Monday, 12 April 2010

Two New Graphs...

These new graphs go back to 1st of March, and show the Labour and Conservative shares, together with the all-important lead. Error bars are also shown, indicating the 95% confidence intervals.

We can see that the lead was narrowest on the 5th March and 24th March, and highest on the 4th April. Since then, the lead appears to have narrowed...

The yo-yo effect on the Labour estimate is due to the wide variation in different pollsters' estimates, particularly as Harris and Opinium enter and exit the field. The pollsters are far more uniform in their estimates of the Tories' share.

Update: all three parties are now displayed on the same graph. At right there's an image illustrating how many seats the LibDems might win for various shares of the vote. It assumes whatever the LD vote share the Tories maintain a roughly five point lead over Labour.

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Monday, 1 March 2010

Civil Servants and Politicians gear-up for a Hung Parliament...

On 24th February 2010 this select committee heard fascinating evidence from a series of civil servants and academics on the likely twists and turns leading to  government formation in the event of a hung parliament. Some questions remained unanswered (or even unasked) but one remarkable exchange at the beginning of the tape suggested that the Meeting of Parliament and the Queen's Speech could be postponed by proclamation - implying that a "defeated" PM could remain in office for a considerable period of time without facing any parliamentary test...

Altogether a remarkable insight into how seriously the Establishment is taking the prospect of a hung parliament, and how their priorities are:

i) the continuance of effective government in a time of uncertainty
ii) the protection of the Queen from controversy
iii) an attempt to codify the rules of the game of party political poker that would ensue.

Note that the wishes of the voters do not feature on this list. They would be deemed to have produced an indecisive result, and their further opinions would be considered redundant. The Establishment would facilitate the installation of any viable government.
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Sunday, 17 January 2010

I, the undermentioned, hereby give notice that...

Your Current Forecast

Why not play along with our seat-by-seat forecast? It works like this...

Friday, 15 January 2010

Introducing a New Graph...

Following on from the PB article in 2006, I have now refined the Battleground Graph to show the best visual estimate of election outcomes.

The differences are small but can be summarised as follows.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Hung Parliament Revisited

The Channel 4 report touched on two points that were mentioned in an article I wrote for PoliticalBetting Channel 2 in April 2009. Here it is reproduced in full, updated slightly to take account of the latest data.

Discussions of the prospect of a hung parliament have probably caused more disagreements here than any other topic. The preponderance of opinion seems to be that the Tories are very likely to win a majority. All things are possible, but before one commits to a position an objective analysis is called for.

What is the Electoral System saying?
The capacity of FPTP to deliver an overall majority is entirely dependent on two factors – its exaggeration when translating votes into seats, and the number of third party MPs.

The first has been in long-term decline since the demise of the “cube-law” in the 1950s, although it has recovered slightly since 1992, and has now stabilised at around a “square-law.” This change, due to the decline in the number of marginals, means that fewer seats now change hands between Labour and Conservative for a given shift in votes, or swing.

The second has seen the number of MPs not aligned with Labour or Conservative grow from just 8 in 1955 to no fewer than 92 in 2005. This change, due to the rise in the LibDems and Nationalists, and the de-coupling of Northern Ireland from the mainland party system, means that to gain an overall majority Labour or Conservative now need a far larger lead in seats over each other than they did in the past.

Combined, these two factors have dramatically altered the British FPTP system from one where hung parliaments were extremely unlikely to one where they are now increasingly likely.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Channel 4 News Report

The media are picking up a Hung Parliament as a seriously possible outcome of the election. Expect more of this as time goes on, until it becomes the default expectation.

When that happens, all parties, not just the Liberal Democrats, will face searching questions about forming a stable government capable of dealing with Britain's problems. David Owen makes a telling point that even a small majority will be insufficient to govern effectively.

2010 will be an election like no other we have seen...
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