YouGov suggests that turnout in the PCC elections is going to be higher than expected. Time to bet?

November 13th, 2012

Should we be a bit cautious about the findings?

Ladbrokes have adjusted their PCC elections turnout bet following the YouGov poll at the weekend that had 28% in the areas where elections will be held saying they were 10/10 certain to vote.

    On the face of it this makes the current 5/6 that it will be 20% or more quite attractive but there has been some ambivalence from the pollster about its 28% figure.

Senior YouGov political polling executive, Anthony Wells, had this to say on his blog – UKPollingReport.

“…28% of people in areas with elections say they are 10/10 certain to vote in this week’s election. Turnout is notoriously difficult to predict in opinion polls – people invariably overestimate their own likelihood to vote – but at general elections the proportion of people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote has not been a bad guide to actual turnout. 28% however still sounds quite high considering some of the predictions we’ve seen, just lower than the sort of level more energetically contested local elections usually get.”

That doesn’t sound like a pollster being confident about his numbers.

I got on at Ladbrokes when the threshold was 17%. Now it’s moved up to 20% I would be more cautious and would probably give this bet a miss.

An issue with YouGov, of course, is that its polling is restricted to members of its polling panel and it might well be that they have a greater interest in politics than the electorate as a whole.

What could assist turnout levels are the simultaneous other elections taking place on the same day in a number of places. We have three Westminster by-elections, the Bristol mayoral election as well as scores of local council by-elections.

Mike Smithson

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