Recently in Polling Category

elephantbridge.jpgIt's satisfying, commissioning opinion polls, especially on topics where the other side is rich and powerful but hasn't published any poll results. That always makes me suspect our position is popular as well as right.

The one we released today (thanks to Friends of the Earth Scotland and the ForthRight Alliance for co-commissioning it) covered Ministers' plans for a new Forth Road Bridge. 

But is that the real choice that Ministers face? Could they definitely repair the existing bridge? There are two ways it could be delivered. First, the Forth Estuary Transport Authority are highly confident that the dehumidification of the cables will work. It's underway, and it's costing £10.3m, which is pocket change in bridge terms. 

To give the SNP the maximum benefit of the doubt, though, let's assume that that dehumidification fails. We'd then have to go to recabling or cable augmentation. There are three variants of this approach: replacement above, augmentation above, and augmentation to the side. Any of these would simply work, guaranteed: it's a standard operation, with lots of international expertise available. 

A report from FETA in February 2008 showed that this would cost between £91m and £122m, depending on the option chosen. Perhaps by coincidence, FETA just got a shiny new website and the report is no longer available. I'm not saying it's a deliberate whitewashing, mind: as I've recently been reminded, sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice. You can see the Google cache of the report here.

In case there's still any doubt about the potential to fix the existing bridge, the proof is, ironically, in the spin deployed by Ministers in response to the story in today's Scotland on Sunday. They say "we are building a replacement crossing as well as utilising the existing bridge". I can imagine more accurate words than "replacement" to use there. Perhaps "additional"?

So £122m is the top end for fixing the bridge, and that's what YouGov offered as one option. The other, again giving the SNP's spin machine the benefit of the doubt, is their current upper estimate for an entirely new bridge - £2,300m.

Despite the constant deluge of spin, by almost two to one the public just don't think that's a sensible choice. To sum up, the new bridge would be:

Unaffordable. Scottish Ministers don't have the money. They begged Westminster for it, and sensibly, got knocked back. John Swinney and colleagues ceaselessly complain about "£500m of Labour cuts", yet they're planning to blow more than four times that on this structure.

Unsustainable. It's just more road capacity. Labour argued for a "multimodal" bridge, with rail or light rapid transit built in as well as a road route, but the SNP didn't listen. The existing bridge, magically repaired despite all the Ministerial bluster, will supposedly be reserved for buses and taxis, but no-one believes that. As drivers sit in jams on the new bridge and look downstream to the probably empty old bridge, they'll understandably get a bit miffed. If there's one constant since 1999, it's Ministers doing whatever the motoring lobby want, and that reservation for public transport will melt like snow off a dyke.

As a result, there'll be four lanes of traffic feeding into Edinburgh, and congestion levels will inevitably worsen alongside carbon emissions. This ignores the opportunity cost, too - if the same money were spent on public transport, the SNP could be cutting emissions and congestion rather than worsening them.

Unnecessary. There's no argument against simply fixing the existing bridge, apart from the unsubstantiated handwaving about economic impact. The real reason it's being pushed for so hard is two-fold. First, there's a misconception that people in Fife vote for whoever promises them more bridges. Second, Alex Salmond loves his hard hat openings, and who knows, the bridge may even end up being named after him. I look forward to watching the Labour leader's face if that happens.

Unpopular. Our poll had crossbreaks by voting intention, and every party's voters are against it. The closest you come to sympathetic is amongst SNP voters, but even they aren't convinced by John Swinney's arguments. In these times of budget pressure, Tory and Labour voters are the most sceptical, as you might expect, but there's not much in it.  

Going by the constituency vote, here's the specific extent to which all the other parties are out of touch with their supporters:
Conservative » Repair: 64%, Replace: 30%, Don't Know: 6%
Labour » Repair: 59%, Replace: 32%, Don't Know: 9%
Lib Dem » Repair: 56%, Replace: 37%, Don't Know: 7%
SNP » Repair: 51%, Replace: 41%, Don't Know: 9%

Bad politics. Public transport projects across the country are getting put on hold, with GARL just the most obvious example. When the budget and the timescale get blown, and when Fife and the Lothians are snarled up in congestion, the new bridge will plumb depths of unpopularity that will make my time on the Parliament building project look like a walk in Holyrood Park.

