Will leader satisfaction among party supporters predict GE2017?

One of my earlier posts showed how well Ipsos MORI leader satisfaction ratings among supporters of the two main political parties predicted UK general election outcomes since 1997. Ipsos MORI Political Monitor for June 2017 showed that Theresa May had 81% approval among Conservative party supporters, and Jeremy Corbyn had 71% approval among Labour party supporters. So, despite the narrowing of the ‘voting intention’ polls, I am still predicting a Conservative majority. Of course, those satisfaction ratings could still change…

Party leader satisfaction among supporters of the two main parties accurately predicts election outcomes since 1997 (see this post for discussion of the 2010 coalition outcome)

Update: And the size of that majority? I’ve no evidence of that. My feeling is about 50 seats. As a Political Studies Association member I was invited to complete the PSA ‘expert predictions’ survey in mid-May (when the Conservatives were doing very well in the polls). At that time I gave the Tories a 20 % chance of a 100+ majority and a 1% chance of a 150+ majority – that put me in the lowest decile of the expert predictions! So, we’ll see.

Here is the table from that survey (which was taken before the recent Labour surge in the polls).

Table from PSA expert survey 2017 (online survey 16-26 May)

Post-election update: Well, along with most other predictions (but not all) I was quite wrong about the Conservatives increasing their majority! Instead, they lost seats and Labour gained substantially, though the Conservatives remain the largest party.  The final seat counts are Cons 318, Labour 262, SNP 35, Lib Dem 12, DUP 10, Sinn Fein 7, Plaid Cymru 4, Green 1, Other 1. So Theresa May hangs on with the help of the Democratic Unionist Party.

The leader satisfaction ratings, however, did predict that Conservatives would end up ahead of Labour. I still think these ratings are a good measure of voter intent, despite the fact that they don’t predict the size of the lead, nor (as I failed to notice) do they predict that the leading party will have an overall majority. For what it’s worth, I was among the 10% of PSA survey-takers who correctly surmised that the chance of a large Tory majority was low.

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Party Leader Satisfaction Ratings and Election Outcomes

Satisfaction with party leaders of the two main parties would have predicted the outcome of the last nine UK general elections, including the most recent. This measure is worth looking at in more detail as voting intention polls led many forecasters astray in 2015, as Roger Pielke Jr describes.

Figure 1. Satisfaction with the Party Leader (Labour or Conservative) a month before the election. Ipsos MORI

Figure 1. Satisfaction with the Party Leader (Labour or Conservative) a month before the election. Ipsos MORI

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DECC as a Parrot?

My prediction is that the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will not survive to the end of the forthcoming 5-year parliament.

The people most upset by yesterday’s election result – at least according to my Twitter feed – were the professional pollsters and forecasters – not least many prominent academic political scientists – who universally predicted that the election result would be far closer than it eventually turned out.

Roger Pielke Jr counselled humility

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Circles and Squares – Where Do the Facts Lie?

I enjoyed the conference, ‘Circling the Square’ (20-22 May 2014) organised by Reiner Grundmann and colleagues from the Science,Technology and Society Priority Group at Nottingham University. Bringing together academics from the natural and social sciences (and others), the conference explored how scientific knowledge is (or should be) used for policy. Some reactions have been collated by Brigitte Nerlich on the Making Science Public blog.

There were many facets to the discussion, but here I will make just a few observations. As a former natural scientist now attempting to become a social scientist, I appreciated the refreshingly frank (and generally good-natured) exchanges on the different world views across the natural/social science divide (or continuum).
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Met Office Report Says Sea Levels Likely to Rise 11-16 cm by 2030?

Update 11 Feb 2014: Met Office says Oh, you thought we meant from now? No, from 1990! See comment from Richard Betts, below and the updated Met Office report.

13 Feb: A further comment from Richard confirms that the Met Office projections for UK sea level rise are 5 to 7 cm between now and 2030.

This is an edited version of a comment I made on Bishop Hill on 9 Feb:

In February 2014 the Met Office and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) published a report called “The Recent Storms and Floods in the UK”. (pdf of original version here). The report makes an interesting prediction about sea level rise by 2030 on p.21 (the same figures are also given on p.2):

Sea level along the English Channel has already risen by about 12cm in the last 100 years. With the warming we are already committed to over the next few decades, a further 11-16cm of sea level rise is likely by 2030. This equates to 23-27cm of total sea level rise since 1900. We are very confident that sea level will continue to rise over coming decades as the planet continues to warm. These numbers represent our current best estimate for the UK.

That implies that the rate of sea level rise (SLR) in the English Channel will more than double in the next 16 years to 7 to 10 mm per year (on average) from the current 3 mm per year. And assuming that the rate of SLR does not leap to the new level in the first year, a linear increase from the current rate implies a rate of about 15 mm per year by 2030.

Is there something special about the English Channel? It’s hard to reconcile this with the IPCC projections in AR5 Chapter 13.

No citations are given for this statement in an otherwise well-referenced document. I’ll update this post if I find out more.

Update: Tim Channon has plotted a graph of how this prediction compares to past SLR at Newlyn, Cornwall (the national sea level monitoring station) http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/met-office-forecasting-skill-on-show

Update 2: Richard Betts is on the case…


Update 3: I think Tim Channon may have nailed the problem (2030 should be 2100?). Although, this would mean that the Met Office is expecting no acceleration of SLR over a century, while the IPCC expects it to at least double by 2080-2100. We’ll see what the Met Office comes up with.

This doesn’t turn out to be the Met Office’s error, but you can see his original graph at http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/mo-newlyn-2.png

Update 4: The Met Office have ‘clarified’ their statement, which apparently relates to a 1990 baseline. See Richard Betts’ comment below. See also Tim Channon’s new post and graph: tchannon-image-356

Update 5: A few final thoughts from me in a comment below.

Update 6: Nic Lewis tackles the UKCP09 projections on Bishop Hill and Euan Mearns looks at the Met Office report as a whole on his blog.