Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is it not utterly presumptuous of us not to assume that the Tories are bound to triumph?

I haven't visited my old haunt at Political Betting for a couple of weeks, but I finally succumbed to the temptation of having a little peek today to see how the normally triumphalist 'Tory Herd' were coping with the trauma of the apparent collapse in their party's fortunes over such a short period (always assuming last night's ComRes wasn't an early sign of a reversal of that trend). The displays of total denial about the situation didn't disappoint. A particular gem was this comment, part of a long contribution from regular Scottish poster 'Easterross' -

"If there is a Hung Parliament, is it not presumptious to not assume that some LibDems or Labour MPs might jump ship and join the Tories, especially if DC and Team Blue achieve 280+ seats?"

This is indeed a novel concept, that it's actually presumptuous not to assume something. Especially when that something is highly speculative, bordering on the utterly outlandish. Is it presumptuous of me not to assume that Vernon Kay is the next Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster?

Easterross goes on to fall headlong into Benedict Brogan's trap of assuming that anecdotal evidence about what 'real people are telling Tories' somehow completely invalidates the overwhelming evidence of scientifically-conducted opinion polls. I vividly recall a Labour canvasser on Political Betting during the 2007 Holyrood campaign - who I'm quite sure was honestly relating what he was finding on the doorsteps - confidently asserting that his party would comfortably hold Govan, Linlithgow and Livingston in defiance of opinion poll predictions. out of three wasn't bad.


  1. James, the best people to tell you how the political world is going is to ask the local taxi drivers. I spoke to a couple of them today and good encouraging titbits to be had about what the locals are thinking. It is good to have members who are taxi-drivers.


  2. I bet regular taxi users are also experts on the voting intentions of the taxi driver demographic!

  3. how do opinion polls take into account of individual constituency swings and also howto factor in those who say they will vote but are still undecided?

    and there must be a sizeable number of people who say they'll vote for one party when surveyed but on polling day will change their mind.