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General Election Week 4 – Pollwatch

Watch the polls, we told you. Well, it’s not been the most exciting viewing thus far, now has it? In short, they are static. There has been some movement for the individual parties: Labour and the Tories down a little, Reform up a bit, Lib Dems going nowhere. But the overall picture is that the Labour lead over the Tories remains at a stubborn 21 points, as it has for some time.

There are of course then the new ‘magic’ polls, the so called MRPs – multi-level regression and post-stratification polls – much pushed by the polling companies perhaps because they are much more expensive! These sound terribly scientific but are in reality just a slightly different format of poll with much larger samples, often in the tens of thousands, which claim to work out the result constituency by constituency. They must be more accurate, no? Well, early on Electoral Calculus’ first one told us that the Labour lead was 27 points and achieved much media hype. Others then followed that rather differed, including More in Common’s that told us the Labour lead was only 14 points. Both can’t be right within days of each other. So no, not really any more accurate than the normal polls, perhaps! As the REC teams keeps saying: polling is a black art not an exact science.

The best guess right now is that the polls will only narrow, if they do, towards the very end of the campaign, when the unusually high percentage of ‘don’t knows’ have to pause the Euro footie, put down their beer glasses, and actually make up their minds. Until then, the polls will keep coming and every new one will be acclaimed as another breakthrough moment. Spoiler alert: they won’t be.

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