years. Granted their working majority of 12 seats in 2015 wasn’t very impressive but if they were to win a working majority of 12 this December, wouldn’t that give Boris Johnson an excellent chance of being able to successfully push his WA through Parliament, bearing in mind also that many of the opponents of the deal on the Tory side have been deselected through loss of the whip?

    So if he were to win a majority of 2015 proportions or even less, then as much as other parties might want to take comfort from his failure to secure the more convincing majority that the polls would suggest, he would in fact be pretty satisfied and be able to get his way on the central issue of the day and probably more besides?

  22. @Danny

    The 2017 You Gov MRP relied on a dataset of about 50,000, based on collecting 7,000 new contacts everyday. The previous seven days data was used to create the priors used in the analysis.

    This way the shifting VI fed into the model.

    https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2017/05/31/how-yougov-model-2017-general-election-works

  23. Alec @ 1.18 pm poses a sensible question on how non-EU countries are doing in biodiversity trends.

    I think the answer is definitely no better than the EU with its CAP, but the collection of data is too meagre and too patchy to be sure.

    Not only are there too few ecologists in most countries to do the checking, but also the pressures evolve. More livestock, more people, more fires, more floods, changes in management, farm and forest machinery, changes in attitude.

    It`s hard enough to check on CAP with its gradual shift from being production-led to being conservation-inspired (but not conservation-controlled). From having worked with conservation people from Afghanistan, Argentina, Austrailia onwards…, I rate their efforts as too little from too few, in line with what they have told me.

  24. New UUP leader Steve Aiken moving back somewhat towards remain, after previously saying they had to respect the referendum result: “we either leave as the whole UK or stay in the EU as the whole UK”.

  25. Peter W

    Not prejudice, but analysis. Indeed, as was noted on Twitter, the Labour co-leader plan post-Corbyn (assuming the report is accurate) is devised to avoid lysis. [1]

    “the new job-share would feature one MP from a Leave-backing town and the other from a Remain-backing big city.
    The aim would be to unite not just the party but also represent the country’s disparate areas” as well as being gender balanced.

    Balancing the leadership on a single characteristic such as sex, in a party with a largely coherent agenda (as most Green parties do) is relatively simple.

    The Labour plan is to embed current major splits within the party into its leadership structure, with a complex set of balancing acts –

    City v Town
    Clearly, the royal charter definition of “city” is not meant – otherwise St Asaph’s MP would have an equal claim to the leadership as London. Any Labour party rule would have to specify some population (?) criterion to distinguish between city and town.

    Remain v Leave
    Since this has to be combined with the city/town division, it can only be determined by the vote in 2016. No MP for a town that voted Remain could stand, nor could an MP in a city that voted Leave. Since the purpose is to “unite the party”, it would make no sense for a Leaver MP who represented a Remain city to be allowed to stand, or a Remainer MP representing a Leave town – or to have 2 Remainer, or 2 Leaver co-leaders.

    “the country’s disparate areas” begs the question of what is meant by “the country”.

    UK? Labour don’t stand in NI.

    GB? The above rules mean that only a Remainer Labour MP representing a Scottish “city” (if any) could stand – and that would automatically exclude every London MP – just consider the distribution of Labour party members!

    E&W? Similar considerations to Scotland apply. A Remainer Lab MP for Cardiff means no London MP. A Leaver MP from a Welsh town knocks out MPs from every Leaver town in the North of England.

    Then add in the gender issue! If the leaders are elected simultaneously, they’ll need to stand in pairs to form a working leadership. If they are elected one after the other, then the second one will inevitably be seen as junior.

    It’s a daft idea that I doubt would be implemented but if they did, in their desperation to avoid lysis, then it is farfetched to imagine any outcome other than a Remainer MP from London and a Leaver MP from a Northern English town being successful.

    [1] Which I had to look up! “Lysis – the disintegration of a cell by rupture of the cell wall or membrane”

  26. The Britain Elects poll tracker – now updated.

    Labour appears to be the beneficiary of this week, up 1.4pts:

    CON: 37.8% (+0.2)
    LAB: 27.0% (+1.4)
    LDEM: 16.0% (-0.5)
    BREX: 10.1% (-0.7)
    GRN: 3.4% (-0.1)

  27. One for Old Nat:

    Scottish Westminster voting intention:

    SNP: 42% (-1)
    CON: 22% (+2)
    LDEM: 13% (+1)
    LAB: 12% (-3)
    BREX: 6% (-)
    GRN: 4% (-)

    via @YouGov
    , 23 – 25 Oct

  28. @Trevor Warne

    “Quite a move in bookies in last 24hrs or so, but I’m not sure why (some inside info on TBC polls??)

    CON majority (326+) is now below evens (approx 55% likely from around 40% a short while back…”

    Almost certainly. There’s something amiss with bookies getting this data before the punters but I suppose it was dvef thus.

