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Could the next polls put Labour back in contention?

October 17th, 2008

    What if Cameron’s no longer seen as Prime Minister-designate?

For reasons that I’ve never been able to fathom most of the regular monthly polls that we see in the UK are published in the final part of the month. So this weekend and in the days after that I am expecting at least two ComRes polls, two YouGov polls, one ICM survey and the October political monitor by Ipsos-MORI. There might be others including the non-registered BPIX.

One or possibly could come overnight.

The big question will be whether, and how large, Labour’s recovery has been and whether this has been at the expense of the Tories. It would certainly not be good for Labour if after this exceptional weke when Gordon has been feted round the globe as “the man who saved the world” if this was not reflected in the latest polling number.

For if Labour’s polling deficit is down into single figures then the commons seat calculators could be showing a hung parliament or even Labour with most seats. Thus poll shares of C40%-L35%-LD15% would suggest a commons with Labour the biggest party on 302 seats, the Tories on 294 with the Lib Dems on 25.If say two polls are in this vicinity then that could transform the whole political environment.

What to beware of when the polls come out:

  • Non-valid comparisons. Newspapers like to compare with the last survey in their paper NOT the last survey by the particular pollster. These simply are less valid but journalists always seem to do it. For an up to date list of the last numbers from the main firms click here
  • Non voting intention questions. Journalists always seem to fall into the trap of using these to predict elections. The problem is that they include the views of those who won’t or are very unlikely to vote and in 1997, remember, the fact that the Tories were ahead on the economy did not stop the Labour landslide. Ignore.
  • My guess is that if there has been a sharp move to Labour then we’ll see quite a lot of movement on the commons seat spread-betting markets. I’ll certainly be waiting, logged on, ready to bet!

    NOTE: Today’s Daily Politics Com Res poll, as usual, is of zero value. It is not past vote weighted, there is no element of filtering on certainty to vote and simply should not be put out in this form. The BBC should get a grip on its polling and insist on modern methodologies which ComRes do with their voting intention polls.

    This is paid for by your licence fee and those interested in politics should expect better.

    UPDATE 4.30pm SPREAD BETTING PRICES

    Mike Smithson






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