Monday, July 14, 2008

Political Betting & Polls: Look Beyond Headlines

Opinion Polls are the bread and butter of life over at Political Betting. I'm no expert on these things but I do find delving into the underlying figures pretty interesting. For example, the Times/Populus poll of a week ago had all sorts of encouragement in the small print. With respondents preferring a Labour Government to a Tory Government by 44% to 42%; with about a quarter of those expecting to vote in the undecided or won't say bracket; and with almost exactly one third of those who had expressed a preference admitting that they might well change their position.

There is little doubt that, after yesterday's Sunday Times/You Gov poll, "buying" Tory seats will make sense for the unsentimental with the spread betting markets making them just two dozen seats to the good. But watch where that figure moves. And take the time to delve deeper on one of these polls every now and then. Here for example is last week's Populus Archive web page with downloads of raw data available. YouGov's will I think appear here before long.


Diablo said...

I agree with you Chris - you are no expert. But if you are going to delve into the data then perhaps you will tell your reader what Political Betting actually said:

"These numbers from the five major polling firms are going to move up and down but the overall picture is the same - the Tories are in the 40s and Labour are in the 20s - which suggests a substantial Tory majority after the next election."

It's very early days but if the SNP can eat into the Labour heartland in Glasgow East next week then the possibility of a Labour wipe-out in a general election is not so far-fetched.

As you were tipping a GE in June 2009 not so long ago we may not have long to wait. Are you still so certain or will he do a "Major" and leave it until the last minute?

Chris Paul said...

I don't think June 2009 is that likely anymore. But we'll have to wait and see.

I have linked to the PB story which does indeed contain the quote you helpfully provide.

Do you have any thoughts about the underlying results for Populus or the other pollsters e.g. 44 to 42% preference for Labour not Tory govt DESPITE the unpopularity and dissatisfaction?

Diablo said...

I never read opinion polls mate so I wouldn't know what you are talking about. Can't trust them, can you?

But interesting that you now think that Gordon will wait until May 2010 before he risks an election. I think you are right though - he hasn't got another option. Look at the opinion polls...Doh!