Do we want even more regular YouGov polls?

Do we want even more regular YouGov polls?


    Has the Sun switched from MORI following the Mayoral outcome?

A key thing that polling does, apart from to give some idea about the outcome of a future general election, is to help create the environment in which the political process operates. As we have seen so often the pressure on party leaders can be driven by poor polling numbers.

For there’s little doubt that shocking polls for Labour, like the one in this morning’s Sun, can affect the whole way that contemporary politics is perceived and one set of bad numbers can lead to another.

    Given that at the moment the YouGov methodology seems to be producing the worst results for Labour the last thing that Gord needs is for more regular surveys from the firm.

But judging from the Sun’s report of its poll this morning it looks as though the top-selling tabloid newspaper might have switched to YouGov. The report notes that the paper “…chose YouGov after they accurately predicted the results of last week’s London Mayoral election.

For the last couple of years or so the polls the paper has carried out, almost on a monthly basis, have been by MORI. Now if today’s development means that future Sun surveys will be by YouGov then there could be a pattern of at least three a month from the online pollster. YouGov, of course, already does regular surveys for the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times.

I’m not sure whether this is a good thing – different approaches by different firms can give us a clearer picture and help us to understand better what is going on.

More YouGov polls could also affect the betting – particularly the spread markets on the number of seats that the main parties will get at the next general election. Market movements tend to be drive by the latest polling numbers and, not unexpectedly, the Tory spreads have moved upwards overnight.

The Conservative seat price on Spreadfair is now at 343-347 seats – the lower figure being the sell level and the higher one the buy level. Profits and losses in this form of betting are determined by working out the difference between the contract level and multiplying by your stake amount. So if you sold the Tories at 343 seats at £50 a seat and Cameron’s party ended with 373 seats then you would lose 30 times 50 = £1,500. On the other hand if they only got 323 seats you would win 20 times 50 = £1,000.

With this firm the prices are set by what other punters want to offer. The other spread firms fix the levels themselves and both of them have been down overnight. Expect a new price fix this morning.

Mike Smithson

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