Saturday, January 08, 2011

By-election polls - take them with a pinch of salt

I see that ConservativeHome are reporting two polls from Oldham East & Saddleworth which show a modest Labour lead as evidence that Labour will win a 'thumping' victory.

I would take this interpretation with a pinch of salt.

I well remember during the Hartlepool by-election in 2004 that an NOP poll for Channel 4 put Labour a whacking 33% ahead.  The actual result?  Labour won by only 6%.

And it would have been less if the poll hadn't put Lib Dem helpers off from coming to help!

There was a similar poll, IIRC, in Birmingham Hodge Hill.

Parliamentary by-elections are all about momentum, and a lot of that is created by the sheer amount of effort that goes in during the last few days of the campaign.

We now have clear evidence to show local voters that the election is a 'two horse race', and this is likely to help us narrow the gap sharply.

Reports from the campaign are good.  I would urge you to get along and help if you possibly can.

1 comment:

David Fleming said...

I tend to look at bookies odds rather than polls. My logic is that with actual money riding on getting it right, they are more likely to be careful with their predictions.

The odds do not look good for the lib dems: bookies make them roughly 8/1 to win. Labour are 1/12 odds on favourite.