Saturday, January 2, 2010

A (probably) freakish YouGov subsample marks the turn of the decade

The final YouGov poll of the decade produced some truly mad-as-a-bucket-of-frogs figures in its Scottish subsample, with Labour nudging close to 50%, the SNP slumping to fourth place, and the Conservatives somehow clinging onto (joint) second place despite plummeting nine points. Here are the full figures -

Labour 46% (+9)
Liberal Democrats 17% (+9)
Conservatives 17% (-9)
SNP 13% (-11)
Others 3% (-2)

No surprise to see a few leading members of the so-called Tory 'Herd' over at seize on these numbers, partly to nurse their schoolboy (or in one notable case, schoolgirl) fantasies of the SNP being "squashed" at the general election, and partly to delude themselves that they don't need to take the Labour recovery in the UK-wide headline figures seriously. The argument is that if the narrowing of the Tory lead can be principally explained by a Labour surge in Scotland, it doesn't actually matter, because there are so few Tory target seats north of the border. Curious, though, that Scottish subsamples never seem to be taken quite so seriously by these people when they show, as many have done, the completely opposite story - that Labour's vote has fallen further since 2005 in Scotland than in England. In truth, of course, polls are generally only weighted to the demographics of Great Britain as a whole, and so an oversample of Labour support in Scotland may well be offset by an equivalent undersample in England and Wales.

Talking of, a belated thankyou to everyone who voted me into (ahem) 27th place in the website's annual 'Poster of the Year' poll. May not sound like much of an accolade, but as an unashamedly left-of centre (not to mention Scot Nat, pro-Europe, pro-PR, anti-fox hunting, climate science accepting) poster on an overwhelmingly right-wing forum, I think I did not too bad! Having now posted there regularly for eighteen months or so, I've finally, finally decided to call it a day. As my fellow former poster Ezio pointed out in a comment here a few weeks ago, there really is very little point in the few remaining left-leaning posters continuing to plug away there, when all it really achieves is to give the site the veneer of remaining the 'broad church' it has now pretty comprehensively ceased to be. I agreed with Ezio at the time, but habits are difficult things to break, and I found myself drifting back. But after yet another round of personal abuse from the 'Herd' yesterday (this time I was a "chauvanistic t*sser"), not to mention the all-too-familiar late-night spat that followed with the most ubiquitous member of the Tory Lady Triumverate when I dared to stick up for myself, I think enough is finally enough. To remove all temptation for me to change my mind this time, I've even removed PB from my blog list here (yes, posting there really has proved that addictive!). I've replaced it with Anthony Wells' UK Polling Report, which is an equally useful resource for up-to-the-minute polling information.

Apart from anything else, I started this blog at roughly the same time as I began posting on PB, and it's sometimes wistfully occurred to me that if I'd spent as much time posting here as I have there (and making cameos on other sites such as Rachel Lucas) I could really have built up this blog by now. Ironically in saying that, I've somewhat lost my appetite for political blogging in recent weeks, but with a general election now firmly in the offing, perhaps that's only temporary. In the meantime, Happy New Decade to all - and I give you fair warning, the Eurovision season is already underway!