Gov. John Hickenlooper – my 80/1 longshot for the Democratic VP nomination

May 25th, 2016

This afternoon I got a tip from someone in Colorado that the state governor, John Hickenlooper, was in with a good chance of becoming Hillary’s VP choice.

I quickly went into Betfair and got £11 at an average price of 81.59 without knowing a thing about him. I then Tweeted what I’d done and since then the price has moved in sharply.

A little bit of time on Google later indeed confirmed that he was widely being talked about for this role and other factors seemed right.

Clinton’s big problem is that she cannot possibly risk choosing a senator from a state which currently has a Republican governor. The battle for the Senate in November is going to be critical and the her party needs four gains to win control. She simply cannot add to the pressure by choosing one of a number of likely Senator VP picks.

The way it works is that if a Senator was elected VP then a vacancy would occur which would be filled by the choice of the Governor in the relevant state. That rules out some front runners in the Veepstakes.

Hickenlooper, and I just love that name, comes over very well and his being on the ticket could help the Democrats to take the state in the presidential election.

Mike Smithson


Survation phone survey continues the EURef polling divide: Remain 8% lead remains

May 25th, 2016


EU Ref polling   Google Sheets (1)

I’m off to London this after to record the first PB/Polling Matters TV Show in our new studios near Victoria. Keiran Pedley and I will, no doubt, spend a lot of time discussing the polling and trying to make sense of it.

There’s also been news of a London EURef poll.

Mike Smithson


Ex-Treasury minister & Brexiter, Andrea Leadsom, is having a good war and should be given a bigger role

May 25th, 2016


She’s starting to look like a possible leadership contender

A new YouGov referendum poll published overnight has both sides level-pegging – a marked change from last week’s 4% REMAIN lead. It is a sharp reminder that this could be very close and reinforces the big polling story of this election – the huge divide between phone and online.

If it is a very tight outcome then there will be enormous pressure on David Cameron and we could have a new CON leader and PM within a few months. The question for punters is who?

Of the Tory Brexiters IDS, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling and, of course, Boris Johnson have been the most prominent but I don’t think any have done their leadership prospects much good. Boris has been all bluster and he’s seen a sharp decline in his position on Betfair. As to the others it is hard to see Michael Gove as a leader although he has wide support within the party.

    The one who is impressing most at the moment is Andrea Leadsom the former Economic Secretary to the Treasury and now climate change minister of state.

She became an MP at GE2010 after a very successful career in the city. During the LIBOR scandal in 2012 she made a name for herself with some of her cross-examinations on the Treasury committee and for criticising George Osborne. On Monday’s Newsnight EURef discussion she was the lead for her party and showed how hugely effective she can be

She comes over as a fearless and powerful communicator and should be given a bigger role in the LEAVE campaign which is so dominated by men. She was state school educated and a graduate of Warwick.

I’ve had punts on her overnight as next CON leader a PM at longshot odds at up to 90/1.

Mike Smithson


How old men being available on Friday nights to do online polls might be skewing results

May 24th, 2016


Very early responders to poll invites might not be representative

After YouGov’s methodology changes last week ICM have announced their own measures as we approach the big day.

This is the firm’s Martin Boon he explains it on the pollster’s website:

“..Interviews tend to build up quickly on each Friday night, probably because certain types of people are more readily available and willing to participate. Indeed, there is a remarkable consistency across our online polls, with big Leave leads being built up in each hour from 4pm to 9pm on a Friday, partially mitigated by big Remain In leads every hour thereafter until the survey closes, ostensibly by Monday morning for data delivery to clients.

We believe it likely that the weight of interviews generated before 9pm on a Friday has the effect of consolidating a Leave lead as a result of the survey process itself – demographic quota cells fill up and ‘close’ once the target number has been hit. If a specific cell, such as 65+ men, is filled early with people disproportionately likely to support Leave, no additional 65+ men will subsequently be allowed on the survey. As a result, interviews with 65+ men are unlikely to be politically or attitudinally representative of all such 65+ men even though in demographic terms they are identical. But they are not, and their presence possibly introduces a small skew into in favour of Leave (or UKIP, depending on the question looked at).”

