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BJohnson – the politician who keeps getting overstated in the polls

August 30th, 2019

Do voters have second thoughts when faced with him on the ballot paper?

Back in 2001 the fledgling YouGov polling company first came to our attention with its survey of CON members ahead of the leadership ballot. There was never any doubt that IDS would beat the pro EU Ken Clarke but this new polling company uniquely then using the internet scored a spectacular success by getting the result within one percent.

Four years later it was DDavis versus Cameron in the final two and yet again YouGov’s membership poll was as accurate as with the IDS winning margin.

In the Labour leadership contest after the 2010 general election YouGov scored another spectacular success with its polling of members and trade unionists that suggested the younger Miliband brother was going to do it. The only doubt was whether DavidM would do spectacularly well amongst MPs which at the time had a third of the electoral College.

We all know how well YouGov was with Corbyn’s share in the Labour leadership elections of 2015 and 2016 again getting the winning margins almost right

You would have expected then, with this pedigree, that the sane accuracy who have been seen at this July’s Conservative contest when when YouGov had Johnson on 76%  a share that was 10% higher than he actually achieved when the votes were counted.

This followed a pattern we had seen before for the then London Mayor in 2012 when he was facing Ken Livingstone for a third time. All the polls at him winning by quite a Distance period as it turned out all six posters overstated his position and Livingston ran Johnson much closer than anybody had predicted.

All this supports the view that Johnson is someone who gets overstated by polling. Maybe it’s only when voters have ballot papers in front of them that doubts about his suitability emerge.

This is something to remember if there is an early General Election and how we should judge current CON poll leads.

Mike Smithson