Use the Tag Cloud on the right to filter by a Keyword.
No Chance for Euro Referendum
9 March 2001
So now we know - or do we? The referendum on joining the Euro, according to some newspapers' interpretations of the Prime Minister's answer to a question in the Commons, will be held in the first two years of the next Parliament. That wasn't what he said.
Intensive Vote Farming in Barnet
2 March 2001
The spread of foot-and-mouth disease through the rural areas has brought the rural vote back to the top of the election agenda - although, at the same time, it has thrown into some doubt whether there will be an election at all when we have all been confidently expecting it, on 3 May. I have already written [Rural Voters - 20 October 2000] about how much smaller and less influential the rural vote is than almost everybody supposes. But even some of those rural areas are simply rural in the sense of not being urban; they are not full of farmers. The genuinely agricultural vote is smaller still.
Regional Patterns Of Swing
23 February 2001
A few weeks ago I wrote here about how many seats each of the parties could hope to win in the election, assuming various levels of swing from the 1997 result; but I entered a caveat that this assumed uniform national swing, which in practice is unlikely.
Spinning Out Of Control
16 February 2001
The mightiest spin doctor of our time has now spun out of control. Peter Mandelson's lost the plot, and is now doing himself more damage than he is his party, his colleagues, his Prime Minister. A tragedy of our time.
Fly Away Peter
2 February 2001
Peter Mandelson's resignation last week was an embarrassment to the government, and naturally led to much speculation that the government is acquiring a sleazy image that will damage it at the election. Two polls conducted since the resignation have explored this. Unfortunately the reporting of the second of these, an NOP poll for the Channel 4 programme Powerhouse, has misinterpreted its findings and perhaps as a consequence its implications.
Some Basic Electoral Numbers
19 January 2001
At the last general election, Labour won 44.4% of the vote in Great Britain and that secured them 419 seats or an overall majority in the Commons of 179. In the vast majority of those constituencies where the result was marginal or even semi-marginal, the Conservatives were in second place; they won 31.4% of the vote across Great Britain, 13% behind Labour, and secured 165 seats.
The Polls In 2000
5 January 2001
An editorial in the Daily Telegraph last month (5 December) suggested that MORI's polls in The Times systematically under-represent Conservative strength, and further that this is because they are conducted face-to-face rather than by telephone. The article cited several arguments in support of its case which were based on factual errors. We wrote to the paper correcting these errors, but it failed to publish our letter. It is not true as they alleged that face-to-face polls tend to find lower Conservative support than telephone polls. Nor is it true that MORI's polls find systematically lower Conservative support than those of the other polling companies. But since some of these misconceptions seem to be widespread, and the Telegraph was only echoing the wishful thinking which seems to be still entrenched in some corners of Conservative Central Office, it is perhaps time for a systematic review of the evidence, taking the whole of the year 2000 as our basis.
Political Polling In Britain - The History
15 December 2000
Dr Henry Durant, the man who introduced opinion polling to Britain, once described it as "the stupidest of professions" - for who else is stupid enough to publish a prediction on Thursday morning that may be proved wrong on Thursday evening?