What will almost certainly be the most important and significant test of the opinion polls ahead of the General Election has been completed now all the results from the Euro Elections in Great Britain are in.
We’ve been saying for months that a test of this nature is unique and incredibly valuable for political gamblers as we look forward to the next General Election. There’s no hiding place when a pollster puts out numbers that can be tested against real people voting in real elections.
EURO ELECTION -FINAL GB TALLY
These are the final shares of the vote from last Thursday’s Euro election in Great Britain:-
CON 26.7: LAB 22.6: UKIP 16.1: LIBD 14.9: GRN 6.3
These were the YouGov and Populus polls before the election:-
YouGov CON 26: LAB 24: UKIP 21: LDEM 13 GRN 6
Populus CON 24: LAB 25/26: UKIP 13: LDEM 16-18: GRN 8/9
For the opinion poll comparison all the short-term focus will be on YouGov’s exaggerated figure for UKIP which was 4.9% greater than was actually achieved and some will say affected the whole campaign. Whether this is true or not we do not know but similar exaggerated figures from YouGov for Steve Norris in the Mayor vote did him no good at all. By comparison the Populus figure for YouGov was 3% lower than actually happened.
But the clear message for political gamblers looking to the General Election is that the YouGov figures were closest for the Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems and Green
But even though YouGov was pretty accurate it still under-shot with the Tory share by 0.7% and over-shot Labour by 1.4% – this is exactly the opposite of what the firms critics have been saying.
Taking into account its closer prediction on UKIP Populus came out of this test pretty well only slightly underestimating the Tories and over-estimating Labour and the Lib Dems.
In the months ahead we will be referring to these polls a lot.