With polls coming think and fast we’ve not featured an ICM survey, commissioned by Age Concern and the Fawcett Society among older women. The survey produced vote shares of CON 42%: LAB 29%: LD 21%. About one in five of those surveyed said they were still undeicided. The survey contrasts with a similar one before the 1997 General Election when 40 per cent of women over 55 backed Labour.
According to a report in the Independent a key issue for this group was pension provision for women and only 18% of them said Labour was doing enough to deal with what they said was a “crisis”.
British Electoral Study Update
Anthony Wells of UK Polling Report site has now published more information about Tuesday’s British Electoral Study poll that showed that the Tories were enjoying a 2.8% lead amongst those saying they were “certain to vote”. This is not a normal poll as we know it and the 3,000 who were interviewed were randomly selected from the entire electorate, contacted by the survey team who then went their homes to interview them.
Anthony notes…Probability Sampling is the ultimate in polling – you donâ€™t have the same problems of people not using landlines, or not being available when the interviewer calls – it is as close to a genuinely random sample of the populus as is possible in an opinion poll. Whereas phone polls get response rates of something like one in six, the BESâ€™s probability survey last election got a response rate of 53% in 2001. At this election they are also offering modest financial recompense to people who answer their poll in order to increase response rate even further.
The downside of probability sampling is that itâ€™s very expensive and it takes ages to contact and interview people spread across the entire country. Hence the fieldwork dates for the BES survey stretches from late February until late March, so will not include any changes in support since the budget, for example. Theoretically though, it should be a very accurate picture of the voting intentions of those certain to vote.
My personal betting
The BES survey, together with today’s Mori poll which has both the Tories and Labour on 37% amongst those certain to vote, has convinced me that there is value in a Tory buy bet at the current levels of 199-204 seats. At that level Michael Howard’s party would be still 119 MPs short of an overall majority and for each seat above the buy level my profit will increase. The downside risk of them getting less than 204 is now relatively low particularly as the threat of UKIP diverting Tory votes seems to have all but disappeared.