CON takes 12% lead in ComRes/Mail poll which uses new methodology to deal with turnout

CON takes 12% lead in ComRes/Mail poll which uses new methodology to deal with turnout

In its first post GE15 phone survey for the Daily Mail ComRes is reporting a 12% CON lead. In an attempt to learn the lessons of May 7th the firm has developed a new Vote Turnout Model which seeks to refine the standard likelihood to vote questions that are common across many firms.

This is how the firm describes its new approach:-

“Our approach has been to look at the polls from an “external” perspective. That means looking at other data – actual results, census data, population projections, and so on – to ensure external anchor points for the design of our voting intention surveys.

By using this non-survey data we have now established an important principle: that the extent of this overstatement varies among different demographic groups.

In particular, our modelling of the election result, based on constituency-level turnout data as well as ward-level turnout data from local elections held at the same time, strongly suggests that less affluent voters are more likely to exaggerate their turnout likelihood.

Some have called this ‘Lazy Labour’, an unfortunately pejorative label, which also focuses too much on its effect on one party. In fact, when we looked at the 2010 results, we saw much the same level of overstatement in less affluent areas – especially those with high levels of ‘multiple deprivation’.

The modelling also identified a clear correlation between age, social grade and deprivation and turnout levels (particularly at the extremes of the scale), giving us a better idea of what the voting public actually looks like…”

Well done to ComRes for being the first pollster to publish a poll after looking at what happened at GE15. I know others are also working at it. This does appear to be on the right lines. Clearly the issue from May 7th was that significantly more people were telling pollsters that they were voting LAB than actually did so.

My own concern with phone polls concerns the sampling and whether those who respond and agree to take part are representative of the electorate as a whole. No doubt that and other issues will be looked at by the BPC inquiry.

Mike Smithson

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