Archive for the 'Media Inquiries' Category


Opinion polls and postal voting

Monday, April 26th, 2010

The piece by Anthony Wells on postal voting and opinion polls on UKPR is a good reminder that things can now get a bit complex given that perhaps one in five of all votes will be made by post.

What happens when the pollster calls or someone fills in an internet form when they have already voted? Almost all the firms adapt their voting intention question to take into account this possibility but they cannot report them separately.

As Anthony writes: “It is against the law to publish any poll based on people saying how they have already voted until the polling stations close on May 6th, and this includes people who have cast postal votes. In the European elections in 2004 Populus and the Times were investigated by the police over this for publishing voting figures for regions where there were all-postal ballots, which were hence effectively exit polls. No action was taken since it was not clear beforehand that this was against the law, but guidelines on how the law would apply to such things were subsequently drawn up. The result was that pollsters can include people who have already cast postal votes in their figures, but it is illegal to separately report figures for just those who have already cast postal votes.”

Theoretically at least you would expect polls to be that more accurate for in they will become partial exit polls.

Mike Smithson


Was the Sun just following its readers?

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Is this a taste of the next eight months?

Today’s Sun gives a firmer indication of what the paper’s change of allegiance will mean in terms how the paper intends to carry on its political coverage in the run-up to the general election.

Just look at the way it covers Harriet Harman’s attack on the paper. If this is a taster then we are in for an interesting time.

Quite what the electoral impact will be is hard to measure but as new data out from Ipsos-MORI suggests the Sun is really just following what its readers have already decided.

Ben Page, CEO of the firm, notes: “Ipsos MORI’s aggregate political data from January to September 2009 shows that 42% would vote Conservative, compared to only 29% who would support the Labour Party.

Although this means that Sun readers are still a little more likely to support Gordon Brown’s government than are the public as a whole, they have swung more heavily to the Conservatives than the rest of the public since the 2005 general election – the public as a whole has swung from Labour to the Conservatives by 9 points since 2005, while Sun readers have swung to the Conservatives by 12.5 points.

At the 2005 general election 45% of Sun readers voted for Labour, while only a third (33%) of them voted for the Conservatives. However, the shift in votes has not simply been from Labour to Conservatives; just one in ten (10%) Sun readers voted for a party other than the ‘big three’ compared with 17% who say they would do so now.

Labour held a lead over the Tories until 2008 when the political tide began to shift towards the Conservatives and Sun readers, as did the public as a whole, swung towards David Cameron’s party.”

The betting markets have taken responded with an easing of the Labour price on securing most seats with Ladbrokes now offering 7/1. I think that’s the best price ever from a traditional bookie.

The spreads from SportingIndex are now showing CON 360 – 365: LAB 200 – 205: LD 47 – 50 seats. Labour was down to 198 – 203 at one stage yesterday but it moved back a couple of notches after the YouGov tracker poll.

I’m waiting until we see polling that is not affected by the party conferences before deciding which way to go.

Mike Smithson


PBC Barbeque at the National Liberal Club

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

NLC.JPGMike Smithson and Peter the Punter have asked me to draw your attention to an important date for your diaries – the fifth party!

Taking the form of a barbeque, we will once again be meeting at the National Liberal Club, Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2HE. All are invited to join us on Thursday 19th June 2008, from 6pm until whenever we are asked to leave.

As always, it will be a pay-on-the-door event (the princely sum of £20 as a contribution towards costs, plus a cash bar) so we do not need people to confirm in advance. That said, indicative numbers are always useful, so feel free to confirm if you can make it in the course of this continuation thread.

Sorry about the delay in getting details up and for the short notice. We had to change the original timing because Mike was still on holiday in Spain.

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UPDATE: The Innocent Abroad (Mike Killingworth) article on PB is here.



Wednesday, March 24th, 2004

PoliticalBetting.Com was established by Mike Smithson to provide a discussion platform and an information service for political gamblers and others keenly interested in the electoral processes and forecasting outcomes.

For 13 years Mike was a journalist with BBC News and was part of the team in the mid-1970s that handled the first Broadcasting of Parliament experiment. This was followed by regular stints at Westminster. In 1977 he ousted Denis McShane, the current Foreign Office Minister, as the National Executive member for the UK’s Radio and TV journalists at the NUJ.

He was a founder member of the Liberal Democrats and stood for Parliament at the 1992 General Election. He was elected twice as a County Councillor in Bedfordshire and has also been a Borough Councillor in Bedford.

Unless stated all articles are written by Mike Smithson who will endeavour to ensure that all material is accurate when posted. However can accept no respnsiblity for the information on the site and users should make their own checks before making a bet or taking any other action. The site can accept no responsiblity either for the content of linked sites.

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