The Futility Monster

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

Boring Conservatives

Posted by The Futility Monster on December 11, 2009 @ 10:10

It’s that time again. Time to consider whether the world of polling has delivered anything spectacular over the last month…

  • Conservatives: 40% (N/C)
  • Lib Dems: 23% (N/C)
  • Labour: 22% (-1%)

The answer, of course, is no.

There was a lot of fuss in the past few weeks about how, apparently, Labour were surging, and a couple of polls had put them within striking distance of the Conservatives. That was true.

But the problem was that within days the closeness had vanished. Labour were once again miles behind. In fact, a poll released last night put Labour a massive 17% behind. Not quite hung parliament territory, let’s say.

Wait a moment, I hear you shout. What if that was a rogue poll as well?

Well, I would first repeat the old mantra: we can only tell a rogue poll in hindsight. And right now, my hindsight is telling me that seeing Labour within 6% of the Tories, as reported by this poll, was the rogue. It stands way out from the rest of the trend, and the fact that it was reversed within days suggests it was either an amazing spike for Labour in the space of a day, or it really was the 1 in 20 rogue that we expect from time to time…

But there is an answer to all of this uncertainty. Why, it’s none other than my tried and not-so-trusted Monster’s Poll calculation. Which is what we got above.

This time, however, I’d like to show you the most boring graph you’ve ever seen…

Click for a larger version

Looking at the Monster’s Poll value for the Conservative Party, week by week, since June of this year, shows that they have been stable since I started this exercise, except for one tiny blip when they dropped a little but returned quickly.

It’s just as I’ve said for months now. The Tory value is utterly rock solid. Those Tory voters have decided. They will not be moved. It would take an earthquake of astonishing proportions to make them leave Cameron now. 40% has been their median vote share, taken across the last 90 days of polling each week, and I suspect their final vote will be very close to that.

This remarkable stability is why the election is pretty much over as a contest. To a budding psephologist, that is slightly boring. I only have a slight memory of the 1992 election, and the polling disaster there, but since then the polls in the run up to an election have been spectacularly correct in 1997, 2001 and 2005. The main reason, of course, was that the outcome was certain before we’d started.

And so it will come to pass this time.

Boring. In the sense that we know what’s going to happen already.

Sometimes polling takes all the fun out of election nights…


One Response to “Boring Conservatives”

  1. […] Boring Conservatives […]

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