AMENDED 4.30 pm Thursday.
Fifty years of over-estimating Labour
The heart of our election prediction formula that has caused so much debate is the undisputed fact that all the pollsters seem to have a flaw when it comes to assessing Labour. This is not new and has been going on for decades.
In only two of the General Elections over the past fifty years have the pollsters not over-stated Labour – February 1974 and the Tory landslide of 1983. Since then the record has been abysmal.
1992 General Election. The vast majority of polls were over the top with the Labour share with one or two notable exception Gallup and Harris. Not one single poll produced results that even hinted that John Major would win by a margin of 8%. Probably the biggest polling failure there has ever been.
1997 General Election. The pollsters fared better but forty-eight of the 50 polls in the final month over-stated Labour by upto 11%. Two ICM surveys stopped it being a clean sweep of failure
2001 General Election. Every single poll from every single pollster got Labour wrong and the error in every case was an over-statement. Even Rasmussen – the only pollster to get the Tories right – had Labour 2% higher than it was.
2004 Euro Elections. The two pollsters currently showing the lowest Labour shares – YouGov and Populus – were the only ones to carry out surveys. Both had inflated Labour figures.
2004 Hartlepool by-election. Only one poll but it showed a Labour lead of 33% against an actual 6%.
When faced with this litany of failure the only sensible strategy is to discount all Labour shares in all opinion polls.
This is what we have done with General Election prediction formula. We take the lowest two current polls for Labour, average them, and then deduct 1.5%. Faced with what’s gone on before any other route would be foolhardy.
Meanwhile the spread prices have stayed the same. LAB 345-353: CON 200-208: LD 70-74. There’s a long way to go and our strategy is to wait for Labour to get higher or the Tories to drop further. There’s money to be made from pollsters.
Labour seat prices:-
360 + 11/10
0 – 335 7/4
352 – 359 11/2
344 – 351 6/1
336 – 343 7/1