Another way of looking at the survey information
With the big question in British politics today being how the Tories are doing under their new leader the opinion polls are being scrutinised more closely than usual.
In the raw data for this week’s Times poll a total of 229 respondents told Populus that they had voted Tory at the General Election – just eight months ago. But 277 people in the survey, in excess of fifth more, said they would vote Tory now. Yet the headline figure in the poll had the party at 36% compared with the 33.2% on election day.
For if you apply the increase in support found in the survey to what actually happened on May 5th you get 40.15% for Cameron’s party.
What is happening? Is the Tory recovery bigger than the pollster’s headline figure? I believe it is
Support for my notion comes if you apply the same calculation to the final Populus poll before the General Election – the one that was published only hours before the polling booths opened. Such polls are great reference points because you can test them against real results.
That May 2005 survey had 282 people saying they had voted Tory at the previous General Election with 292 saying they were going with Michael Howard’s party that Thursday. So barely any movement at all was being picked up by the figures – something that we all know happened on the day.
Interestingly the same is true of ICM as well. In its final General Election poll it had 193 saying they were voting Conservative on the Thursday with 191 stating they had voted for the party at the previous General Election. The calculation here would have put the Tories on 33.04% or just one quarter of a point below what happened compared.
In those General Election surveys my approach to the data would have produced more accurate Tory shares than the pollsters had
There is no right or wrong here but my judgement is that Populus’s headline figures understate the current Tory position.
Latest Lib Dem betting:- Hughes 1.28/1: Campbell 1.76/1: Huhne 8/1: Oaten 17/1.