Archive for the 'Pollsters/polling' Category


Voters old enough to remember WW2 the least likely to be attracted by Mr. Corbyn and his party

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Findings from the latest ICM and ComRes polls


Just 16% tell ComRes that LAB-led JC likely to win GE compared with 65% saying TMay-led CON will

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Round-up of findings from latest ComRes online poll for Indy/S Mirror




With polls tightening & the betting moves to Trump tonight’s PB/Polling Matters TV Show/Podcast returns to WH2016

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Joining Keiran (on the programme is the Politco polling analyst, Steven Shepard (@POLITICO_Steve) and Federica Cocco (@federicacocco) statistical journalist at the Financial Times in the UK.

The Clinton health scare on the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and her team’s reaction to it have reinforced doubts about her and have inevitably given Trump a boost. This is, of course, being reflected in the betting where the latest on the Betfair Exchange has Trump on 34/35%. Clinton is hovering around the 60% level.

Keiran and Steven discuss the impact of Clinton’s healthcare issues on the race and Trump’s path to the presidency. Steven shares the latest US polling news and explains what the Electoral College would look like if each candidate won the states where they lead in the most recent poll. The result might surprise you. Steven also explains what is going on in Ohio and the potential impact of the coming presidential debates.

Keiran and Federica look at parallels between Brexit and Trump’s support and Federica gives a detailed analysis of Trump’s position among American female voters (including an interesting stat about which group is most likely to turnout at presidential elections). Keiran raises Clinton’s trust issues and whether Trump’s tone has changed. Finally, Keiran and Federica look at voter expectations about who will win the first presidential debate and why this might be a problem for Clinton. The show finishes on the debates and a great Blackadder quote from Federica.

The audio podcast is available here.

Mike Smithson


First post-grammar school phone poll sees TMay’s ratings slip 4% & CON lead down 5%

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

The new PM’s honeymoon appears to be drawing to a close

One of the dangers of all polling analysis is to confuse correlation with causation. It is easy to attribute polling changes to the last big political development or policy change so I’m not saying that Mrs. May’s decision to reverse her party’s policy on selective schooling is the reason for today’s numbers.

But in broader terms the way the policy came out made her government look less sure-footed than it has been and also opened up some public splits within her party notably Nicky Morgan the sacked Education Secretary. It also appeared to have left Morgan’s successor, Justine Greening, floundering and, of course, pulling out of Question Time at the last minute last night.

Being PM is a totally different proposition that her last job as Home Secretary and she has to be careful when policy is being originated at Number 10 rather than in the relevant department.

It was, of course, inevitable that her initial ratings were going to fade with time and clearly she wanted to stamp her authority on the government with a new policy direction of her own.

The other set of interesting figures in the poll are the Like/Dislike ratings.

Mike Smithson


The polls did far better at the EU referendum than is widely perceived

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016


High levels of postal voting mean we should look at the final 3 weeks not just the final polls

Just got back from holiday in the south of France and am focusing on the political session at a big betting conference that I am taking part in on Friday . Inevitably we will be looking back at what happened on June 23rd – the biggest political betting election ever.

There’s a widespread perception that the polls got the outcome wrong which is impacting on how their ongoing output is judged particularly by those who don’t like current leadership and Westminster voting intention numbers.

But, I’d argue, the pollsters did far better predicting the June 23rd outcome than they are being given credit for.

    One simple fact. If you just take the polls from the start of June, when postal voting started, there were more published LEAVE lead surveys than REMAIN ones as can be seen in the table.

Even if you just take the final polls each firm published before June 23rd TNS, Opinium, Survation, ICM and YouGov all got it right to within the statistical margin of error.

YouGov’s average LEAVE share in the three weeks before the election was 51%.

There’s no doubt that for some firms their referendum polling was not good compared with what happened but this is by no means the complete picture.

My view is that the scale of early voting by post is impacting on final surveys. Many of those being sampled on June 22nd would have actually cast their postal ballots three weeks earlier which increases the possibility of them not giving an accurate response.

Interestingly looking at the table it was those polls about ten days out that tended to be the most accurate.

All the indications since the referendum was that the postal vote, about a fifth overall, went strongly for LEAVE which is not surprising given that older voters are the most likely to vote in this way. There are some who suggest that the REMAIN would have won if only votes cast on the day had been included.

Postal voting, I’d suggest, means we’ve got to rethink our addiction to judging polls on their final survey. We need to look at complete sets of survey from the time postal votes started being cast.