Right now there are four opposition parties, and just one, the Greens, arguing against this scheme. I keep expecting one of the other parties to get the arguments against and join us to campaign for repair instead of replacement. Whoever does so can clearly reap a massive political reward, a reputation for prudence, and some pretty substantial environmental credentials.

The alternative is for it to be just us holding the SNP to account while the others go down with them, and while we have to watch the bridge eating a decade's worth of discretionary capital spend. Who's with us?

From a small base.

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ComresOctScot.pngA Comres poll for the Independent today shows a pleasingly tiny proportion of BNP voters despite the BBC giving them the biggest publicity spree in their history. 

As Mike Smithson puts it, "The mid-October poll had 8 respondees saying BNP - tonight's survey has that at 13". That's out of 1004 respondents. 

The same poll shows the Greens on 5% nationally (the actual final results are on p22 of that massive pdf), which is pretty promising for Green target seats given the large variability in our vote. 

Deep in the lengthy tables for it I noticed something else interesting. It's a subsample point, and I have in the past criticised those who take those too seriously. Nevertheless, it confirms my prejudices, so it's worth blogging about.

Comres asked their respondents "Generally speaking, do you think of yourself as ...?", i.e. Labour/Tory/Lib Dem/Green/Nat etc. Page 18 shows the results, or click the image above for a look at it.

In Scotland, a quarter define themselves as Labour, with almost as many as identifying as Nats. Despite the better position of the Nats, this makes sense. I know plenty of people who'd still say they think of themselves as Labour people but won't vote Labour, whereas the SNP clearly continue to get the backing of swing voters.

16% identify as Tories, about the level they poll at, pretty much whatever happens. This also seems to make sense. Their base is firm, if much lower than the rest of the UK for some reason, but they pick up few floating or tactical voters.

Then, intriguingly, 6% of this small sample of Scots define themselves as Green, and 6% as Lib Dems. The Lib Dems do continue to poll above us for now: for instance, in the recent Euros they got 11.5% to our 7.3%. 

With some chameleon-like politics, squeeze messages and media omnipresence, they do a lot with pretty low base. Those 5-10% who vote Lib Dem but don't identify with them, though, there's a term for them. Potential Green voters..
paviliongreen.pngThe second annual PoliticsHome superpoll of the marginals is out today, based on YouGov interviews with 33,610 people. They polled everyone, it seems. They certainly polled me - did they poll you?

The methodology seems pretty sound. Anthony Wells grouped seats with similar characteristics - London commuter belt, Southwest Liberal/Con marginals etc - and got a representative sample in each group to extrapolate from. Much more plausible than the old Scottish sub-sample game.

The results (full document, 2.6Mb pdf) are easy to spin as good news and bad news for the three largest Westminster parties, especially given last year's numbers as an alternative comparator. 

Labour are out of government on these numbers, obviously, but down to 199 instead of the ultra-dire 160 seats predicted last year. "It's heading our way", they say, although Tom Harris certainly isn't kidding himself. The Liberals are down 8 to 55, but last year it was worse for them too, when the same poll predicted they'd keep just 44 MPs.

Conversely, the headline figure that puts Dave C into power is a Tory majority of 70, which I think he'd take, but last year they predicted a landslide 146 lead. There are pages and pages of English Con/Lab marginals shown here turning blue, places Labour never reached before Blairism, and places always likely to revert to type. Cumbria's about the only group to buck the trend.

Other parties' results are less equivocal. Last year the SNP leadership was jubilant about numbers showing vast swathes of Scotland going their way, but this year just 3 Nat gains are predicted. I'm personally sceptical about this, but you can imagine the long woad-painted faces of the cybernats as they contemplate page 29.

The best has been saved for last. Brighton Pavilion is part of a group of seaside town seats including Morecambe, Great Yarmouth and and the Blackpool constituencies. In the 2005 election 8% of people voted for parties outside the big three. Last year's poll had this number at 11%, and this year it's a staggering 19%.

The report says: "This is mainly benefiting the Green Party who on these figures would win their first Parliamentary seat in Brighton Pavilion."

