Archive for the 'Boris' Category


As well as a unique hair-style Trump has another thing in common with Boris – being overstated in the polls

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Iowa polls
Real Clear Politics

All but one of the Iowa pollsters had inflated Trump numbers: All had deflated ones for Cruz and Rubio

One of the things that I’ve written about before here is that Boris gets over-stated by the polls when tested against real election results. It happened to quite a degree at the last London mayoral election and we saw a similar pattern overnight in the results from Iowa.

The table above from Real Clear Politics sets the data out nicely and this is a key thing to take into account in the coming contests over the next five months.

One of the great elements about an election is that you have real data against which you can compare what the pollsters said was going to happen.

I know that the caucuses are not like normal elections such as the one we’ll see in New Hampshire a week tonight. Working out who is actually going to go to a caucus meeting is a massive challenge. We should expect the proper primaries to be better. In previous White House races most pollsters have kept away from the caucus states because of the complications.

Iowa only gets the intention attention that it does because it is first.

Mike Smithson


It is a mistake to assume that all polling bias is against the Tories

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Remember what happened at GE2010 and the last London Mayoral election

This week’s polling news is going to be dominated by the publication tomorrow of the inquiry into what went wrong the GE2015 polls when all the firms undershot the Tory share by big margins. Unfortunately I’m at a memorial service tomorrow and won’t be able to attend the big event.

In the build up we’ve started seeing some interesting explanations including one which suggests that CON voters are much less likely to take part in polling surveys than non-Tories.

There’s a tendency to think that all polling bias is in one direction against the Tories but this is simply not the case.

The question will be post Tuesday will be what should pollsters do about it in order to ensure more accurate polling at the next election. My concern is that there could be an over-reaction.

    Let’s not forget that at GE2010 all the final polls understated Labour’s eventual share and we had a similar experience at the last London mayoral election as seen in the chart above.

In May 2012 all pollsters got the CON/Boris lead over LAB wrong some by quite huge margins. If there is a systemic pro-LAB effect then why didn’t it show up 4 years ago in the capital? Maybe there’s something specifically about Boris or London that impacts on the general theory?

One factor is that turnout in the mayoralty election was considerably lower than in the general election. Maybe the former attracts just the engaged while with general elections embrace many who are less engaged in the process?

It might be that there is no “one size fits all” solution to UK political polling.

Mike Smithson


Boris the favourite as betting opens on who’ll lead the EU LEAVE campaign

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Boris trails Nigel and Theresa in the polling

As the referendum gets closer a key decision which could have huge impact on British politics in all sorts of ways is is who will lead the OUT campaign.

Survation carried out some polling for LEAVE.EU and found:-

Theresa May 22%
Nigel Farage 18%
Boris Johnson 14%

These findings are somewhat surprising. I’d have expected Boris to do far better after all he is the one English politician who invariably comes out with positive ratings.

This is a hard one and I am far from convinced that the Mayor,, the Ladbrokes favourite, would want to do it or, indeed, whether he would be the best person for the job. It would all depend on how he saw this as helping him become CON leader.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, is a heavyweight national politician and probably has fewer negatives about her than the other main contender, Nigel Farage. The latter would be popular with his base but LEAVE needs to reach a much bigger audience than that and the UKIP lead can be described as a “Marmite” politician.

My view is is the LEAVE should choose a non-politician who carries a large degree of public support.

We shall see.

Mike Smithson


Doing “Best PM” comparisons between Corbyn & Dave is like asking US voters to choose between Obama and Trump

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

We all know that David Cameron is not planning to remain as prime minister after the next general election. So the choice will between Corbyn, unless he’s replaced in the meantime, and AN Other.

So why is it that pollsters, and presumably their media clients who agree to the form of questioning, continue with best p.m. ratings that include the current prime minister? The findings really don’t have any relevance to the next big election battle in the UK.

Thankfully, in its latest poll, Opinium has chosen to put some other options in as well although they still have included Mr Cameron.

This is very much on the American model that we are seeing at the moment as the two main parties go through the process of choosing their nominees for next year’s White House Race. Many pollsters are putting forward to those sampled a huge range of possible options to try and test the water as to which of the leading contenders would be a better choice.

The findings can have a significant effect on the nomination process itself. Those that are doing well are, understandably, going to do their best to try and highlight this the ahead of the primaries.

The Opinium poll tested three choices as CON leader in its latest survey as well as Cameron. The findings are in the chart above.

    The most surprising one, I’d suggest, is how poorly George Osborne is doing against Jeremy Corbyn. Given the very negative reaction that there’s been to the new Labour leader Osborne, surely, should have been polling substantially better than Mr Corbyn as best PM.

Clearly, at the moment, Osborne is being hit by much of the response to his tax credit move which is proving to be unpopular within his party as well as in the country.

Things have to change for George. He cannot go into a conservative leadership contest with him still just level pegging with the Labour leader.

Mike Smithson


An armed coup if Boris or Corbyn became PM? An extraordinarily large number of people say it would have their support

Sunday, October 18th, 2015


ComRes: Osborne 6% behind Boris as “best PM” and just a third say that cutting tax credits is necessary

Saturday, October 17th, 2015


39% say Boris would make a better PM than Osborne who is at 33%.

But CON voters prefer Osborne to Boris by 48% to 34%

CON lead now 13% in latest ComRes online poll for IoS/S Mirror
CON 42%
LAB 29-1
LD 7=   
UKIP 13=
No Corbyn bonus there

ComRes Cameron & Osborne have and 19 point lead over Corbyn & McDonnell on who is trusted more on the economy

Mike Smithson


Great speech by Boris – but it’s had no impact on Betfair

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

The money continues to go on George

This is a story that is probably going to go on for the next 3 to 4 years. Who is going to be the successor to David Cameron and will the prize go to one of the top two favourites?

Those are, of course, the Chancellor George Osborne and the mayor of London Boris Johnson. Until three months ago it was the mayor who occupied the favourite slot. Since then all the sentiment has moved to George. When the election eventually happens both have got very different problems.

    Boris could struggle to secure enough votes from CON MPs to make the final two. George could find it hard in the final ballot of members.

The interesting feature of the past 24 hours is that Boris has chosen to use the controversial tax credit changes as a stick to beat George. With the Sun in full throttle now on side in that battle you have to wonder whether there might be an Osborne U-turn of the type we saw repeatedly after his 2012 budget?

Mike Smithson


Ipsos-MORI boost for Boris in the Cameron successor stakes

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

But George doing better with CON voters

We’re going to have to get used to a lot of this – polling on the next Tory leader who could be the next Prime Minister. What’s striking is the huge difference between the all polled split and the numbers restricted to just Tory voters. George is in third place on 15% in the general rating but on 32% in top slot with the latter group.

The could represent a serious problem for the blue team. Just 7% of the non-CON voter split in the poll go for Osbo compared with 24% for Boris.

    This is a bit like the Corbyn dilemma within LAB. Do you choose a leader with the potential to win converts from other parties or stick with your comfort zone? The red tribe opted for the latter.

On a general matter I’ve long been highly suspicious of Boris polling. Remember how in the last London Mayoral race every single final poll over-stated him with Ken coming far closer than anyone had anticipated.

Mike Smithson