How many 2001 votes will Labour retain?

How many 2001 votes will Labour retain?

    Will losses be more than Tony Blair’s feared one in ten?

As Tony Blair seeks to focus wavering Labour supporters on the implications of “one in ten” supporters from last time not going with the party on Thursday it’s worth looking again at some the detail from recent polls.

We have raised this before but according to the last ICM poll for which there is full data the equivalent of 2 out of every 11 people told the interviewer that they had voted Labour last time were not going to do so again.

With the Lib Dems, on the other hand, for every ten people who said they had voted for Charles Kennedy’s party in 2001 a total of 13 were doing so on Thursday. For the Conservatives ten said they were going with Michael Howard on Thursday compared with nine who said they voted for the party last time.

Yet in that very same poll the headline figures showed that Labour had lost just one in twenty voters while the Lib Dems had put on one in twenty and the Conservatives were at a standstill.

    The mathematics that produces the headline figures will be on trial on Thursday.

The reason it looks like this is that ICM and other pollsters make the assumption that many people have false recall when asked what they did four years ago and they make a mathematical adjustment – and it is this calculation that produces the headline figures.

We are not saying ICM or the other pollsters are wrong. It is just that when you examine the numbers they often look odd. Meanwhile today’s five busiest betting markets are:

  • Party winning most seats. Betfair.
  • Lib Dem seats
  • Conservative seats
  • Turnout
  • Bethnal Green & Bow
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