A final thought is that the polls that tended to be most highlighted were, for whatever reason, those with REMAIN leads. Maybe this impacts on our perceptions.

Mike Smithson


5% of voters show they shouldn’t be allowed out of the house unsupervised or be left alone with sharp implements

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Occasionally polling throws out a result that really does make you go wow. Today’s Opinium poll for the Social Market Foundation contains a doozy. 5% of voters think Jeremy Corbyn is right wing, channelling my inner Sheldon Cooper, whilst I subscribe to the “Many Worlds” theory which posits the existence of an infinite number of Jeremy Corbyns in an infinite number of universes, I assure you that in none of them is Jeremy Corbyn right wing.

I quite like this kind of polling, it allows you see where the political mood is, looking at the below chart, Labour’s floor at a general election might be 25%, although I do acknowledge this is a very simplistic analysis on my part, as the chart below shows 25% of voters identify themselves as left-wing or centre-left. But look at those 45% in the centre, is a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour party really going to win them over? I have my doubts.

What might alarm Labour is the following chart, which shows the demographic that usually votes, those aged 65 and over is the age group with the highest share of those identifying themselves as right-wing or centre-right.



Vox Populi, Vox Dei, the polling that explains why Mrs May is backing creating more grammar schools

Friday, September 9th, 2016


Last month YouGov conducted some polling on grammar schools, some of the polling explains why Mrs May has so publicly endorsed the expansion of grammar schools today, it would be appear people view them as good for social mobility. and they would like their children to go to grammar schools.


However the polling also found more people in favour of scrapping existing current grammar schools/or not creating any more grammar schools. This is probably based on the studies that show ‘that poor children do dramatically worse in selective areas’ as grammar schools might help a few, in totality they are worse for children.


What is probably the most interesting aspect of why Theresa May has chosen to invest so much political time and capital on this, my inner cynic says this is ‘red meat’ for the Tory right whilst she tries to get Brexit sorted out. It also could lead to a clash with the House of Lords and give her a casus belli for reform of the House of Lords.

Additionally Mrs May saying ‘private schools must do more to keep tax breaks’ might go down very badly with the 48% of Tory MPs who were privately educated. I fear Mrs May is fighting the wrong battles and forgetting the Tories enjoy a majority of only 12 in the House of Commons.



If Corbyn wants to win the confidence of Labour MPs he needs to improve his performances in the House of Commons

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016


If Corbyn had more success at PMQs he might improve his poor personal ratings

Today PMQs returns after the summer recess, Jeremy Corbyn has been doing PMQs for nearly a year, and if anything his performances have become worse. His strategy of asking questions sent in from the public just doesn’t work at PMQs.

Today he could put the government on the rack on any number of issues, the junior doctors’ strike or the NHS funding problems, or Number 10 informing the country that what Brexit Secretary David Davis told the House of Commons on Monday wasn’t government policy, but Corbyn’s crowdsourced questions don’t achieve that.

I think the nadir for Corbyn was the PMQs after the country voted to Leave the European Union, David Cameron had announced his resignation, Cameron’s political career was at its lowest point, yet Cameron gave Corbyn a verbal kicking, telling Corbyn he should resign, “For heaven’s sake man, go’ whilst Tory MPs cheered and Labour MPs sat quietly.

It isn’t just me who thinks Jeremy Corbyn is performing badly in the Commons, Ipsos Mori recently polled MPs, they found

Theresa May (25%) and David Cameron (26%) have been voted the most impressive parliamentarians by their fellow MPs. The Prime Minister and her predecessor top the leader board in an annual Ipsos MORI survey which asks MPs to name the parliamentarian they find the most impressive.

This follows a general trend seen over the course of the survey of MPs naming their current party leader as the most impressive parliamentarian.

However, in contrast, mentions of the Labour party leader by Labour MPs have been in decline in recent years, and Jeremy Corbyn receives a record low number of mentions this year, with just one mention from a Conservative MP. Amongst Labour MPs Hilary Benn is named the most impressive parliamentarian, mentioned by 10%. Angela Eagle receives the same proportion of mentions, closely followed by Owen Smith and Yvette Cooper, both of whom receive 7% of mentions.

During PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn often displays the anguish of a man with a bumblebee trapped under his foreskin, if he changed his approach at PMQs he and his parliamentary colleagues might start smiling and have something to cheer about whilst making Corbyn look like a Prime Minister in waiting as he effectively holds the government to account.