As a result the pollster is to stagger the release of invites to take part in its political polls and also to introduce a new weighting.

“..However, it is unlikely that process change outlined above will solve the problem other than partially. Respondents more inclined to Brexit may be equally fast to respond to their invite at other times during the weekend, thus still affecting the data but less overtly. As a consequence we are overlaying a new weighting scheme to reflect the profile of response by quickness to participate.

We will not publish full technical details of this weighting scheme, for fear of conditioning its power. However, we will be applying a “time of response weight” to reflect disparity in response between early responders and late responders. The net effect of this weight, so far, has been to reduce the Leave share by up to 2-points, with a corresponding increase in the Remain share by up to 2-points. It is entirely possible that the strength and direction of this weighting effect will change, if the pattern of response changes on any individual survey.”

The latest poll sees IN and OUT level pegging following a 4% OUT lead in last week’s poll.

Mike Smithson


The Trump-Boris mural on the Bristol wall – the betting chances of what’s depicted actually happening

May 24th, 2016

Winner 2016 White House Race

Next CON leader


Two of the last four phone polls have REMAIN leading amongst 65+ voters

May 24th, 2016


And not one of the last 6 polls has OUT ahead amongst CON voters

The big BREXIT polling news overnight is splashed on the front page of the Telegraph – that in its latest ORB referendum phone poll the over 65s are splitting for REMAIN.

After taking out those who did not give a voting preference the 65+ group split was 54%-46%. Given that the overall poll sample size of 800 that ORB has been using for its BREXIT phone polls then clearly the older voter subset is going to be very small.

What gives this an added resonance is that this is the second phone poll in less than a week to have found the oldies splitting like this. Ipsos-MORI had the same picture in its Standard phone poll last Wednesday.

One of the great hopes of the BREXIT campaigns is that whatever the polls might be saying generally the oldies were going for them and, as we all know, these are the voters who are most likely to turn out.

    If other pollsters start showing the same trend then OUT could be in real trouble. At the moment this is just two polls.

Another subset split that is looking more robust statistically is what Tory voters are saying. ORB has them splitting 59%-41% to IN. This means in all of the past six referendum polls both online and phone that OUT doesn’t have a lead with any of them.

YouGov had the Tories dividing 50-50 while ICM phone, ICM online, Ipsos-MORI, Opinium and now ORB have REMAIN in the lead amongst supporters of Cameron’s party.

This is the revised polling table the month so far.


Mike Smithson


Jeremy: You are right about austerity but you have a long way to go to win over voters

May 23rd, 2016


Don Brind with some comradely advice

One Twitter user was apparently disappointed when she followed tag #LabEcon2016. She was looking for Labradors but what she got was Labour’s State of the economy conference.

The organisers were delighted that the event, hosted by shadow treasurer John McDonnell and closed by party leader Jeremy Corbyn was trending second on Twitter after the Cup Final.

The large and enthusiastic gathering heard Corbyn’s signature line “austerity is a political choice not a necessity” endorsed by the Cambridge based Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang who for many was the star of the day. He said “No sensible economist agrees with the way the Conservatives are handling the economy at the moment, so I hope this conference will play a major part in developing Labour’s alternative plans for a more dynamic, fairer, and more sustainable economy”.

Chang was in an impressive line up of speakers ranging from Unite general secretary Len McCluskey to Adam Marshall of the British Chambers of Commerce and Helen Walbey from the Federation of Small Businesses by way of the economists Linda Yueh, Jonathan Portes and Paul Mason.

Chang observed: “Perhaps if the Conservatives listened to a broader range of viewpoints the economy wouldn’t be in such a mess.” But as one speakers observed during a session on debt the Tories are still getting way with the Big Lie that Labour caused the crash in 2008.

