The Futility Monster

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

Post-Budget Polls & Number Crunching

Posted by The Futility Monster on March 25, 2010 @ 11:34

Beware! The title of this post is deliberately misleading, for there have been no post-Budget polls yet!

But still, it is post-Budget, and this seems an ideal time to calibrate the Monster’s Poll index so that we have a baseline if it has any affect. Let’s give it a whirl:

CONSERVATIVES: 38% (N/C)

LABOUR: 26% (+1%)

LIB DEMS: 21% (-1%)

Remember that this is now on our pre-election methodology, involving the median, minimum and maximum for the three parties respectively over the last 30 days.

The interesting thing about polling at the moment is that the polls reporting the highest Labour shares are suggesting that Labour has barely lost any of its vote since 2005. If that’s right, I’ll eat my well-gnawed hat.

The polls are indeed recording a slight down tick for the Tories, and a positively glowing performance for Labour, relative to how badly they were doing last summer in the run up to the European elections. Looking purely at the median Labour polling performance over the last three days, which records a figure of 32%, they’re still some way behind putting the Tories in jeopardy.

Conventional wisdom, using uniform national swing, might suggest a Tory victory of some 6% would not deliver them a majority. Let’s crunch some numbers, Con=38, Lab=32 and assume a Lib Dem share of 21%:

  • ELECTORAL CALCULUS – “CON short 38 of majority”
  • UKPOLLINGREPORT – “Hung Parliament, Conservatives 42 seats short”

As the media also does most of its speculation using UNS, those two predictions are exactly why all the talk is of hung parliaments, and who the Lib Dems will back in such an eventuality.

But I don’t believe this will be the case. I genuinely think the Tories are doing better in the marginals, and that Labour are being overstated. With that in mind, 32% is out. Having said that, I don’t think Labour will score as low as 26% either. 28-30% is more likely. Let’s split the difference. What would the UNS guess for this kind of result: Con=38, Lab=29, LD=21?

  • ELECTORAL CALCULUS – “CON short 11 of majority”
  • UKPOLLINGREPORT – “Hung Parliament, Conservatives 18 seats short”

That sounds more like it. But I still don’t trust the UNS. It’s too crude.

So let’s try the Andy Cooke model. What does a Tory lead of 9 percentage points produce?

  • ANDY COOKE – “100% chance of a Conservative majority” – Tories 348-359 seats, a potential majority of 22-33

That sounds more like it. Perhaps a little bit high, but bearing in mind that the Shinners don’t take their seats it may be about right.

As a Lib Dem, I would obviously dearly love a hung Parliament.

But the key to achieving it is not to hope Labour does better, or the Tories do worse.

In this kind of delicate balance that the polls are currently showing, our fate is entirely in our hands. The better the Lib Dems do, the more seats we win, the more likely a hung Parliament, and the more of our agenda we may be able to implement.

The possibilities are exciting. But I still can’t help but feel that it will be a decent Tory majority on the day after polling day.

I hope you enjoyed this number crunching. There may be more of it on the way…

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