The Futility Monster

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

Can’t Buy Me Poll

Posted by The Futility Monster on March 2, 2010 @ 11:41

It seems, with the election close at hand, everyone is looking for a slice of poll action. The polling firms are no doubt delighted. And, do you know what, it made me think it might just be time to increase the pace of Monster’s Poll calibrations!

So here, for your delectation and delight, is what we’re dealing with this time…

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

Movement! Glorious movement!

Of course, all eyes lately have been on the polls that show the game much closer than this. The now infamous YouGov “2%” poll was clearly the cause of much overreaction. But I think we’re already seeing that YouGov fell victim to the “rogue” sample. It’s a 1 in 20 occurrence, after all. Amazingly, it doesn’t really seem like we get that many rogues these days, but still, it’s nice to see the laws of statistics still apply!

But there is no doubt that the lead is narrowing. Labour are indeed picking up voters, a sliver from the Lib Dems, a sliver from “others” and, apparently, from people who said they didn’t vote in 2005, whether for being too young or too lazy.

Therein lies the problem, though. The best proof of whether someone is going to vote this time will always be whether they voted last time. Turnout is everything. Apathetic, lazy and young voters are frequently neither use nor ornament. Chances are that more than half of them won’t vote anyway. That could cost Labour most of their recently gained support.

And as for Lib Dem switchers to Labour, I’m quite confident, unless the polls are on a knife edge, that we will see them drift back to the Lib Dems, who generally always gain ground as the campaign continues due to increased media attention and a fairer crack of the whip. They’ll only stay there if they deem their tactical vote shift to be utterly necessary one way or the other: either to keep out the Tories, or dump Gordon Brown. Yes, don’t forget, tactical voting is always negative.

As for the switchers from “others”: believe it when you see it.

Finally, one last word about what lies ahead. If I have the time, and the polling continues at this pace, it will be worthwhile to start digesting poll by poll what the projected result will be, considering what the betting markets are suggesting, and then doing a little jiggery-pokery to generate a final Monster’s Projection.

Oh, how exciting!

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