Archive for the ' General Election' Category


The detailed data that suggests that Corbyn’s own generation, those of 65+, appear to have given up on Labour

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

Pensioners are the fastest growing age group

The figures above speak for themselves. They are based on a subsample of 471 which gives us a greater level of confidence.

Those within this segment are more likely to be on the register and much more likely to vote.

Mike Smithson


Those who actually vote are getting older and this has big political implications

Thursday, February 4th, 2016


New report warns that policies will be even more geared to the oldies

The chart above is from the Intergenerational Fairness Foundation (IF) a think tank researches fairness between generations. It believes “that, while increasing longevity is welcome, government policy must be fair to all generations – old, young or those to come.”

As a result of medical advances and having healthier lifestyles we are living longer. This combined with a far lower participation level in the political process amongst the younger age groups is driving the trend towards the average age of those who actually vote going up.

Developments such as individual voter registration are exacerbating the age balance movement and, inevitably, policies become geared to voters rather than those groups who are less likely to participate.

This is all good news for the Tories. Indeed one of the reasons for the GE2015 polling fail was that the very old age segments were not featured strongly enough.

Buzzfeed which has an interesting report on the issue notes:

“The report, released on Thursday, said young voters had already suffered the “systematic removal of their welfare protections” – such as housing benefit, unemployment benefits and maintenance grants – to fund £5 billion of “universal benefits” for the old.

To counter Britain’s changing age profile, older people must be encouraged to vote in the long-term interests of their children and grandchildren, it said.”

This is not a new issue but it is not one that is going to go away.

Mike Smithson


Leader ratings side by side: How JC’s doing against DC generally & with party supporters

Monday, January 25th, 2016

The next general election, of course is unlikely to be between Corbyn’s LAB and Cameron’s CON. The latter has made his exit intentions partially clear though we don’t know whether it’ll be before the election or afterwards.

There’s doubt on the Labour side as well. Interestingly in recent days PB’s two LAB post writers, Henry G and Donald Brind, have both suggested that they don’t thing Corbyn will be there at the election.

Whatever the chart above can only be interpreted as bad news for Corbyn. He’s doing significantly worse than Miliband and we all know what happened there.

Of real concern should be the ratings from those who voted for Miliband’s LAB last May.

Mike Smithson


The pollsters got the big picture at GE2015 absolutely right provided you ignore the rubbish voting intention numbers

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

The polling inquiry should have considered alternatives to standard voting intentions

While everybody else has been obsessing about voting intention numbers I’ve been looking at how the pollsters did with their lead rating last May and the big picture is in the chart above. This shows the percentage in each of the samples that gave positive ratings to Mr. Cameron and Mr. Miliband.

In the final few days five pollsters asked leader rating questions and the results are featured above. Although their question formats were different the overall trend from each was very similar. Amongst all sampled Cameron had leads of 7% to 20%.

The final two column clusters look at the proportion of declared LAB and CON voters in the specific polls were prepared to give their man positive ratings. Here the LAB voter responses to Miliband are in a fairly narrow range from 68% to 76%. Cameron’s, meanwhile ranged from 81% to 96%.

    That Miliband was trailing across the board amongst those saying they would vote for him is very telling. Clearly the Labour vote was less committed to their leader and, I’d argue, less likely to turn out and vote.

This mismatch between the voting numbers and leader ratings has happened before and when it has the leader ratings have proved the best prediction. In a third of the six general elections in the past 24 years the voting numbers have been wrong. In all elections since 1979 the lead numbers have got it right.

My mistake was not to have produced this chart last May. I’ve learned.

Mike Smithson


Online v Phone at GE2015: Looking at all the polls it’s hard to conclude anything other that the phone ones “won”

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

A possible guide to EU referendum polling?

As we all know with the final polls there was very little difference between those that carried out their fieldwork by phone and those that did it online. But this was very much out of keeping with what had happened throughout the formal campaign.

The chart above illustrates this graphically. 70% of the phone polls had CON leads against just 26% of the online ones. At the same time 56% of the online surveys reported LAB leads against just 10% of the phone ones.

Given the general election outcome it is hard to conclude other than the phone pollsters “won”.

Mike Smithson


UK pollsters should follow the firm that created the industry and move on from party vote shares

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016


Arguably Gallup has the right approach for the future

The screen grab above is from the Election 2016 page of Gallup – the firm that created modern political polling in the 1930s. Its busy with lots of data, analysis and often excellent insights but one thing that you won’t find are voting intention polls.

After a lacklustre performance with its voting numbers at WH2012 the firm took the strategic decision to drop that aspect for WH2016 and focus on elements that can often give better pointers to election outcomes.

    What do independent voters really think of Trump? Are views of Hillary really on the decline after taking a fair bruising in the first phase of the effort to get the nomination? Could Sanders really have an appeal?

The key political questioning by Gallup and many other US pollsters is is on perceptions of favourability which I now regard as the best leader rating format.

One of the the responses you get from UK firms about getting adequate and suitably random samples for vote share polling is the cost. There’s a lot in that. We’ve got used to having a mass of poll data on the cheap.

What I can’t understand is the huge reluctance of pollsters and their media clients to include proper leadership findings in a consistent format so that you can monitor changes from poll to poll. The record here is abysmal. These are far more important than doubtful voting figures for an election more than four years away.

To me the current most significant UK polling trend is the comparatively small proportion of LAB backers who are ready to give Corbyn top ratings on leadership. We had the same during the entire period of Ed Miliband’s leadership and these, surely, were strong pointers that all was not well with the red team.

I for one should have highlighted this much more.

I write while on the train to London for today’s polling inquiry event. I’ll be Tweeting and writing about this later.

Mike Smithson


The official investigation into the GE2015 polling fail has, as expected, put the blame on unrepresentative samples

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

The main conclusion


It cannot rule out herding


The late swing theory


There’s a conference in London this afternoon which I will be attending.

Mike Smithson


If GE2015 had gone the way that today’s ICM sample remembered voting EdM would be PM

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Highlighting the challenge for pollsters on the evening before the GE2015 failure investigation reports

I will after all be able to attend tomorrow’s big event in London when the investigation into what went wrong with the GE2015 polling reveals its findings.

An indicator of the challenge facing the industry comes in the latest ICM phone poll for the Guardian. Although when all the weightings and adjustments are applied the Tories are 5% the stated past vote of those sampled paints a very different picture of the result compared with what actually happened.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Mike Smithson