Archive for the 'About the site' Category


Who should we include in the next PB/YouGov Favourability ratings?

Friday, November 18th, 2016


In August PB was able to have its own YouGov favourability ratings. I am pleased to say that we are now in a position to go forward with a similar survey.

Last time we had:-

Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump
Vladimir Putin
Angela Merkel
Conservative Party
Labour Party
Liberal Democrats
Theresa May
Boris Johnson
David Davis
Phillip Hammond
Jeremy Corbyn
Tim Farron
David Cameron
MPs generally
Your MP

Clearly some of these are no longer relevant although I would like to continue with quite a few of them so we can make comparisons.

Just looking at the list who should be taken out and who should be included.

Your suggestions would be most helpful.

Mike Smithson


Introducing the PB/YouGov Favourability Ratings – a new development by the site

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

First survey has Corbyn ahead of Trump, Putin AND Cameron

As many will know I am a great fan of leader ratings which I believe are a better pointer to political outcomes than voting intention numbers. There are several different formats. Ipsos-MORI ask about “satisfaction”, Opinium goes for straight approval number while the standard YouGov question is asking the sample whether those named are doing well or badly.

The format I like best and the one which the standard in the US is favourability which I have been encouraging UK pollsters to adopt over the past few years. ComRes does them intermittently and occasionally Survation and Opinium have asked questions in this form but that’s about it. My view is that we need standardised favourability questions asked at regular intervals so we can make comparisons.

So I am delighted to announce that under an arrangement between PB and YouGov we will be able to have these on a regular basis and we will cover organisations like political parties as well. The net numbers from the first set are in the chart above.

One of the comparisons that is very striking is to look at responses based on EURef vote as in the table below. REMAIN and LEAVE voters have such a totally different view of the world.

The full data set from the poll should be published on the YouGov site later today.

Mike Smithson


A big thank you to those who’ve contributed to the post-referendum appeal to help keep PB going

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Charles2 (1)

It has become something of a PB tradition after big elections for an appeal to be made for funds to help keep the site going. This year we’ve been fortunate to have had a robust enough technical infrastructure to deal with the massive traffic that was being generated. Alas this requires a lot of effort (thank you to my son Robert) and costs money. Quite a few other sites fell over at times.

If you would like to add your contribution please click the button below. It would be very much appreciated.

A note on the picture This year I’ve had a “significant birthday” and the present from my wife, Jacky, was to commission professional genealogical research into my ancestry.

The picture, of my father’s father, Charles, (standing on the left in the wagon) campaigning in Nelson, Lancashire, was discovered during the process. It also threw up something I had not known before – the family of my mother’s foster mother were Conservative activists in Burnley.

Mike Smithson



Updated EURef polling tale and a reminder about tomorrow night

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

EU Ref polling   Google Sheets

Next PB gathering – tomorrow from 1830
Venue – The Shooting Star close to Liverpool St Station – London


Date for your diary: Next PB Gathering Friday April 8th + the local by-election results

Friday, March 11th, 2016

We’ve got a lot to catch up on

Just to confirm – the next PB gathering takes place at the Shooting Star on Friday April 8th from about 1830. We’ve returned to a Friday evening slot following requests from a number of people who say that will be more convenient.

It will be the third time we have used the pub, the Shooting Star, which is very close to Liverpool Street station.

Thanks again to the slim-line Fat Steve for making the arrangements.

If you’ve never been to one of these sessions then it really is worthwhile. It’s great fun just putting faces to names.

From Harry Hayfield this week’s local by-election results.

Kendal, Strickland and Fell (Lib Dem defence) on Cumbria
Result: Liberal Democrat 1,067 (60% +8%), Labour 307 (17% -10%), Conservative 172 (10% unchanged), Green Party 128 (7%, no candidate in 2013), United Kingdom Independence Party 106 (6% -4%)
Liberal Democrat HOLD with a majority of 760 (43%) on a swing of 9% from Labour to Liberal Democrat

Maidenhead, Riverside (Con defence) on Windsor and Maidenhead Royal
Result: Conservative 916 (53% +4%), Liberal Democrat 397 (23% +7%), Independent 162 (9%, no candidate in 2015), Labour 144 (8% -5%), United Kingdom Independence Party 95 (6% -5%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 519 (30%) on a swing of 1.5% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Mike Smithson


StJohn returns with his annual Christmas Day Crossword

Friday, December 25th, 2015


A welcome return to what was a PB Christmas Day tradition

There was a time when Christmas Day on PB wasn’t Christmas Day without the annual crossword by St John. We’ll this year he’s back and here it is. Enjoy and have a great day.

