London: The Pollsters vs The Punters vs PoliticsHome

London: The Pollsters vs The Punters vs PoliticsHome


    Which is the best guide to the likely outcome?

Just twelve days to go before more than five million Londoners get the chance to vote in an election that is being widely regarded as a proxy for the general election. Because it is in the capital and because of the massive national media coverage the winner of Britain’s single election will have an enormous impact on the overall political environment.

The stakes are enormous: a Conservative win with Boris Johnson will provide a massive platform for Cameron in his general election campaign; a Conservative defeat will raise doubts about the party leadership and will cause many to question the big national opinion poll leads that they are currently enjoying.

It was David Cameron, after all, who was the main force behind the Boris Johnson candidature. So which way is it going to go? Can Livingstone hold onto the job he has made his own over the past eight years?

I thought it would be useful to bring together the available numerical data:-

  • The mayoral polls from Anthony Wells’s UK Polling Report site
  • The latest betting trends from the micro-site provided for PB from Bestbetting. these are expressed as implied probabilities.
  • The views of 100 assembled “experts” for the PoliticsHome mayoral index
  • With the latest polls from both MORI and YouGov showing a 6% Johnson margin on first preferences the one that is slightly out of kilter is the new site, the political news aggregator, PoliticsHome. Their figures are based on regular surveys of 100 “experts” who are regularly asked questions. Now I wonder if the views of the panel members would be different if they were backing them up with hard cash? The prospect of losing a lot of money if your analysis is wrong certainly focuses the mind.

    The next mayoral polls will be vital. My guess is that we should see the regular one from YouGov in the Evening Standard on Monday but I have not heard if anything is planned for publication this weekend.

    Four years ago the final YouGov poll had it at Ken 37% to Norris’s 26% on first preferences. In the election the shares were Ken 35.7% to Norris’s 28.2%.

    Mike Smithson

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