I do hope so. Another near miss (as per several seats in the Euros) would be heartbreaking. Also, I note they didn't cover either of our English friends' other targets, Lewisham and Norwich South. That makes them better bets with the bookies, I reckon, Norwich South in particular. 

( thread here)
Numbers just out from ComRes* put us in a great position UK-wide. I couldn't resist a bar chart, although I refuse to label it "Only Greens can win here".
Jeff and others always love their Scottish subsamples, so here are the eye-popping Scottish numbers for your delecation.
That's right, it shows us in third, ahead of the Lib Dems and the Tories. It's a small sample, and it's only a poll, so no-one get complacent, mm'kay?

* note: our Green colleagues down south commissioned the poll, so feel free to tell me the customer is always right.

Who would Jesus torture?

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crownofthorns.jpgApparently the more Americans go to church, the more inclined they are to believe suspected terrorists should be tortured. I know there's more to Christianity than one man being nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, but even if I gloss over my disbelief in him, I struggle to see Kiefer Sutherland playing Jesus next time round.

To paraphrase Kingmissile, Jesus could have waterboarded anyone he wanted to. His dad, sure, wicked temper on him, but the Lamb? Not so much. More on the other end of it, so the stories go (see left). 

So are these flocks sitting in church ignoring the preachings and fulminating in their own heads about the evil terrists? Or are they listening to warped "kill 'em all and let God sort them out" theology? Either way, as Gandhi said, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

Trust the public.

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climateprotestaustralia.jpgHowever engaging the polling figures are on the ups and downs of the Tory lead over Labour (wait a minute, there's one guy holding both puppets!), ComRes in today's IoS has a more interesting stat for environmentalists.

83% of those polled said they were "ready to make significant changes to the way I live to help prevent global warming or climate change", actually slightly up since the start of global financial meltdown.

A recent Yale and George Mason survey in the States also came up with some eye-catching numbers on this issue. 69% of Americans said the US should sign up to an international treaty designed to reduce emissions by 90% by 2050. 

What's more, it's not just "we'll do it if everyone else does": the same survey shows 67% of Americans saying they should reduce their emissions regardless of what other countries do, with just 4% hardcore climate change deniers supporting no emissions reductions at all.

That 90% by 2050 figure is so radical that in this country only the Scottish Green Party and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research back it, incidentally. Next time the SNP, Labour or the Liberals tell you they back radical action on climate change, tell them even the much-judged average American is ahead of them.

In the speculative hot seat.

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gavel.jpgToday's YouGov poll isn't great for us, up just one seat to three, but with the caveats about polling firmly in place, the outcome is nonetheless interesting. Labour and the Tories are up as well, the Nats and the Liberals are down, but despite the oscillations we'd still be absolutely central on these numbers.

Labour as the largest party would be one seat short of a majority with their old love, the Liberals. They could make the numbers either with the Tories (ain't happening despite the lack of policy differences) or with the SNP (ditto). The Nats' preferred partners on current form remain the Tories, but the pair of them would be three seats short collectively, while the SNP/Liberal combination would be a substantial six seats short - sorry, Tavish.

Either way, barring some pretty ugly and unlikely combinations, we'd be in demand again in this scenario, only even more so. A minority adminstration might well be the most likely outcome again, but there are a couple of options that would only work with Green support either inside or outside Government. With numbers like this I think we could, if we wanted to, find out pretty quickly which of the other parties are most committed to the business-as-usual soggy middle they all get to sit in week after week. 

How much are we bid for cancellation of the AWPR? Any advance on 70% renewable electricity by 2020? Insulate every home in Scotland by 2025? Do I hear 2021?

First Holyrood poll for ages.

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The Sunday Times has a post-Budget YouGov poll commissioned by the SNP. The Holyrood numbers look like this: 

Constituency: SNP 38%, Labour 32%, Tory 13%, Liberal 12% 
Regional: SNP 34%, Labour 28%, Tory 15%, Liberal 11%, Green 6%, SSP 4%

An election with these numbers would give roughly the following result, with Margo representing the rounding error:
SNP 47 (n/c), Labour 44 (-2), Tories 18 (+1), Liberals 13 (-3), Green 5 (+3), SSP 2 (+2)

Polling should, as always, only be seen as a bit of fun. Election campaigns matter, and clearly there isn't going to be an election this year. Having said that, some of those seat numbers look a bit unlikely to me. I'd have expected the SNP higher at Labour's expense, perhaps the Tories a bit higher and the Liberals down a bit more, and surely no-one thinks Colin Fox and his merry band are on the verge of getting back into Parliament.

