A Timely Reform by Ian Ridley

Blog & web site of Ian Ridley

Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Constituency Brexit Polling and the US Elections

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Best for Britain have published a couple of polls that use Multi-Level Regression to predict what is happening in individual constituencies.

They show that my local constituency of Harborough (Oadby and Wigston) has swing from 48%/52% in June 2016 to 53%/47% in favour of continuing our European Union membership.

This technique successfully modelled the 2016 US presidential result in 50 out of 51 states. It uses detailed demographic information about each state or constituency to predict polling information from a relatively small poll (just under 10,000 people across the US; a similar number for UK).

The method looks pretty reliable for looking at what is happening to opinion on Brexit in individual constituencies. There are several academic papers on the use of Multi Level Regression, including this one on the US elections from Public Opinion Quarterly.

Yougov used a similar technique to predict constituency polling in the UK 2017 General Election. Yougov were careful to point out that it was not a prediction of the final result but a reflection of opinion during the campaign. That said, they expected to be wrong in up to 40 of the 650 constituencies and in fact over-estimated the SNP and Labour seats by around 15-20 in total and under-estimated the Conservative by the same amount, although correctly predicted no overall majority.

Telegraph, Financial Times & VoteSmart say Vote Lib Dem in Harborough

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

1430418162More good news this week for Lib Dem Zuffar Haq‘s election campaign in Harborough, Oadby and Wigston. The Liberal Democrats are already ahead in winning local elections since 2010, with 33 councillors to the Tories’ 17. They have been further boosted by the  news that on 7th May, the Lib Dems will have more local election candidates than any other party in the constituency.

Zuffar’s campaign now has the backing of both The Telegraph and The Financial Times no less.  The Telegraph’s tactical voter guide says voters who want David Cameron “to lose the election” should back the Liberal Democrats in Harborough, Oadby and Wigston.

Harborough 2010b

The result last time in our area (Harborough)

Yesterday’s Financial Times said that in areas like ours where the Lib Dems are the main challenger, “we would vote tactically for them.

The paper also states,”The country would benefit from … Lib Dem moderation at Westminster,” and “Only Nick Clegg … has occupied the centre ground. He has argued persuasively that the Lib Dems contributed to sensible fiscal consolidation and tempered the wilder Tory impulses, particularly on Europe.
Finally, VoteSmart, an independent campaign with the aim, “to increase the success of left-of-centre parties” at the election also encourages people here to vote for Lib Dem Zuffar Haq as the best way to beat the Tories.

telegraph tactical voter

The Daily Telegraph backs the Lib Dems for voters in Harborough who don’t want a Tory majority

votesmart recommendation

The Independent VoteSmart campaign backs the local Lib Dem candidate

The Tories – Surprisingly Irresponsible

Friday, May 1st, 2015

money notesThe Conservatives. Supposedly careful with tax-payers’ money. To the point of driving through policies to remove benefits from the genuinely disabled, cut the armed forces and put up VAT to reduce the deficit.

However, during this election campaign they have made a whole series of uncosted spending promises. These are based on ideology rather pragmatic control of spending. Had other parties done the same, the right-wing press would have torn into them.

It really does call into question their priorities and ability to think in the longer term. The “costly” policies that stand out are:

  • Inheritance tax cut –  this would cost £1 billion;
  • Selling Lloyds shares cheap to small investors – The Financial times says the cost to the taxpayer of, “..the giveaway … would depend on the size of the discount and the Lloyds share price at the point of the privatisation.”;
  • Discounted Right to Buy for Housing Association tenants. Offering these houses at a knock-down price is estimated to cost £5.8 billion.

Given there is still a large deficit in government spending and the Tories want £billions of spending cuts, the above policies are irresponsible to say the least.