Election catch-up: what a hung parliament would look like (and the truth from Nicola Sturgeon)

Polls of polls and polls of pollsters: all the psephology you can eat

1. I was away for Easter weekend, but not before I had devised this super Venn diagram for The Independent on Sunday of possible election outcomes (the SNP circle does not intersect with the Conservative one), trying to identify the policy overlaps.

The full version is on i100 here, which includes the five smaller parties expected to have more than one MP in the new House of Commons (DUP, UKIP, Plaid Cymru, SDLP) or one MP and significant national support (Green Party).

One critic complained that the diagram implies that the parties agree on (England) schools policy. My view is that the differences are trivial in practice even if important in principle. Labour and the Lib Dems are opposed to unqualified teachers, and Labour is opposed to new free schools in areas of “surplus” school places.

(There is one error: "Spend more on NHS" and "Build more houses" should be in the central Lab-Con-Lib Dem triangle.)

2. I went away just after the TV debate. Four days later I cannot remember much except that David Cameron was serious, and Ed Miliband said, “There you go again,” which was an odd American reference.

The average of the four post-debate polls (YouGov, ComRes, Survation, ICM) asking who “won” was:

Cameron 22%

Miliband 21½%

Farage 21%

Sturgeon 19%

The May2015.com five-day rolling average poll of polls, as featured on The Independent website, today shows a Conservative lead of 0.1 percentage points, so nothing much has happened (not that the polls over the bank holiday weekend are particularly reliable).

3. Ian Leslie commented on Cameron’s listlessness in the New Statesman on Saturday. It is a point that has been made before – that the Prime Minister’s attempt to avoid appearing arrogant and slick makes him look resigned to losing – and it will be made again if he doesn’t raise the aggression a notch in the last four weeks.

4. The Nicola Sturgeon story on Sunday was interesting. A leaked civil service note said she had told the French ambassador that she would “rather see Cameron remain as Prime Minister”, and that she did not think that Miliband was “prime minister material”. 

The first of these statements of the obvious was denied by her and by the ambassador, so I believe the civil servant note-taker, naturally.

5. Also in The Independent on Sunday was our first Poll of Pollsters of the election campaign proper. We last asked the bosses of the 10 active polling companies to predict the election in January. This time the average prediction (where their estimates were specific enough) put the Tories up a bit, but still four seats short of the point at which Cameron could stay on as Prime Minister with the support of the Lib Dems, DUP and UKIP.

p_1.jpg

 

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Conservative 280 (average prediction in January: 273), Labour 273 (301), SNP 45 (22), Liberal Democrat 25 (26), Ukip 4 (5), Plaid Cymru 3 (3), Green 1 (1), Respect 1 (1).

6. And finally, a rather obvious attempt to get into my list of Questions To Which The Answer Is No from Paul Mason in The Guardian (thanks to Harris):

“Can Marxist theory predict the end of Game of Thrones?”

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