The conference unfortunately clashed with the Fabians’ summer conference which meant Labour front benchers including Angela Eagle the shadow business secretary and Seema Malhotra the shadow chief secretary to the treasury were shuttling between South Kensington and Bloomsbury to chair workshops and breakout sessions. No great hardship — it’s six stops on the Piccadilly line.

For those of us who did both events we got two Labour leaders in one day.In a witty and passionate 45 walk-and-talk address to the Fabians Gordon Brown made the Labour case for Remaining in the EU. He said the party should appeal to the nine million Labour voters, to young people and to mothers who, he said “are worried about the prospects for their children in the future and want to know where the jobs will come from.”

Hearing the two men a few hours apart prompted the question of Team Corbyn’s attitude to the last Labour government. On his way the conference walked past the South Ken museums – he observed that they were free of charges thanks to the Labour government. Many Corbyn supporters are, however, lukewarm about Labour’s 13 years in power.
Yet those governments had many achievements – and they are part of the current case for voting Labour. Bright new radical policies only get you so far – especially if voters hear you trashing what went before.

A Twitter spat involving Ann Pettifor, one of the party’s economic advisers, provided an interesting example. He initial tweet suggested that John McDonnell’s commitment to a sustainable low carbon economy was a break with the past. Under challenge, she quickly conceded that Ed Miliband, as the first Climate Change Secretary, introduced the Climate Change Act in 2008. She claimed however these achievements and policies were “not part of Labour’s narrative & speeches.”

In piled John Ruddy in defence of fellow Scot Gordon Brown. An NHS workers tweeting from Montrose, 60 miles up the coast from Brown’s old seat Ruddy fired off a series of tweets:

“Gordon Brown introduced the Climate Change Levy, reformed company car taxation, introduced APD (advanced passenger duty), set up Stern Review.
“He also created Landfill tax (related to methane emissions), and escalated the tax, created the fuel duty escalator.
“He created differentials for vehicle excise duty, so that more polluting vehicles paid more, the aggregates levy.
“He cut VAT on energy saving materials & micro generation, and introduced Council Tax rebates for energy efficiencies.”

Quite an impressive list. For me, one of the mysteries of the 2015 election was that Ed Miliband, who would have become the greenest Prime Minister we ever had, was virtually silent on the environment. Did that matter? Well, look at these 10 ultra marginals seats where the Tory majority is less than the Green vote.

Seat Tory Majority Green vote
Gower 27 1161
Derby North 41 1618
Croydon Central 165 1454
Bury North 378 1141
Morley&Outwood 422 1264
Plymouth Stn & Dport 523 3401
Brighton Kempton 690 3187
Weaver Vale 806 1183
Telford 730 930

Without those ten seats David Cameron wouldn’t have an overall majority. Voted Green got Blue, was how it worked out.

Jeremy Corbyn’s has differences with his predecessors, especially Tony Blair but he should surely embrace the Miliband-Brown record on the environment. If you want voters to back you need to show them that when they vote Labour good things happen.

Don Brind


Re-formatting the EURef polling table so it strips out the don’t knows

May 23rd, 2016

EU Ref polling   Google Sheets

This should make comparison easier

The election is a month today and postal votes to overseas addresses are starting to be mailed out. To coincide I’m switching my regular polling table to election mode stripping out the don’t knows and just give the figures of those who had a voting intention.

Where a pollster has not provided this information I have set my spreadsheet so it calculates this itself.

Showing net numbers is, after all, how general election polls a presented and it allows us to compare different pollsters on the same basis. It also has the effect of inflating the Leave or Remain lead.

I’m expecting the number of published polls to increase as we get closer. This week there will be the first Survation phone survey for some time which it is to produce regularly in conjunction with the IG spread betting firm.

Since last Monday’s ICM online comparison survey all the other surveys have been pointing to IN leads.

My table list polls in chronological order of their fieldwork. This means that if new polls are published with a fieldwork date before the others in the table then it will not appear at the top. YouGov’s modal test fits into that category as well as the latest TNS poll.

The next online surveys could be interesting. Will, like YouGov and Opinium, show a narrowing of the gap with the phone polls?

Mike Smithson