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Latest from the “Polling Observatory” is that there’s been a slow decline in CON prospects but GE2015 still too close to call

July 17th, 2014

CON and LAB movements not going with historical trends

Each month political scientists at a group of universities put out a GE2015 forecast under the rather grandiose banner of “The Polling Observatory” which is based on current polling and historical polling experience. The latest is in the chart above.

A can be seen CON and LAB are close but things do need to be moving more the blue way given what’s happened in the past. This is from their latest report:

“This movement reflects the fact that Labour are holding their support, where the historical record suggests we should be expecting declines at this point. In contrast, the forecast for the Conservatives is on a downward slope, indicating that they are not making the gains that history would typically expect. Our colleague Steven Fisher has found similar trends in his model, which also builds on historical polling data. If the current poll lead continues into the autumn, the Conservatives may well need to start worrying – the accuracy of polling as a predictor of the general election outcome steadily increases as we enter the last six months…

.. The relative stasis in the polls is partly because the structural weaknesses of parties and leaders (Miliband’s poor ratings, the damaged Tory brand, and the Liberal Democrat betrayal) are all priced in to the polling numbers we have been seeing. This means that axioms such as that ‘oppositions need to be further ahead at this stage’ or that ‘governments will always be rewarded for a growing economy’ may not necessarily come to fruition given the listlessness of the polls.

… A polling swing back would provide the Conservatives with a valuable morale boost, but thanks to the disadvantages of the electoral system, Cameron’s party still have a lot to do even if the tide of public opinion starts to turn in their favour.”

In my view we really need to wait until the IndyRef and the party conferences have come and gone. What will be the numbers look like in late October and early November.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble