Sunday, May 28, 2017

Full-scale Scottish poll from SurveyMonkey gives SNP a 10% lead over the Tories

Today brings word of the first full-scale Scottish poll for quite a while, but frustratingly it's from SurveyMonkey - they have little track-record in Scotland and therefore it's very difficult to interpret their results.

SNP 39%
Conservatives 29%
Labour 25%
Liberal Democrats 4%

The percentage changes that are being reported in some quarters are from the actual 2015 general election result and not from any previous SurveyMonkey poll.  We don't know whether SurveyMonkey's methodology is SNP-friendly, Tory-friendly, Labour-friendly or essentially neutral, so it's impossible to say for sure whether 39% is 'bad' for the SNP or whether 29% is 'good' for the Tories.  The Sun are attributing epic significance to the fact that the SNP are below 40%, but in reality 39% is within the standard margin of error of the 41-42% recorded by the SNP in the two YouGov polls in the campaign so far.  A 10% gap between SNP and Tory is the lowest reported by any firm during the campaign, but not by much - Panelbase had the gap at 11%, and nobody (with the arguable exception of Google surveys) has had it higher than 15%.  So we'd be jumping to enormous conclusions if we assume that this single poll is proof that the SNP's position has worsened over the course of the campaign - it's perfectly possible that SurveyMonkey's methodology would have produced similar results (at least in respect of the SNP-Tory battle) a month ago.

Nevertheless, there are a few possible causes for concern here -

* The poll reinforces the impression that there has been a Labour recovery, and opens up the possibility that the extra votes are coming more from the SNP than the Tories.  If that is indeed what's happening, it's a tragedy twice over.  Voters moving from SNP to Labour are just making it more likely that the Tories will win several seats in Scotland, and thus potentially boosting Theresa May's overall majority.  In the vast majority of the Tories' target seats in Scotland, the SNP are the only party that can stop them.

* For what it's worth, SurveyMonkey's numbers are eerily similar to today's Scottish subsample from YouGov, which says : SNP 40%, Conservatives 30%, Labour 25%, Liberal Democrats 4%.  As far as I know, YouGov are the only firm who claim to weight their Scottish subsamples properly (although admittedly the margin of error on such a small sample will still be enormous).

* There's a distinct lack of evidence in any of this that the Tory slump south of the border has been replicated in Scotland.  Perhaps that evidence will never arrive - perhaps it simply didn't happen.

* If the SNP's lead over Labour has slipped to 15% or below, we have to accept that some seats may be lost to Labour (although it should be only a handful, unless the situation deteriorates).

My own interpretation is that the SNP are simply suffering from their traditional handicap in Westminster elections - this is an away fixture for them, and they are being largely ignored by the London broadcast media which unfortunately still enjoys such huge influence in Scotland.  (2015 was a freakish exception because of the paranoia in London over the Jocks actually having some say within government.)  However, the good news is that the SNP are still comfortably in first place, and if they can get their voters out (a vitally important 'if') the first-past-the-post system should convert that into a handsome victory.  Even The Sun acknowledge that the SurveyMonkey poll would see the SNP winning more than two-thirds of seats in Scotland.  And there are some advantages to this election being increasingly framed as a traditional Tory v Labour battle - it means that in some battleground seats, the SNP will be able to turn the tables on the unionists' favourite tactic by targeting Labour and Lib Dem supporters with the message : "only the SNP can stop the Tories here".

56 comments:

  1. The SNP campaign this election has been insipid, they really need to start pushing a better narrative next week and they need to re-establish Independence front and centre.

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  2. I agree. The Sun article does say that it was weighted properly so I won't dismiss it, and it really isn't far off from YouGov's last poll and we know Labour have got a boost across GB since then. However since Survey Monkey is not a member of the BPC and there's no previous poll to compare with I'll take it with a pinch of salt for now.

    On these numbers the SNP would lose most of their rural seats to the Conservatives, however they have large majorities in the places where Corbyn's Labour will be up meaning they will likely hold all or most of their former Labour seats.

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  3. A good last 10 days to push the turnout up and a vote around the 45% mark will pretty much return most of the current MPs. However, nothing should be taken for granted and we do need the young to vote.

    It is perhaps encouraging that even in a relatively poor poll for the SNP the Tories are sub 30%. One might hope their slide also continues following what has to be one of the worst election campaigns I can remember. If this had been happening during different times and Labour had a leader popular with the press the Tories could have been wiped out on this performance.

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  4. There is a fair chance now of the SNP being in the high 30s with the Tories in the low 30s. That opens up all kinds of crazy possibilities for GE 2022 and beyond. Within my lifetime, the Conservatives could win a general election in Scotland - something that hasn't happened since 1955.

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    1. I wouldn't bet your house on that if I were you. This election has 'Peak Tory' written all over it. It won't necessarily be the SNP that benefit when they start to slip back, but I'm confident that the slippage will happen.

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  5. Yet, as you reported james, the Sun's Hugo Gye says SurveyMonkey shows support for independence is at 54% - although that was from the subsample? Even so there seems to be some strange things going on. Or am i just reading it wrong?

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    1. The polling firms are pretty much as one in saying that any slippage for the SNP hasn't been accompanied by a drop in support for independence.

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    2. Ironically it would appear that many of those intending to vote Tory are indeed doing so to stop Indyref2, whereas a bunch of 2015 SNP voters/independence supporters may be drifting to other parties because they know this election cannot determine Scotland's independence.

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    3. Then they really ought to stop being so naive.

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    4. I wish they would not, and I hope the 2015 GE does not turn out to be the exception that proves the rule that the SNP are sidelined in Westminster elections.

      I hope Nicola is prepared for fierce verbal aggression from Andrew Neil at 6pm today.

      I also think it is a good decision to allow Angus Robertson to appear in a forthcoming UK wide debate in her place. His majority is going to be down in Moray but this exposure may help him to another victory.

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    5. The simple reason is that there are many who would vote Yes but accept that we had the 2014 vote and don't see a 2nd referendum as a priority right now. The unionist parties understand this well - that's why they're so intent on preventing an actual vote, as it is very likely to be a Yes vote!

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    6. Its not naivety.

      Its an SNP failure.

      I have no idea why they thought that downplaying Independence was remotely good for their campaign and they need to turn that around but judging from the Ridge interview this morning, they aren't going to.

      Its fucking insanity. They are ignoring their trump card at a time Independence support has never been higher and basically throwing away momentum towards Independence. If the SNP really do poll low 40s in this election, that is unforgivable and Sturgeon needs to seriously consider her position.

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    7. Or maybe they support independence, but do not consider it to be their #1 priority when choosing an MP.

      Different people prioritise different things.

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    8. This is the thing. These decisions are also why campaigns have advisors. This generations SNP advisors have run rings around their opponents. Not perfect, but...

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    9. Snp talking about independence now would be idiotic.

      Would only galvanise the unionist vote when a large bunch of yessers do not want another referendum as quick as in two years.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. A superb effort by Nicola Sturgeon in her 30 minute interview with Andrew Neil which has just finished (no doubt will be available on I player).

    Even he seemed impressed by the end :-)

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    Replies
    1. She was flawless and impressive.

      But it still doesn't excuse a fairly weak campaign so far and the decision to downplay Independence.

      There is a reasonable criticism that part of the problem the SNP have had this election is that they've had fewer opportunities to get their message across than in 2015 and when they do, interviewers concentrate on Devolved Matters.

      However, as its the SNP who are downplaying Independence and its the biggest UK Wide matter in their bag, that's not entirely the fault of interviewers.

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  8. I can understand why the SNP are not shouting about independence. Basically May stole the SNP's thunder about what happens next regards Independence when she called for the snap election 7 weeks ago.

    The SNP have their manifesto launch on Tuesday which you hope will boost support a bit - although we've seen these things depending on how good the manifesto is can drain support too e.g the Tories vs Labour in this election.

    The worry for the SNP is that being a broad church that they will leak some voters to the main two parties. The 'Tartan' Tories in the rural areas who possibly voted SNP in the past to stop a Lab govt at Westminster, along with some Brexit supporters are going 'home' to the Tories ; some socialist, left voters who possibly voted Yes but see social issues as their main concern are toying with voting for Labour.

    It also looks from this one poll, and whilst I haven't seen the methodology, it is not that far from the last few YouGov,Survation etc ones ; another concern is that the Tories don't seem to be shipping support to Labour.

    If the SNP can keep losses in support to a minimal and poll anything from 42-47% on the day then it should be excellent night and a return of at least 50 MPs. There's also local factors at play e.g I think Robertson and Wishart will both keep their seats, more confident of Robertson but Wishart should too. You also have constituencies where capital U Unionists may not know who is best to vote for e.g Renfrewshire East, Dunbartonshire East, North East Fife, Edinburgh South - which may help the SNP hold their seats if the Unionist vote does go to all three parties.

    As for the SNP's campaign, I agree it has been a bit lack luster. I also seen a conversation on Twitter by a couple of young Yes voters who seem completely scunnered by it all (I believe James seen this too and wrote about it a while back) and this is where our problem might be ; apathy and voters not bothering to turn out along with modest leaks to other parties, and if it all comes in to play then the SNP would be looking at about 40%

    Let's see how this week goes with the manifesto and we'll surely see a poll at some point too.

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    1. I mean Scotland has had more IMPORTANT elections in the last 5 years or so than I had in my first twenty as a voter. It should be noted that the main hurdle to getting independence is to get the middle ground general guy or guy on the street to actually consider it. As people move about tactically and your 45+% support over time actually means that 55...60...65% etc of the populace will have supported it, making it less threatening.

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  9. Frau Merkel says the EU can no longer rely on the UK and USA and has to go its own way....
    What side will the Nat sis take?..Seems the World of politics is changing fast...The EU beaurocracy is on collision with democracy.... Knickerless and the Nat sis have to choose the UK or Merkel...

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    Replies
    1. Love, Love, Love.
      Love, Love, Love.
      Love, Love, Love.
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      It's easy.
      All you need is love.
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      Nothing you can know that isn't known.
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      Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
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      All you need is love (All together, now!)
      All you need is love (Everybody!)
      All you need is love, love. Love is all you need (love is all you need).

      Delete
  10. While I'm here ignoring the britnatmentalcases. Has JK Plagiarist attacked the silencing of poor Katie Hopkins yet? Or has Nick Cohen written a fulminating tirade? I'm sure it happened and I just wasn't paying attention.

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    Replies
    1. Do not ignore and do pay attention... The fate of Scotland is in your hand do not toss it away.

      Delete
    2. I use both hands

      Delete
    3. Love, Love, Love.
      Love, Love, Love.
      Love, Love, Love.
      There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
      Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
      Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
      It's easy.
      Nothing you can make that can't be made.
      No one you can save that can't be saved.
      Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
      It's easy.
      All you need is love.
      All you need is love.
      All you need is love, love.
      Love is all you need.
      Nothing you can know that isn't known.
      Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
      Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
      It's easy.
      All you need is love (All together, now!)
      All you need is love (Everybody!)
      All you need is love, love. Love is all you need (love is all you need).

      Delete
  11. I can see a little evidence of Survey Monkey conducting political polls in the past, but in general they are just an online form hosting service.

    Have the Sun said anything to confirm that Survey Monkey have been managing this, including the weighting etc, or is it possible that SM's input is just hosting the form with the Sun itself doing the weighting etc?

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  12. I do not believe that the poll reflects reality. We have had plenty of evidence in recent years of polls being wildly wrong.

    The Tories have done nothing in Scotland in the last fortnight to increase their share of the vote, and there has been plenty of bad publicity for them, as the supposed favourites, over the whole UK. And while the Labour Party has picked up in England, campaigning in Scotland has been almost non-existent, with no good publicity at all. And even if Labour in Scotland has regained some lost ground, that should be reflected in a reduced Tory percentage, as we have seen in the local elections that the increased Tory vote was due in large measure to Labour unionists switching to the Tories.

    Even allowing for an decrease in the SNP support, I don't expect its vote to be below 42%, nor the Tories to be above 28%, and that including Labour switchers.

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    Replies
    1. The Scottish people may rise again from this Nat si bubble of delusion and get back to Labour....As long as good people are prepared to make a stand the Nat sis will not prevail.

      Delete
    2. Do what I do and support the tories for a stronger and stable england

      Delete
    3. Love, Love, Love.
      Love, Love, Love.
      Love, Love, Love.
      There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
      Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
      Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
      It's easy.
      Nothing you can make that can't be made.
      No one you can save that can't be saved.
      Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
      It's easy.
      All you need is love.
      All you need is love.
      All you need is love, love.
      Love is all you need.
      Nothing you can know that isn't known.
      Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
      Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
      It's easy.
      All you need is love (All together, now!)
      All you need is love (Everybody!)
      All you need is love, love. Love is all you need (love is all you need).

      Delete
  13. As a Yank, I don't trust American polling companies and my kneejerk reaction is to dismiss the company entirely. They simply don't work by the same standards as UK polling companies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Polling is actually political interference by those who have an interest and not in the interest of the people.

      Delete
    2. Love, Love, Love.
      Love, Love, Love.
      Love, Love, Love.
      There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
      Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
      Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
      It's easy.
      Nothing you can make that can't be made.
      No one you can save that can't be saved.
      Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
      It's easy.
      All you need is love.
      All you need is love.
      All you need is love, love.
      Love is all you need.
      Nothing you can know that isn't known.
      Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
      Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
      It's easy.
      All you need is love (All together, now!)
      All you need is love (Everybody!)
      All you need is love, love. Love is all you need (love is all you need).

      Delete
  14. I have a bad feeling about this election for the SNP. The unionist vote is galvanising and growing. The SNP have been very quiet and i think there internal polling is suggesting a bad outcome. I hope i am hopelesly out of touch and entirely wrong but i have met a lot of resistance from people who voted SNP two years ago.

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    Replies
    1. I have to agree to be honest, I know a lot of folk who voted SNP in 2015 who are switching to Tory or back to Labour. I fear that our Indy chance is gone for the foreseeable future unless Scottish Labour were to change their tune on Independence (as many of their members would like them to do). I think after 10 years in Government people are just getting sick of the SNP which unfortunately is not exactly unexpected.

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    2. I think we need to take a step back here and remind ourselves that this poll is pointing to the SNP winning well over two-thirds of the seats. It would have to be worse than that before any of these dire scenarios would play out. (Although admittedly it could yet be worse than that due to differential turnout.)

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    3. That is enough of a mandate for Independence.

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  15. Strange, your experience is opposite of mine, left ex Labour voters coming to the SNP and the right wing Blairite/ Ultra unionists returning to the Torys.

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  16. On those numbers the Tories could potentially win 15 seats and casualties would include Salmond, Robertson, Wishart, Gethins and Nicholson. It might be a victory but it'd be akin to the Tories losing the entire cabinet but winning a majority.

    Projections from electoral calculas and lord Ashcroft put Douglas Ross as much as 6% ahead of Angus Robertson. The reality is in the North East it is SNP voters going Tory, I know that's hard for Central Belt minded Scots to appreciate but most of the North East SNP vote was carved out of Tory voters in the first place hence the old "tartan Tory" jibe. It was always likely the Tories would be chief benefactors from an anti SNP backlash there.

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    Replies
    1. Those numbers would result in the Conservatives winning the whole north east, Argyll and bute, the borders, east Dunbartonshire, edinbrugh north, south west, west, perth, fife north east, and east ren......oh and Orkney and Shetland


      Let's hope it isn't like that.

      I think that is the lowest of the SNP support, with the highest being 45%

      Also, just to argue with your post, I'm Aberdeenshire, but the lib dem support has utterly collapsed and gone to the tories, that's why they are in contention all over the place. The 'tartan' tories that voted snp are still voting snp.

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    2. Sorry, east ren and Edinburgh north goes to labour not tories

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    3. Just checked with William Hill, Angus 4/5 fav for Moray Alex 1/8 fav for Gordon

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    4. Yeh, personally I think Angus and Alex should be fine, be very close in Angus, but Salmond loves campaigning and he loves a fight.

