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On election day 2010 the betting markets had CON with a 100 seat lead – it finished up at 49 seats

April 23rd, 2015

Actual seats won: CON 306, LAB 257, LD 57

One thing that really annoys me is when people start suggesting that betting prices are the best guide to what is going to happen.

If this were the case then favourites would always win. They don’t. In the two TV debates during this campaign the betting markets made Nigel Farage favourite to be judged the winner in post debate polling. He wasn’t.

But a better example of the shallowness of the perception is 2010. The above panel was published on PB just as the polling stations were opening. As can be seen the markets over-stated the Tories and LDs and over-stated understated LAB.

    So we had the extraordinary position that the spreads had CON with a 100 seat lead – compared with the 49 seat one that they actually achieved.

I don’t bet to provide a prediction tool for journalists who can’t be arsed. I bet to try to win money. My bets are not predictions but personal assessments of value. Are the chances of something happening better in my view than the odds being offered. Sometimes I get it right – sometimes I don’t.

Betting prices are NOT a good indicator of political outcomes

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble





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For reference for two weeks today: The key LAB-CON battlegrounds in England and Wales (Sortable table)

April 23rd, 2015

Listed above are all the constituencies in England and Wales which would change hands on swings between 2% and 6% from CON to LAB.

In most of them Lord Ashcroft has at some point in the past year conducted constituency specific polls. The least marginal, Crewe and Nantwich was polled earlier in the month.

My working assumption is that almost all of Labour’s Scottish seats are going to go and my focus is on the CON-LAB battlegrounds in England and Wales.

Remember that in terms of plurality each LAB gain from the list offsets Two losses to the SNP in Scotland. This is because each of the above seats going sees the LAB total going up by one and the CON total declining by one. So the gap moves by two.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Marf for the evening and David Herdson with the half-time PB Poll Average score

April 22nd, 2015

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But it’s still very much in knife-edge territory

The profusion of election-period polls means that it’s now possible to produce a PB poll average figure for shorter periods than before. Consequently, I’ve split the period from April 1 to May 6 into two parts and am using these instead, the first of which is for the scores for up to April 21:

Con 34.5 (n/c)
Lab 33.7 (-0.4)
UKIP 11.4 (-0.8)
LD 8.5 (+0.6)
Grn 5.8 (+0.1)
Oth 6.1 (+0.4)

Good news for the Blue team? Perhaps. Certainly the headline figures are relatively positive with the highest Tory lead since October 2010 and a decline in their two main rivals but CCHQ shouldn’t get too carried away for at least three reasons.

Firstly, a lot rests on that early April ICM poll which put the Tories six points clear. That wasn’t a result wholly out of line with their previous polling but was still some way top-side of what anyone else is reporting, or that they have previously and subsequently found. That doesn’t mean it was wrong but we ought to be sceptical. Having said that, even if we exclude it (which we shouldn’t), the overall Con lead would still be up on March.

Secondly, how much further will UKIP fall – if at all? Their share hasn’t been lower since February 2013 and means they’ve lost almost a third of their votes in half a year and it’s probably more than coincidence that their decline coincides with the recovery in the Con share. In one sense, there’s scope for further reduction: their current rating is still well over treble their 2010 total. In another, it means peeling off voters who’ve been with Farage and Co since midterm. Perhaps the SNP question will help Cameron there but it’s late in the day now.

And thirdly, a 0.8% lead is not much to write home about in the big scheme of things. Remember that the Tories were 7.2% ahead across GB in 2010, so the polls still suggest a net 3.2% swing to Labour overall, and substantially higher in England. Unless that’s inefficiently distributed – and previous Ashcroft polling suggests the opposite – Labour would probably just end up ahead even after losing 35 or so to seats the SNP, but Miliband would have far more supporters in the Commons.

Elsewhere, the Lib Dems return their best score this year but 8.5% is still only just over a third of their 2010 score. Indeed, in terms of vote share per constituency contested, it would be their worst ever at a general election. Incumbency may help to an extent but they do seem to be looking at a sizable cull given that there’s now precious little opportunity for the Yellows to make a mark on the campaign.

With just a fortnight of campaigning left, can anything deliver the country from a deeply hung parliament? Barring a dreadful error from one side or another (including the pollsters), it seems unlikely.