As far as we're concerned, I'd certainly take the prospect of picking up more seats than anyone else, and the softness of the Liberals' position makes that seem at least possible. 

The favourable/unfavourable also got printed, which didn't exactly look good for us, but it's absolutely what I'd expect with so many SNP members rating us negatively just now - there are more of them, after all.

Beyond that, the Steamie claims to have the full list of questions - apparently a Labour activist was polled - and the Nats appear to be holding on to one of them, as follows. 

As you may be aware the SNP government's budget bill was voted down this week. Alex Salmond has threatened to resign as first minister if it is voted down again and has suggested there may have to be a new election for the Scottish parliament. If the budget bill is voted down again and Alex Salmond resigns as First Minister would you prefer:
a. to have the chance to vote in a new election for the Scottish parliament to determine which party runs the Scottish government
b. to leave it to the political parties to decide themselves whether Alex Salmond, Labour leader Iain Gray, Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott or Conservative leader Annabel Goldie should lead the Scottish government?
c. to have chance to vote in a new election for the Scottish parliament?
d. to let political parties decide themselves which party should run Scottish government?
e. Don't know

If a question like this was asked, the results are either being held back for use later in the week, or they may be locked in the safe forever if the numbers don't suit the Nats. What's particularly odd, though, is that answers a & c are identical, and so too are b & d. I smell a rat.

However interesting this is, it'll be a lot more relevant for the longer term to see the next poll, the one conducted after the Budget passes. 

Edit: There were two errors I took from elsewhere: the poll wasn't Nat-commissioned, and the extra question on the Steamie was clearly unreliable. Apologies for taking what appears to be second-hand spin at face value.
Mike at Political Betting posted a fascinating graph and analysis yesterday, showing the variation in the public's reported interest in the environment. I'm sure he won't mind me reproducing it, especially if I urge you to make any urgent bets on Glenrothes or the US election through his site.

The points he's indicated are interesting, but three more occur to me: May 1999, May 2003, and May 2007.

In the first Holyrood election, around 5% said the environment was their main concern, and we got our first MSP. In one sense, this was our best election ever, because it was the first we elected anyone at, and failure then would have made any success in 2003 almost impossible. However, it was also our lowest level of representation, if you want to look at it that way.

By 2003, according to Mike's graph, the numbers prioritising environmental concerns had halved, but despite that we scored our best Parliamentary results so far, up to seven MSPs. Then, in May 2007, with the numbers up at 10%, just after a peak of around 18%, we fell back to two seats. 

So this polling number, whatever it means, isn't correlated to Green success, at least in Scotland, which might seem counter-intuitive.

Perhaps the reason is that we're not a party purely about environmental issues. We have solid policy on the whole range of political issues, and there are plenty we've made particular strengths of, including opposition to the war, support for equality and civil liberties, fuel poverty, social justice, local food, social enterprise and many more. It looks as though the part of the electorate we appeal to understands that.

A rare Holyrood poll.

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weirdsalmond.pngThe Sunday Times commissioned some numbers from YouGov, and their headline is naturally the 9 point Labour lead in Westminster voting intention. 

Their last poll had the Nats up by 2 percent, making this a substantial swing, if a little implausible despite the bad month the SNP have had.

Incidentally, it's illustrated on their Scotland page with a peculiarly squashed pic of Salmond (see left). I'm pretty sure there's no real angle you can take that picture from.

YouGov also asked the Holyrood questions, which are always of far more interest to me, and, I suspect, to most of their readers. In these, the Nats retain a clear but narrow lead:

Constituency vote
SNP: 39% (-3)
Labour: 31% (+5)
Tories: 14% (+1)
Liberals: 11% (-3)
Other: 2% (-)

Regional vote
SNP: 32% (-3)
Labour: 29% (+4)
Tories: 16% (+2)
Liberals: 11% (-3)
Green: 6%
United Socialists: 5% (except they're not united)
Etc: 2%

I was a bit sceptical about the Westminster numbers, but the Holyrood top line seems more plausible, so this might not be a complete rogue poll - it's the same sample, after all. 