Thanks to everybody who had made the site what it is. To my son Robert whose hobby since for nearly 12 years had been keeping the technical infrastructure working a big thanks. Also to TSE who’s my stand-in and let’s me have regular holidays as well as providing regular insights from his Conservative campaigner perspective.

Since the general election I’ve sought to extend the range of regular contributors to join Harry Hayfield who does the local by-elections and David Herdson who has been contributing here the longest.

We’ve now got the pollster Keiran Pedley with the excellent PB/Polling Matters podcasts; my former BBC news colleague Don Brind, Alistair Meeks, formerly Antifrank, as well as many others.

A thank you to Mark Hopkins of Nojam for the excellent competition widgets and also, of course, the many commenters on the site who regularly share their views, insights and occasionally betting tips that prove to be winners.

Finally there’s the moderation team who are there to keep me out of the law courts and to try to ensure the conversation remains civilised.

Everybody works on a voluntary basis.

I should add that I’m hoping that we’ll see the return of Marf in the New Year.

Happy Christmas to everybody.

Mike Smithson



1 Former parliamentarian attends Point to Point as Prime Minister (10)

6 Preserves King out East (4)

8 State banks are broken (8)

9 VW reportedly hid a carbon problem ultimately abhorrent to nature (6)

10 Prime Minister briefly identified with his opponent’s wife (4)

11 Red Queen is a female chess piece (4,6)

12 Michael Collins was one revolutionary leader eliminated over a Union (10)

14 With old age society decreases (5)

17 Condition of second philanthropist (5)

19 Writer is a woman’s MP (9)

22 Liberal Democrat leader, surprisingly sure at replacing Left, is of

variable quality (7,3)

23 Collaborators in a Northumberland village (4)

24 Intellectual Prime Minister nearly retired holding a speciality (6)

25 Reagan’s campaign message was characteristically negative (8)

26 Blooming short Prime Minister (4)

27 Governing while wearing political colours is Panglossian (4-6)


1 Right wing was caught up in dodgy conflicts (5,4)

2 Pitched battles over Clause Four in the past? (3,4)

3 Franklin Island or resort (8)

4 Republican Cat supports a pair of Democrats in America (8,7)

5 Whitehouse fought for this intern (6)

6 Rebel leader was a cabinet minister (4,5)

7 Chancellor said to be overly sentimental (7)

13 After retreating President Kennedy withdrew (9)

15 Disengaged and rejected Healey embraced idle action (9)

16 Tony Benn’s time as the most divisive figure (8)

18 Tory leader insulting to the French Prime Minister (7)

20 On course to overtake and expose Left wing extremist (7)

21 No single lover was once an MP (6)


Alex Salmond tells the Commons about this morning’s PB Osborne betting tip

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015


Date for your diary: Next PB gathering October 29th 2015 – Shooting Star pub close to Liverpool Street Station

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

We’ve got a lot to catch up on

The last PB gathering in London took place in March while EdM was odds on favourite to be the next PM, UKIP appeared to be heading for at least half a dozen seats, the LDs had 56 MPs, the SNP had just six Scottish seats and issues like whether the Honourable Jeremy Corbyn would kneel before the Queen were beyond anybody’s imagination. Since then an enormous amount has happened.

Like last time we are using a different pub a few yards away from our previous regular haunt, Dirty Dicks. The start time is 6.30pm. Be there.

Thanks again to the slim-line Fat Steve for making the arrangements.

If you’ve never been to one of these sessions then it really is worthwhile. It’s great fun just putting faces to names.

Mike Smithson