Friday, 26 February 2010

Dodgy Polls

Labourists of all kinds - and the MSM, who are just gagging for the drama of a close run thing - seize on polls with tiresome haste that superficially show some kind of a contraction in the Tory lead. Immediately, after one of these polls is published, you get the usual, desperate crap from the schizoid left media about how they can win (and deserve to win, astonishingly) another five years of incoherent Labour vandalism, and the usual, desperate crap from the schitzoid right media that still can't work out whether David Cameron is a 'good Tory' or not. It's all just terribly sad - and terribly inaccurate.

Thankfully, though, we have Mike Smithson, who actually takes a genuine interest in how these polls work (because there's his reputation and real money at stake) - and has become, consequently, comfortably the most trustworthy source of wisdom on most things psephological around, especially when it comes to what can be succinctly put as the 'fudge factor'. Most polls are inaccurate, misleading fudges, given their reliance on generally untested, and/or deliberate bias-generating methodologies.

Take the latest MORI poll, for instance (which put the Tories just a handful of points in the lead). This is what Smithson has to say about it:

Just been looking at the detailed dataset from the the Telegraph’s Ipsos-MORI poll that came out late last night and in my view the underlying numbers are nothing like as good for Labour as the five point Tory lead might suggest.

After weighting for standard demographics we find that:

  • 300 of those certain to vote in the sample said they had supported Labour at the last general election. Yet only 236 of everybody in the poll said they planned to vote Labour at the coming election.
  • 229 of those certain to vote in the sample said they had supported the Tories at the last general election yet 274 of everybody in the poll said they planned to vote for the party at the coming election.
  • My simple calculation puts the 2010:2005 ratio for the Tories at 118.7% while with Labour it was 78.7%

    So the MORI’s own numbers suggest that Labour is down more than a fifth on last time while the Tories are up by about a sixth. Given that the split in 2005 was L36.2-C33.2 then the latest poll, if it had had politically balanced sample, would have ended up with a lead a lot bigger than the reported 5%.

    I know that this is me being mischievous and highly selective but it does show the massive challenge phone pollsters face - because of the systemic problem of the over-sampling of Labour past voters.

    Ponder that for a moment, if you will. And then understand why it's a very good idea to put your money where your instinct is and back if not a Tory landslide (as I have) then a healthy Tory majority.

    Whatever these dodgy polls say about Brown, the fact is that we, the British public, just aren't that into him - never have been, and never bloody well will be.

    So one other thing I will savour from his total demise on May 6th (I think we can safely say now that that's when the election will be) is the prospect of the entire MSM and all the major polling houses being made to look like the mugs, charlatans and dinosaurs they really are. They all deserve to go as extinct as Brown come that fine day in early summer, this year.


    1. I interviewed Tony Blair at the last election. He came over as a nice enough bloke. I then listened to a speech by Gordon Brown. He came over as a decent enough chap.

      What has happened? I think it was cruel to allow Gordon Brown to become prime minister. Why? Because he is out of his depth. It's like allowing someone who is desperately unfit and who swims remarkably badly, to enter in to a swimming race through icy, wintry waters.

      He's drowning. But in his thrashing around panic, he'll drag everyone else down, too.

    2. I'll only feel sorry for Brown when we've retired him. Not before.

      His public persona offends me. His personal issues, including his family life, don't interest me.

      I figure that I'm not the only one who feels that way about him. And I'm just a very ordinary Brit (which surely means more bad news for the maaster of the forces of hell).

    3. Gordon Brown = 'Eric the Eel'?

      Bit harsh on poor Eric, he was a nice bloke who learned to swim in a crocodile-rife river (which makes his lack of aptitude amazing). Gordon Brown is the bloke who put all the sharks in the Westminster lido...though he doesn't understand why it's so difficult to find sharks with 'frickin laserbeams on their heads'. Blinky Balls is doing a feasibility study on this.

    4. Lmao

      Maybe we can just break into Downing Street and release Brown back into the wild. Like Free Willy (a film that Mandelson was very eager to see but which left him feeling rather dissatisfied afterwards for some reason - or so I hear).


    Any thoughts?