Spring has arrived and so far, we can say that it has been a pleasant spring. My latest UK weather tracker shows that it was the 5th warmest March since 1910.
On the eve of Article 50 notification and with speculation about an early election being called, my latest opinion poll tracker predicts the Conservatives would have a working majority of 143 seats if an election was held today. Since the Stoke Central by-election last month, it appears that some UKIP voters are switching to the Conservatives, the Lib Dem recovery is taking a breather and the 5 year decline in Labour’s fortunes shows no sign of coming to an end.
After 3 more matches, world rugby has updated its ranking tables and I can now use these to look the prospects are for each team in the last round of the 2017 6 Nations. I have explained how the rankings work in an earlier 6 Nations post and it is worth reading that to understand how rankings can be a predictive tool. Based on the latest rankings, it looks like France and Scotland will end up in the top half of the final table alongside England who are already the 2017 6 Nations champions.
Welcome to the first of my monthly UK weather tracker posts! Every month I will update the charts to show how exceptional or not our weather has been for the last month as well as additional charts that explore our unpredictable weather in more detail. All data used in these posts come from the UK Met Office.
It is early March and outside my window, a cherry tree has started to bud. For my wife this is a welcome sign of spring and marks the end of her second full winter of living in Britain. To go from living in sunny Texas to the unpredictable UK takes some getting used to but as we all know, 2 seasons is not enough to experience the variety of weather that is possible in the UK. I can tell her that on average the average 24-hour temperature was 5 degrees Celsius across the UK this winter but she has no context to judge whether that is a warm or cool winter.
Round 3 of the 6 Nations is over and we have 3 more games to discuss and dissect. More importantly, world rugby has updated its rankings and I can update my forecasts for round 4 based on these. I explained how the rankings work in my previous 6 Nations post and that is also worth reading to see how the forecast of round 4 now differs from then.
Looking back at that post, it was interesting how the rankings predicted a narrow win for Scotland over Wales. Given that Scotland had not beaten Wales for 10 years that was quite a call and in the event they won the game comfortably. Scotland’s reward is that they are up to #5 in the world rankings, 2 points behind Ireland.
With the updated rankings, here are my revised forecasts for round 4.
Welcome to my first post tracking what the opinion polls are saying in the UK. I will be updating this every month with my comments.
The first chart shows the monthly trends since May 2010. The lines are the opinion polls which are based on centred 9-poll rolling averages. For each month a vertical bar shows by how much the 9-poll average has varied in that month. The square blocks are the vote shares seen in General Elections, the circles are projected national shares from local elections. All data comes from UK Polling Report and Mark Pack’s database.
Originally posted on 19th February 2017. I then added an updated forecast on 22nd February which can be seen at the bottom of this post.
If UKIP want to supplant Labour in the North England, they must win Stoke-on-Trent Central to kickstart this trend and the odds are 2 to 1 that they will win. That is my forecast after running my by-election model on Stoke-on-Trent Central. For more details about the methodology, please read my description of how I forecast by-elections in the Brexit era.
My model uses both the breakdown of the 2015 General Election results when Labour held the seat with a 16% majority on a 50% turnout (the 2nd lowest turnout in the whole of the UK in 2015) and the 2016 EU referendum result where I estimate that Leave won with 71% of the vote on a 60% turnout. This makes this seat the 17th most Leave seat in the UK and it is worth noting that its two neighbours were #22 (Stoke South) & #3 (Stoke North). In % terms, the increase in number of voters in 2016 was the 22nd highest in the UK and has created a substantial Non-GE segment of 17% of 2016 voters that have the potential to influence the by-election. Whether these non-voters from 2015 will vote in the by-election is one of the big uncertainties and it will be fascinating to see if they do.
Originally published on 19th February. Please scroll to the bottom for an updated forecast as of 22nd February.
The Conservatives are well set to take Copeland from Labour. That is my forecast after running my by-election model on Copeland. According to Matt Singh of NCP Politics, the last comparable by-election would be in 1878! For more details about my methodology, please read how I forecast by-elections in the Brexit era.
As always, we need to start with a breakdown of the 2015 General Election results when Labour held the seat with a 6% majority and the 2016 EU referendum result where I estimate that Leave won with 61% of the vote.
So the 6 Nations is underway again and the traditional rivalries are reheated. Who will win is once again on all the sports pages and there are no shortages of pundits willing to give their opinions. If you want a different way to predict what will happen, why not use the World Rugby Rankings?
Ranking tables play a big part in a number of sports but they are not widely understood among sports fans. At bottom though, rankings are intended to be used as a predictive tool for what will happen in a match. A good ranking system will be more accurate in predicting outcomes than a bad ranking system. However, a perfect ranking system is something we don’t want otherwise sport becomes boring as we will always know the outcome in advance. So as a forecasting tool, a ranking system is a curious beast. We want it to be good but not great.