Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Wisdom of the Crowds #4

There is something worrying me, which I would like reassurance about.

Luke Akehurst wrote today that "the Tories are not going to get anywhere near winning if they can only manage a 3% lead at this stage in the electoral cycle (despite shiny new leader). Cameron is 11 months into his leadership. When Blair had been leader of the opposition for 11 months he was 19% ahead," echoing received wisdom that British governments tend to do worse in mid term polling and then do better closer to an election. But this doesn't appear to be true.

I had a quick look at opinion polls from ICM and MORI, and compared the polls eighteen months after the last election to the next election result (i.e. the situation we are now in). In every case bar one, what happened was that the Tories increased their support as an election got closer, and Labour did worse. This was the case irrespective of which party was in power.

In November 1980, Labour were 14% ahead, and lost the next election by 16%
In December 1984 Labour were 4% behind according to Mori and 9% according to ICM, and lost the next election by 11%
In December 1988 Labour were behind by 10% (Mori) and 6% (ICM), and lost the next election by 8%
In October 1993 Labour were ahead by 16% (Mori) and 3% (ICM), and won the next election by 13%
In November 1998 Labour were ahead by 24% and 22% and won the next election by 9%
In December 2002 Labour were ahead by 14% in both polls and won the next election by 3%


At 11:35 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don Paskini a friend from afar writes:

check out these arseholes and their blog

I understand there is a by election in Camden - this minds me to go and help.

Three very posh looking white men posting receipes on their blogs looks like a fantastically representative combination for Inner London --- actually, thinking about the local area....

anyway, read this and chuck!


At 12:29 am , Blogger Pete Morton said...

hey dan, here's some reassurance.

If you stretch the interpretation of the polls to reading to the point that you're reading too
much into them you could argue:

the tories were strong finishers because as election gets closer people think more seriously about a choice between one party and the other - so people flocked to the safe option, the Tories, during the 80s and 90s in preference to taking a risky punt on labour.

hopefully now people will flock to labour for safety.shame it means we'll have to run a 1992esque campaign tho


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