The polls look as though they will stay gloomy for the Tories
Just eleven days before Christmas we said that those wanting to back Labour should do it then and those wanting to risk money on the Tories should wait.
That’s proved to be good advice and since then the markets have moved in the way we thought they would. The Spreadfair Labour buy price is now 355 seats and the Tory spreads are 193-197 seats.
The big drivers of market sentiment are the polls and we do not see any respite here for the Tories.
The next from Populus, is due on Tuesday in the Times and with the changed methodology which seems to give a better view of Labour, we expect the party’s price to harden. The Tory spreads should drop a touch.
Even YouGov, which always seemed to be the bright spot of the month for Michael Howard, has been showing a constant Labour lead for months and a much lower Tory figure. Between January and May last year it had the Tories on either 39 or 40%. Then the Euro elections came, there was a political row, and the Tory figure has been in the doldrums.
Anthony Wells, a regular contributor on the site who runs UK Polling Report, has raised some interesting issues on how YouGov work their figures out. A key factor is that about one in five of the adult population is over-65 – yet, according to Anthony, a recent survey seems to indicate that the pollster gives this group a weighting of 8.4%.
Anthony Wells observes: Unless there is some mistake in the weighting figures in this table, or for some reason it was deliberately weighted to a profile other than that of Great Britain as a whole, YouGov are drastically underepresenting over 65s in their polls even after their weighting (and bizarrely – they are weighting over 65s downwards, over 65s were 8.4% of the unweighted sample), and over-representing those between 45 and 64. YouGov say they obtain their weights from the NRS and the Census, but I can’t see how they got these targets.
Because the 65+ group are much more likely to vote and be Tories we estimate that the weighting issue could be affecting party’s share by as much as 3%.
There could be a simple explanation and we have waited for 48 hours before reporting this to see if there has been a reaction on Anthony’s site. There hasn’t and we are contacting the head of YouGov, Peter Kellner for his views. When he replies we will publish it here.
Whatever Tory betting prices look set to fall further.