David Herdson



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New ComRes battleground polling finds UKIP struggling in its key targets

April 22nd, 2015

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This does not bode well for Farage in Thanet South

South Thanet
Boston and Skegness
Thurrock
Forest of Dean
Great Yarmouth
North Thanet
East Worthing and Shoreham
Sittingbourne and Sheppey
South Basildon and East Thurrock
Castle Point

A new ComRes/ITV news battleground seats poll finds the Tories holding on reasonably well in 10 seats which UKIP has made key targets. Like in the similar poll last week of LD defences in the SW the pollster has not named candidates which I think is wrong this close to the election.

The aggregated numbers speak for themselves and suggest that the Tories are set to withstand the UKIP threat in almost all of them. The list includes, of course, Thanet South.

    One key factor is that the LD collapse has bolstered both the CON and LAB votes, and is one of the key reasons for UKIP’s failure to make first or second place. 25% of 2010 LD voters say they will now vote LAB, and 21% say CON with just 8% opting for UKIP.

As you’d expect older voters are much more likely to vote UKIP than younger voters. Only 8% of 18-34s say they will vote UKIP, compared with 25% of voters aged 55+.

This was a phone poll and as we have seen these tend to show smaller shares for UKIP and bigger shares for CON than surveys carried out online.

I think Rob Ford, one of the leading academic who has studied UKIP, makes valid points in these Tweets.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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New study points to UKIP’s support base being more middle class than was perceived

April 22nd, 2015

farage and carswell

British Electoral Study data sheds different light on the party

An analysis of data from the UK’s longest-running study of electoral behaviour has revealed how the bulk of UKIP’s support surprisingly comes from professional and managerial middle classes.

British Election Study Co-Director Professor Geoffrey Evans and BES Research Fellow Dr Jonathan Mellon, from Nuffield College Oxford, say contrary to the popular view advocated by some academic researchers, working class voters are only a little more likely to support Ukip.

And Ukip voters, they add, resemble European ‘radical right’ parties: an alliance between the working class, the self-employed and employers – and not the disenfranchised, ‘left behind’ voters, described commonly by the media and influential academic commentators.

Professor Evans said: “The idea that many Ukip voters are working class and that they therefore pose a threat to Labour’s support in the election has gained considerable currency ….But we find this is wrong; the working class basis of Ukip has been strongly overstated.The Party’s strongest supporters are often the self-employed and business owners.”

“Even within the working class, Ukippers tend to be low level supervisors, and not the disadvantaged semi and unskilled workers often thought to provide the core of the Party’s support.”

Dr Mellon said: “Ukip’s support is very similar in social composition to many other so called ‘radical right’ parties elsewhere in Europe – an alliance between the working class and the self-employed and employers – rather than a party of the ‘left behind’.

“And significantly in electoral terms, the differences in sizes between social classes means that numerically, the bulk of Ukip’s support comes from the larger professional and managerial middle classes.”

Quite what all this means on May 7th is hard to say. If this analysis is right then LAB would appear to be less vulnerable to UKIP than had been thought.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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“Cameron has wanted out for a while – just wants to go out on a high” : Tim Montgomerie

April 22nd, 2015

Screenshot_2015-04-22-00-43-25

Dramatic Tweet exchange with Andrew Neil

This is not the sort of message that the Tories want to come out just two weeks before the big day and at a key moment with postal voters.

Cameron’s great strength is that he’s always been seen as more popular than his party something that had appertained since he became leader nine and half years ago. There is little doubt that he is an electoral asset.

Even though Miliband’s ratings have risen during this campaign he still trails the CON leader by some margin. So questions about how long Dave wants to stay are central to the whole Tory “offer” as we saw right at the start of the campaign. Then he made clear that he would stay for the length of the next parliament.

The danger now is just as Labour’s likely reliance on the SNP is dominating the campaign speculation about Cameron’s staying power could change the narrative.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Podcast discussion on general election betting between Mike Smithson and Graham Sharpe of William Hill

April 21st, 2015

This was recorded this morning.



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Marf’s Tuesday afternoon’s take and LAB move from a 2% deficit to a 2% lead with TNS

April 21st, 2015

voterturnout

And UKIP appear to be edging back