    “There are LOTS of rumours of BXP candidates standing down and a few seats for sure but in most cases these are very much still rumours and if a previously named BXP candidate pulls out then HQ can parachute a new one in

    Anyway, a good time to book a bit of profit and see if get the chance to reset IF we get a good LAB poll.”

    Whether BXP candidates formally stand down or not, Farage has realised the game is up and is now making far easier for BXP voters to switch to Con.

  29. Bantams

    That’s the poll that I linked to the tables of, upthread. Also the one from which I took the current (well 2 week old) VI of 2017 voters.

    —————————————–

    Statgeek

    Agreed about the dangers of using %s from differently sized groups. That’s why I included the number of respondents for each party. I did think about reverse calculating the numbers, rather than listing the %s – but I couldn’t be bothered!

  30. @EdgeofReason

    “I agree with a lot of the sentiment in the rest of your post, as to how it feels etc. But I don’t think it’s really a statistical argument.”

    Never claimed it was. It was an attempt to use the results of past elections to assess the likelihood of a whopping great big Tory popular vote win on December 12th, despite opinion polls currently suggesting one is probably on the way.

    In a nutshell, the polls say yes, history says no.

  31. @TREVOR WARNE

    I suppose it only takes a very small adjustment in the forecast to tilt the odds on something fixed like “CON majority”. If your model says 323 seats that’s going to be a bit over evens for a majority and 328 a bit under?

  32. @CB11

    It seems to me that two things are at play which were not so in previous elections.

    First, the nation is now divided into two tribes which are related to but not identical with the original Tory/Labour tribes i.e. there are leavers and remainers and quite a lot of churn within these tribes as Labour voters have shifted to LibDem and Tories have gone to Brexit. If the polls are to be believed the remainers are now a slight majority but they are much more seriously divided with the LibDems taking a lot of the Labour vote. Hopefully the discipline of First Past the Post will force many potential LibDems in the North and Midlands to hold their nose and vote for Labour. Similarly one has to hope that in the South many Labour people will forget the rose garden and vote LibDem. There is, however, no guarantee that this will happen and if it does not, Johnson could well clean up.

    A second, less perceptible difference, is that Labour looks to me increasingly old-fashioned, and it is represented by someone who although in my eyes an honourable man nevertheless can easily seem old fashioned and out of touch. The ‘old-fashioned’ nature of Labour may be more apparent than real but it has to do with the perceived power of the unions, the fact that Labour has not had a female leader, the language of some of the speeches etc. And it may be reflected in perceptions that leaders are either ‘inauthentic’, Oxbridge educated SPADs, and a far cry from the Aneurin Bevans of the past or alternatively dinosaurs (as per perceptions of Corbyn). These changes have traditionally been shown in the gradual erosion of the labour vote which was, in my view, arrested in 2017 by the arrival of Brexit, a binary choice which divided the country and reinforced the effects of first past the post. Contrary to what I see as the complacency of my local labour party, I think they are vulnerable to the kind of sudden collapse in support which affected them in Scotland.

    Unlike Alec I don’t get the feeling that Labour are campaigning well at the moment. I turned on the TV and accidentally hit upon a Labour rally at which i found that everyone was going to be able to afford an electric car by 2030 and that Corbyn had more integrity in his little finger than the whole of the Tory party put together. Somehow it felt contrived and not believable, the attempt to start chants of ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ didn’t really take off and even the jokes seemed to fall flat. I have absolutely no intention of voting anything other than Labour and feel that they should have the best of the argument. At the moment, however, I don’t think that they are.

  33. CHARLES

    I hope you don’t mind me remarking on your 3.15pm post-even though it isn’t addressed to me ?

    Your contributions here are always so measured and polite , I always read them.

    What interests me is your fear -being someone who does not want a Johnson Government-that Labour look “old fashioned ” and contrived”.

    My fear-being someone who does not want a Corbyn Government-is that Cons look out of touch , Brexit obsessed and flippant.

    I don’t know whether either of us are right or wrong, but it does seem sort of symptomatic of UK politics today, that we both have such little faith in the leaders of our preferred party.

  34. Re Colin @ Charles comments on Lab/Con leaders

    How do LD supporters on here view Swinson’s performance?

  35. @ RAF / EOR – I’m a bit of cynic and since the potential for inside info exists[1] then I tend to think folks will act on it.

    [1] EG Either “quarantined” polls for Sunday press that show that a BXP->CON (or LAB->LDEM) move OR something dramatic from Farage, BXP side.

  36. Any sign of the parties discussing Brexit in terms other than slogans?

  37. Reflecting on what this election is actually about, and I think it’s impossible to argue that it isn’t fundamentally Brexit, however lab may seek to steer it.

    So the choice becomes between 3, or arguably 4 options
    – Definite Brexit BXP-style. No deal
    – Definite Brexit Tory style. Johnson’s deal followed by a transition period which quite likely will not allow a deal to be finalised, so maybe BXP style, but delayed
    – Revoke LD style
    – Second Ref Lab-style

    But the reality is there is not a snowball’s chance of BXP going from 0-320 seats nor of the LDs going from 23 to 320.