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  17. The SNP's position probably hasn't been helped by the delay to the manifesto launch meaning people will have basically just over a week to understand what they might be voting for with them.

    On the flipside it might mean some useful publicity when it most counts

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  18. I am not going to publish this on my blog till after the election is gone by, hopefully without too much damage. But in what is a relatively private space in this comments section, I should say I think the SNP has fought a low energy lacklustre campaign. A decision not to argue the case for Independence means they have accepted to fight on enemy chosen ground - which has been devolved areas and performance of the glorified council at Holyrood. The fundamental flaw in the "gradualist" approach - that you get blamed for failures of a Scotland hamstrung by the Union - is exposed.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry but this election was always going to be about their record and devolved issues. Why? Because it is there biggest weakness and the unionists know that.

      They use the indyref2 to galvanise the no voters behind them and then the floating voters are gobbled up who believe all the negative stuff around the snp.

      The Snp have talked about indyref2, Nicola said yesterday that a majority of mp's is mandate for Westminster to give us another referendum.

      They were stuck between a rock and hard place, but my thoughts are they should have waited until we know what brexit looks like, only then will you have the weight of public opinion on your side....as it's not going to be pretty, but saying it isn't going to be pretty NOW, is not what the public want to hear or talk about, primarily because they have heard it all before.

      There is a time when to shut up and a time to talk and that's the current issue.

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    2. I think I agree with you, Chalks. Good point about the rock and hard place e.g they would have been critised either way if they didn't mention wanting to be part of Europe, or about having an independence referendum.

      You can also look at the Lib Dems, they have almost been been campaigning on a pro-EU/second EU ref alone and are doing absolutely nothing in the polls. They of course are being squeezed too ; but even for many Remain voters I don't think EU is that big an issue.

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  19. The SNP vote has slid because of the following reasons:

    1. By pushing for indy ref 2 they lost their 2014 no voters

    2. By pushing to stay in the EU they lost many of their leave voters to the Conservatives and probably Labour as well

    3. They've lost some independence supporters to Labour, who like Corbyn and feel like he can bring about change in Westminster and the SNP can't.

    4. The Tories have taken over the anti SNP message and Corbyn has the platform of London media coverage. The SNP have been drowned out, and don't have a clear reason or message, although the manifesto launch may give then much needed publicity and purpose at the right time.

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  20. Good points.

    The Lib Dems are also using this election to push the EU vote, and it doesn't seem to be gaining any traction for them at all. Some polls have them losing even more seats than the 8 they held.

    The SNP have also been in government for 10 years now. I know, I know this isn't a Holyrood election ; but for too many people it will do.

    If the SNP can whack up at least 43% of the vote, they should do well and keep at least 40 MPs.

    This election has me spinning and turning. At times I look at the constituencies and think we'll do alright, but other times I have a bad feeling.

    Look at Perth/North Perth - Wishart has 50% of the vote in 2015, and 10,000 more votes than the Tories who polled 33% on a 75% turnout. Even if you add up all the other candidates, they can't even beat him. So if the Tories do win, it'll be from 'tartan' Tories going back to them and SNP apathy.

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  21. Some better news for the SNP in todays SUBSAMPLE Comres poll.
    Excluding DK, SNP 47% TORY 26% LABOUR 21% LIBDEM 4% GREEN 1%

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  22. just completed 2 different yougov polls asking who I'd vote for in the General Election. First one was more detailed then the second but strange to get 2 in such quick succession

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  23. Chalks, if you fancy Labour for East Ren and Edin N and Leith you can get 10/1 and 9/1 respectively. Go for it.

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    1. Haha, I don't actually, but pumped the figures into electoral calculus and that's what came out.

      Tories will take East Ren, fairly confident that the bookies have it correct.

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  24. Polls are fine but the bookies are rarely wrong ill go with them.

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    1. On politics, the bookies are wrong constantly. I don't know how many more times they have to be wrong before people stop treating them as a predictive God.

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