Interestingly, this poll confirms my view that we take primarily from the Liberals. The detail shows that about two thirds of our voters backed the Liberals with their Westminster vote, with the rest roughly evenly divided between Labour, the SNP and the Tories. Another way of looking at the same numbers is that our voters are more than five times more likely to vote Liberal for Westminster than for any other single party. 

6% isn't a great number for us: I am an eternal optimist, though, and I think we could crack 10% by 2011 if we put in the work inside Parliament and out. However, it is little more than two thirds of one percent below our 2003 score, when we returned seven MSPs (6.68% of the vote gave us 5.43% of the seats). Remember, it's only a bit of fun, and as I was told today, there is no election, not yet.

Motivated Greens.

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firstplacepig.jpgA poll in yesterday's Independent On Sunday asked, as usual, how likely people say they are to vote (p5 here, 125K pdf). The keenest voters? Greens (average 9.31/10), then SNP and Tory supporters (9.19/10). 

Surprisingly, perhaps, Liberal voters (8.88/10) reported as least likely to get out, behind Labour (8.91/10). 

I'm not sure why, but my guess is distaste for Clegg's promise to cut taxes'n'services. 

The headline figures aren't as good for us, sure, but it's a firmer starting point.

Polling frustration.

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Thumbnail image for QuestionMarks.jpgThe Sunday Times has some Scottish numbers, but they're incomplete, with no number for us at all. The list vote they report is SNP 35%, Labour 25%, with the Tories and the Liberals on 14%. 

That leaves 12% unallocated. In 2007, of voters who didn't back one of those four parties on the list, about half of them voted Green. So are we on 6%? Who knows. Maybe we should have an election and find out.

Resisting the "choice architects".

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dungbeetlevsearth.jpgA wee while ago, a pollster knocked on my door and asked if I would like to take part in a study of attitudes to climate change, commissioned by the Scottish Government. Obviously I did, not least because I want to know what Ministers are interested in. I explained what I do for a living, but they don't screen anyone out by employment or similar.

Disappointingly, the focus of the questions was almost entirely on what we, the public, should do. How important is it for me, as a consumer, to buy some kind of notionally happy-pig pork? Tough question for a vegetarian, that. How important is it for me to turn the taps off while I brush my teeth? We're on the record on that one.

There was next to nothing about what Government should do. Do you back binding annual targets for greenhouse gas emissions? No question. If you support targets, what should they be? 3%, as per the SNP's weak manifesto pledge? 4.5%, as per the Green manifesto? Somewhere in between? No question. Do you think the Scottish Government should spend more than £5bn on their roads programme, or put the money into public transport instead? Unsurprisingly, no question.

You can tell a lot by the questions asked. And the SNP's aim with this kind of research is clear - to make the public feel bad for not doing more to tackle climate change, and to shirk any responsibility themselves. Constructing a list of questions like that is the clearest demonstration that the choice architects have been at work.

As a footnote, there was a curious error in the poll. I got given a booklet with numbered answers, each associated with a particular question. For instance, there was a list of sources for information about climate change, and the question was "who do you trust?". Clue: independent scientists, not either Government.

One of the other questions listed opinions from "Climate change is an immediate and serious problem that we should tackle now" through to "I do not believe climate change is happening". I looked at the list, and just said "the first one", or whichever place Green option was listed at. 

The interviewer looked shocked, given that I'd outed myself as a Green, and it turned out the prompts were in reverse order to the options on his laptop. It was just easy to spot the error because he knew what I'd say, and he could tell I wasn't a climate change denier. Who knows how many others have had their views misrecorded on this question?

So if when the poll comes out from the Scottish Government, feel free to ignore the results from that answer. And do please resist the implicit idea that climate change isn't something the SNP administration should help tackle.

Sage advice.