    So the determinant of what happens is whether Con or Lab ends up as largest party (or party able to muster a majority). SO the choice is between Johnson and his deal (and possible no deal) and Corbyn and his TBD deal and ref between that and remain.
    Revoke isn’t going to happen and nor is no deal, unless it happens in a year’s time after another 12 months of negotiations.

    It seems likely to me that this will dawn on voters as the campaign progresses and drive a polarisation towards the two ‘main’ parties – Scotland, NI and maybe Wales excluded – so it may end up a bit more like 2017 than is generally expected.

  38. SGP now not standing in Perth & North Perthshire.

  39. “SGP now not standing in Perth & North Perthshire.”

    Will that help keep a Conservative out?

  40. ON:

    As a floating, possible-LD voter, I am not convinced yet that Jo Swinson is going to be a good leader.

    What I want in order to decide which way to vote is regional or constituency polling that will help show the most likely candidate to oust WAK`s Tory.

    More care from Swinson and showing a greater willingness to compromise are needed.

  41. Prof Howard

    It’ll certainly help SNP to keep the Tories at bay.

  42. Pete B might be interested in this but I won’t be holding my breath.

    http://classonline.org.uk/blog/item/a-new-deal-to-tackle-inequality

    “Rising impoverishment has been driven by the profound economic and social changes of recent decades: the erosion of high and semi-skilled skilled and well paid, secure jobs; the excessive freedoms awarded to finance; the fall in private and public investment; a regressive tax system; and austerity economics – all fuelled by an endemic ‘cycle of privilege’.

    Despite the scale of poverty in Britain, official attitudes towards the poorest are not much softer than in the Victorian era. Society is a long way from the national consensus on social security of the post-war era. In the last decade, policy towards the poor has become increasingly harsh, with poverty, as in the nineteenth century, widely dismissed as self-inflicted – ‘a lifestyle choice’ as some ministers like to call it.”

  43. CROSSBAT

    I wonder if my re-post of this link might be of interest to you.

    https://gapingsilence.wordpress.com/

  44. @Oldnat

    I did it, but with the large proportion of DKs, and the two year gap, didn’t think it was worth making anything of it.

  45. Davwel

    I doubt that it will be long before you get the kind of analysis from YG that will give you the indications you want.

    I’ve just completed the big YG poll that others have referred to.

    Lots of questions on general political attitudes : repeated questions in different forms on depth of commitment to favoured party : voting intention in constituency – all the kind of stuff that is needed for MRP analysis,

  46. Good Evening all from a now dry Bournemouth.
    There have been interesting comments here about previous elections. The 1959 GE produced a solid increase in the Tory Majority.

    As to Labour winners since the fall of Attlee (he won two out of five GE’s), I have been re reading accounts of how Callaghan was heard in total silence when he paid tribute to Wilson after Harold resigned. By contrast Callaghan’s tribute to Mary Wilson was warmly applauded. Harold won 4 out of 5 GE’s. Similarly, Blair is not popular either with the rank and file. Kinnock said of Ed M, quoting Len McCluskey: ‘We’ve got our Party back’

  47. Prof Howard

    I suggested previously that SGP saying they would stand in P&NP was a “power play” on the SNP, to make the SNP a bit greener.

    Seeing Pete Wishart’s response to their standing down makes me think I was correct –

    I am really grateful to the Perth and North Perthshire Greens for not standing a candidate against me. I hope that I can repay this generosity with my work in Parliament.

  48. Nice article from Number Cruncher has been e mailed out. Thank you! A very interesting mention of Tim Bale’s assertion that Labour has a superior machine on the ground.

  49. @CROSSBAT11

    @EdgeofReason

    “I agree with a lot of the sentiment in the rest of your post, as to how it feels etc. But I don’t think it’s really a statistical argument.”

    Never claimed it was. It was an attempt to use the results of past elections to assess the likelihood of a whopping great big Tory popular vote win on December 12th, despite opinion polls currently suggesting one is probably on the way.

    In a nutshell, the polls say yes, history says no.

    I suspect I’m misusing the term then, because to me saying that past results suggest something about the likelihood of a future event is very much making it a statistical argument. Regardless tho, my point would still stand – your “history says no” depends on the timeframe chosen. If you choose the last 40 years or the last 100 years, double-digit wins happen quite often. If you take a starting point in the 1950s then it’s quite unusual.

  50. ON:

    ”I don’t know about parties elsewhere, but the SGP and SNP seemed to get off to a reasonable start.”

    I haven’t seen anything about the SGP, but I’m sure that Nicola Sturgeon’s comments this week about ‘don’t bother picking up the phone’, and her suggestions that she might work with Corbyn to ”keep Boris Johnson out of power”, will go down like a cup of cold puke south of Hadrian’s Wall.

    The thought of an unholy alliance between the pipsqueak leader of a tinpot party and an unreconstituted Trotskyist determining the future direction of the UK will, I suspect, drive many waverers into the blue corner.

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