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Category: Polling Observatory

Polling Observatory 41: Opinion stable for now, but election battle lines are being drawn

By Robert FordWill JenningsMark Pickup and Christopher Wlezien

This is the forty-first in a series of posts by Dr Robert Ford, Dr Will Jennings, Dr Mark Pickup and Prof Christopher Wlezien that report on the state of the parties in the UK as measured by opinion polls. By pooling together all the available polling evidence, the impact of the random variation that each individual survey inevitably produces can be reduced.

Most of the short term advances and setbacks in party polling fortunes are nothing more than random noise; the underlying trends – in which the authors are interested and which best assess the parties’ standings – are relatively stable and little influenced by day-to-day events. If there can ever be a definitive assessment of the parties’ standings, this is it. Further details of the method used to build these estimates of public opinion can be found here.

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Polling Observatory Scottish referendum special: who is ahead, and how close is it?

By Robert FordWill JenningsMark Pickup and Christopher Wlezien

This is a Scottish independence special of our regular series of posts that reports on the state of support for the parties in Westminster as measured by opinion polls. By pooling together all the available polling evidence we can reduce the impact of the random variation each individual survey inevitably produces. Most of the short term advances and setbacks in the polls are nothing more than random noise; the underlying trends – in which we are interested and which best assess the state of public opinion – are relatively stable and little influenced by day-to-day events. Further details of the method we use to build our estimates of public opinion can be found here.

In recent weeks the debate over Scottish independence has reached fever-pitch, and debate over some of the polls has been just as fierce. Most notably a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times, published on September 7th, caused shock waves both North of the border and in Westminster when it showed Yesmarginally ahead, the first lead for the “yes” campaign in many months.

The Polling Observatory Forecast #4: Conservative hopes recede slowly

As explained in our inaugural election forecast, up until May next year the Polling Observatory team will be producing a long term forecast for the 2015 General Election, using methods we first applied ahead of the 2010 election (and which are also well-established in the United States). Our method involves trying to make the best use of past polling evidence as a guide to forecast the likeliest support levels for each party in next May’s election, based on current polling, and then using these support levels to estimate the parties’ chances of winning each seat in the Parliament. We will later add a seat-based element to this forecast.

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This month’s Polling Observatory reported falls in support for both Labour and the Conservatives. Our forecast again finds the parties locked in a statistical dead heat, although Labour has edged up slightly, by 0.3 points, to 36.5%, and the Conservatives have slid back further, down 0.6 points to 34.9%. The continued stagnation in the polls is starting to harm the Conservatives in our forecast, with a slight widening of the gap between the parties.