UK Election: Final Polls & Demographics Could Be Skewing Them

8th June 2017

Final UK Election Polls:

-ICM Guardian: Conservative 46%; Labour 34% (12% lead vs 11% prior); suggests a conservative majority of 96 seats

-Comres Independent: Consevrative 44%; Labour 34%; (10% lead vs 12% prior); suggests a conservative majority of 74 seats

-Panelbase: Conservative 44%; Labour 36% (8% lead, unchged vs prior)

-Kantar: Conservative 43%; Labour 38% (5% lead vs 10%)

-Yougov: Conservative 42%; Labour 35% (7% lead vs 4%); Yougov thinks there will be a Tory majority

-Survation: Conservative 41.3%; Labour 40.4% (0.9% lead vs 1.1% prior) (why is this one so tight?  See below)

-Herald/BMG: Cons 46%, Lab 33%, LibDem 8%, UKIP 5%; implies Tories 380 seats, Labour 190

Why Does Survation Show Such A Tight Race vs The Other Polls?

The below piece was first written and distributed by our InTouch FX team yesterday.  If you’d like to receive our full preview of the General Election including timing of results, polls and projections, fill in your details here:

On the eve of the election the pollsters are frantically rubbing their crystal balls, checking their tea leaves then pinning the tail on their modelling donkey to try salvage some of the reputation lost over recent votes.

We noted when YouGov first published their MRP seat projection model that it should be applauded as an intellectual exercise, as they were at least making an effort to atone for past sins, but as a forecasting tool it was as useful as a chocolate teapot with a spread of 10.5% in their seat prediction.

Anecdotal evidence form the grass root supporter of both main parties suggest that Theresa May will win , and with a comfortable majority, but the pollsters are falling over themselves to predict every result possible – right up until we go to vote.

The main differentiating factor in these polls is in the wide variety of ways they make assumptions on turnout filters. What is particularly pertinent here is the youth turnout that pollsters are predicting. There is a pretty clear split between generations particularly with regards to Brexit and immigration .

And herein lies my problem with the pollsters- Survation – who have gained much media attention thanks to the 1 point lead yesterday – have turnout in the 18-24 Demographic in the region of 83%. Really? You couldn’t get 83% turnout from 18-24 year olds at a free lager and kebab evening.. how you expect to persuade that many into a polling station I don’t know. We saw similar excitement ahead of the Scottish referendum – but they stayed at home – and their parents voted to stay in the UK. Historically turnout in the 18-24 bracket has been around 40%. YouGov have taken 2015 turnout as a baseline – and assumed another 5% will turnout, but they still estimate youth turnout at under 50%.

Late voter registration have been pronounced and have largely come from younger voters, accounting for the way some of the pollsters have looked at this. InTouch FX wrote yesterday about the move from traditional advertising to direct online advertising, with both major parties engaged in some pretty aggressive dirty tactics, and there are clearly concerns that such hidden advertising is seemingly unregulated and hidden.. and distorts the fundamental principle of an even playing field when it comes to the democratic process. Both sides appear to be at it, and the viral, third party, unsubstantiated type advertising is getting more and more commonplace. We’ve had scandal on Tory party election funding, but I suspect in the future they need to look at how to regulate online adverts. The website notes that “Voters using Facebook and YouTube in different areas of the country will have had very different experiences of the campaign; whilst marginal seats have always had more focus from campaigns”. Conservatives have had the edge purely because they have raised double the funding. The effects of this will be incredibly hard to pick up for the pollsters.

One thing I would say when looking at the key youth vote. It’s exam time at schools colleges and universities across the country. To me that is a BIG factor not being considered. I think the chances are high that the 18-24 year old demographic will be noisy during the campaign, but not turnout tomorrow.

How the young Remainer votes when they turn up to their first general election is interesting, but so too is how the former UKIP vote goes. Everyone (Except MG who reminded me – thx) is forgetting they got 12.9% of the vote in 2015. Now they are polling just 4% and only putting up 300 candidates. That is a big boost for the Tories right from the start. The 8.9% that have deserted UKIP is seen splitting 45% Conservative and just 15% Labour, which I’m told is enough for around 13 seats in itself.

InTouch FX have already looked at the 36 constituencies which voted to Leave the EU, but have small Labour Majorities (under 5,000). A lot of these would have had UKIP candidates, which would have pulled Tory votes away. The decline of UKIP, and the pre Brexit vote last year, means these seats are especially vulnerable to being taken from Labour

Author: Graham Williams