The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

And The Polls Did(n’t) Move

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 1, 2009 @ 00:47

If you’re a regular visitor (and why wouldn’t you be with all the fine political analysis to choose from!) then you’ll be familiar with our Monster’s Poll on the right sidebar of this blog.

It’s a rather curious thing – you may have noticed that it hasn’t yet changed since it appeared. That’s because, fundamentally, there has been nothing from the polling data to suggest that anything has happened. At all.

That’s a rather bold statement, but I think it’s one that we fail to appreciate from time to time. We may see movement, but it’s all broadly within the margin of error – which can be easily dismissed as random sampling noise.

But what I find more convincing is what this lack of movement does show. And for that, we will turn to the Conservative Party.

Over the past 30 polls, which stretches back just under 90 days, the Conservative median share of the polling stands at 40%. But what’s fascinating is that this median figure is repeated regardless of polling organisation.

Conservative Median Polling Value 4/4/09 – 27/6/09
Pollster Median polling value Number of polls
YouGov 40% 11
ICM 40% 5
Ipsos MORI 40% 3
Populus 39% 5
ComRes 39% 6
Across all 40% 30

In other words, despite the varying methodologies employed, and the large range of people sampled, which are then weighted in different ways, all the pollsters, both individually and collectively, are coming up with the magic 40% figure for Cameron’s Conservatives.

One conclusion we might draw from this is that the Conservatives have a rock solid bed of support that is confident, committed and unshakeable. We will keep a close watch on this median figure as the months go by.

The same cannot be said for Labour’s median share:

Labour Median Polling Value 4/4/09 – 27/6/09
Pollster Median polling value Number of polls
YouGov 24% 11
ICM 27% 5
Ipsos MORI 25% 3
Populus 26% 5
ComRes 22% 6
Across all 25% 30

As you can see, there is a much wider spread between the polling organisations. We are comparing like with like as the methodologies per pollster are consistent. This might suggest Labour voters are a little more flakey in their commitment, more willing to either change their vote preference or their certainty to vote (an important factor in most polls) during the window these polls cover, resulting in greater variance in polling results, which is then reflected in the table above.

Since the Tory support appears to be so solid over a fairly long period, and one covering a great deal of political turmoil, I would conclude that the Conservatives are on course for staying above the 40% figure in the long run, and certainly to achieve it by the General Election – whenever that may be.

And that is exactly why Labour have almost no hope. The task is too great. Instead, their thoughts need to turn to what they could do as a damage limitation exercise.

Gordon Brown might do well to tune in next time to find out. But I suspect it may cause a few Nokias to fly.

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2 Responses to “And The Polls Did(n’t) Move”

  1. […] a little closer to the mark. Basically, what we’re looking at is a solid position right now, much as I mused about last time. And every day that passes without any change in these underlying facts is another day closer to an […]

  2. […] But it’s all meaningless, because the Tories continue to dominate, and look racing certainties to achieve 40% or more of the vote. Their recovery in the median polling value, even though it’s as small as one point, is a very good indicator that they are pulling upwards. Indeed, in recent days their polls have been above this by at least a couple of points – and if the polls continue to be repeated we are certain to see their value on our medians increase still further. As previously discussed, the solidity of the Conservatives polling truly is remarkable. […]

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