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A couple of days ago Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting (left) floated a radical idea for the next Holyrood election, assuming the SNP remain way ahead of Labour in the polls. Other SNP tactical voters, he suggests, should consider giving the Greens their regional list vote, formerly known as the second vote. 

We are, he says, "a cracking party", hopefully in the "cracking cheese, Gromit" sense. 

Above all, for him and other tactically-minded nationalists, this is because we Greens support a referendum on Scotland's constitutional future. With Wendy gone, no-one else does, so their Bill is almost certain to fall.

However much the SNP find it rewarding to go to the country in 2011 complaining about "obstructive unionists", the electoral system makes getting 65+ seats an exceptionally tall order for a single party. 

This isn't a coincidence: it was part of the original Dewarite thinking - along with "dish the Nats" and "inevitable coalition government". Those two objectives may have demonstrably failed, but 65+ remains a mountain under the alternative member system, which was designed to give diminishing returns as you get closer to the magic number. Some wonk should do a graph. It'd probably look a bit like this

Although Salmond has an eye-popping ability to make extravagant political predictions come true, as noted here before, even he hasn't claimed they can get an absolute majority next time. In his tartan heart he knows it isn't going to happen, otherwise we'd have definitely heard about it from him.

All things must pass, as I keep reminding SNP friends, but it does remain hard to see how Labour can restore their fortunes in less than three years without an Nat implosion of some as yet unknowable sort. If the SNP go into the next election 19 points ahead on the constituency list, might it make sense for them to encourage their voters to back the Greens, at least in some regions? 

To see the sort of wasted votes they're worried about, just look at Central Scotland, where 112,596 people voted Labour on the list last time, almost as many votes as the second and third parties combined. This heroic turnout returned precisely zero list MSPs. The same applied in 2003 and in 1999. Massive piles of votes straight into the recycling, effectively expressing no preference amongst the other parties.

The same happened in Glasgow, and in West, and in South, at all three elections. In short, Labour list votes haven't elected anyone across half of Scotland since the Parliament was established. Liberal list voters in the Highlands have never elected an MSP, either, incidentally.

If the Nats start cleaning up completely in the constituencies (as per this fantasy constituency map), the same would undoubtedly start happening to them, starting in the North East, then Mid Scotland and Fife, then Highlands and Islands. Salmond's people are surely too smart to let those votes pile up for no purpose, unlike Labour strategists?

Under these circumstances, I can quite see why, leaving aside the referendum, SNP supporters might well think it better to make us their second choice. They see Labour as the obstacle, so they're absolutely out. The Liberals stuck two fingers up at them in May last, so they're absolutely out. The Tories have proved pragmatic partners for Salmond's administration but remain ultra-Unionist, so they're out for many. 

So, Green it is, then. While we disagree with a swathe of SNP policy (over transport, planning, climate change and the economy in particular), we also agree on a fair amount too (tuition fees, nuclear power and nuclear weapons, civil liberties, support for small businesses and votes at 16, to pick a few examples). 

Such an election would also not feature the squeeze which cost us so dearly last year, and which was replicated in Glasgow East. Even without tactical voting, we are clearly best placed to benefit from any desire to make post-2011 "a more interesting and diverse parliament" if we work hard and make a clear case for a green agenda. 

Jeff says "it's thyme", presumably because herbs are green too. Whatever the logic, I'm always pleased to see people making the case for Green votes. It's sage advice.


Kez agrees.

Craig, not so much.

Angry Steve, not at all.

Lab -1, Con -1, Lib -2.

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catrelevant.jpgThat's the sort of poll numbers I like. Apparently the IoS has some numbers this morning, showing Greens UK-wide as the main beneficiaries, up to 5%.

I know people always single out polls they like, and that this is indeed relevant to my interests, but that's life.

Update: The Tory figure was misquoted on UKPR. They were up 1, not down 1. And the other Others were down 2 as well. Hopefully that means the BNP.
QuestionMarks.jpgThe always-interesting-to-anoraks had a striking analysis of the first Glasgow East poll a few days ago. In it Mike pointed out that more than 1% of the final result, a 1% allocated to the SNP, represents the views of a single former Liberal voter.

If you're not into the bizarre maths of polling, please don't read this, just come back later.

