How good are the predictive skills of politics dons?

How good are the predictive skills of politics dons?

    Is it worth following the university “experts” or the punters?

Back in November 2006 the body for politics academics in Britain’s universities, the Political Studies Association, commissioned a MORI poll to find our how their members viewed the then political situation and the prospects for the parties.

At the time the betting markets had the hung parliament option as the most likely general election outcome and the split in the “most seats” betting was CON 55%-LAB 45%. The latest polls had the Tories upto 8 points ahead.

Well at exactly the same time the academic “experts” split like this in their forecast: LAB maj 53% : HUNG 28%: CON maj 18%. The 283 respondents were also questioned about what outcome they personally were hoping for at the General Election – and, strange this given they are academics who can presumably detach their own personal wishes from their considered opinions – came up with very similar numbers LAB maj 54%: HUNG 21%: CON maj 15%.

On their choice of “most capable PM” the group went 49-10 for Brown over Cameron. On “most capable” Chancellor it was Brown 68: Cable 8: Osborne 4%.

It would be good if the Association could repeat the exercise this year.

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Mike Smithson

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