Anyway, ICM asked how Glasgow East constituents voted in the 2005 General Election, and, like many other pollsters, they compared that data against the actual 2005 results to see how representative their sample was. 

They expected thirty-one of their sample to report having voted Liberal, but only got six. I can imagine why, incidentally. So each of those six people miraculously become five and a sixth people. Except that one of them felt it was unlikely they'd vote, so got discounted, and, taking into account the overall weighting for likelihood to vote, only four of these 2005 Liberals remained. However, each now counted for six people. Super-Liberals, if you will.

In a final round of magic, one of these four Super-Liberals plans to vote SNP, so six votes got added to their column (see the second column from the right on page three of the ICM report). That's a 25% swing between these two parties, except for the one 2005 Nat who's gone the other way. He or she is much less important, as we'll see.

In sharp contrast, the fifty-five people who said they'd voted SNP in 2005 were weighted down to thirty-six. Of them, 94% will still vote SNP, but their opinions only count as two-thirds of a person, unlike our rogue Super-Liberal, who, you'll remember, is now six people. So if you told ICM you voted Liberal in 2005, your opinions are nine times more influential on the poll outcome than if you said you'd voted for the Nats. 

(The rows don't add up properly on that page, something I intend to ask Nick Sparrow about. Alternatively, anyone who gets how the 2005 figures or the 2008 intentions add up to the total on the left, please let me know. Paging Mark Ballard!)

Seeing as we've come this far down the rabbit-hole of psephology, there's another quirk here beyond the one Mike noted. When ICM asked about actual 2008 voting intentions, only ten people said they were voting for the Liberal candidate, but this number was too low, so got weighted up to twenty-four. 

On the other hand, twenty-three respondents planned to vote Tory, but ICM weighted them down because the sample had slightly more 2005 Tories than expected, and they eventually counted for just nineteen.

So twenty-three people in this poll said they'd vote Tory, and just ten that they'd vote Liberal. Yet the final numbers, generated by a massive amount of hand-waving and pure woo! show the Liberals on 9% and the Tories on 7%. 

Thank you for your patience if you're still here. Here's my prediction, based on the raw numbers, despite a small sample - the Tories will come out ahead of the Liberals. 

Update: the next poll has the Tories on 7% and the Liberals on 3%. This is exactly in line with the raw numbers from ICM.

Running dog of uselessness.

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chihuahuaclegg.jpgI do hate spurious polls, so shouldn't link to one. Apologies. 

But apparently the public picked the Chihuahua as the dog they most associate with Nick Clegg. 

And is it any wonder, given how good he looks in his little sweater?

Polling straws in the wind

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All anoraks love a poll, and the best tracker of them I've seen is UK Polling Report (Scottish page). I'm trying to find the latest Holyrood voting intentions, and this looks like the most up-to-date. We're not listed in it, but must be a decent chunk of the 18% "others" (full YouGov data here). Frustrating. And curse the fact that System Three aren't doing a monthly tracker anymore.

Anyway, in the comments SNP councillor Peter Cairns confirms the Greens are "punching above their weight" - thanks Pete! However, the real figures are hard to ascertain. Bear in mind that YouGov is unreliable, and their systems are in flux. They had us at 9%-10% in before May's election, and I'm sure the difference between that and the 4% we actually got can't entirely be explained by YouGov's polling being clearer than the ballot papers.

However, if Salmond's bluff had been called and we'd navigated through the Scotland Act to an Extraordinary General Election, I'd have been confident that there would be more Greens in Parliament. Alongside a few less Labour MSPs, a few more Nats, and a small cull of Liberals. Maybe a Tory or two more. 

(The previous discussion on the same site is also interesting, although just over two months old. I promise not to blog old stuff again, but I'm still new to this.)

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Friends and Stuff I Like

If I've forgotten to link to you, let me know. If I don't want to link to your blog I'll pretend I never got your email.

The party's site of which I am rather proud

Along with Jeff (formerly SNP Tactical Voting) and Malc (formerly In The Burgh), I now co-edit Better Nation, a group blog. Stuff will still appear here, but more will be there. Better Nation

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Polling category.

Parliament is the previous category.

Random is the next category.