Here is my forecast for the election that was not supposed to be happening in the UK. The Brexit Party is well on course to be the largest party and could even set the record for the best ever vote share by a party in the d’Hondt era of EU elections in the UK. At the same time, the Liberal Democrats have the possibility of beating both the Conservatives and Labour parties in a UK-wide election for the first time since 1906.
Theresa May has just asked the EU Council for a 3 month extension to Article 50, the Speaker won’t allow another meaningful vote without meaningful changes, Jeremy Corbyn is pondering backing another referendum and in 9 days time, the UK could be leaving the EU without a deal. Just another week in the Parliamentary Brexit Maze but I have updated my Brexit Voting Factions after last week’s votes and identified an 8th faction for you to play with in your voting permutations.
*** This post is not yet complete. However you will find a link to the data near the bottom and a link to a twitter thread for some of the images ***
Within the next 10 days, the House of Commons will get a second Meaningful Vote on the Withdrawal Agreement which could be followed by 2 more significant votes on No-Deal and Article 50 Extension. I have been tracking how MPs have voted on the first Meaningful Vote and subsequent Amendments which I summarised in two posts “Find your way out of the Brexit Maze in 57 days and 43 days.” Following further amendments at the end of February and with no more amendments planned before the next meaningful vote, I have redone my cluster analysis to predict what the outcome of these votes might be. As far as possible, I am trying to base my predictions on what MPs have done rather than what they say but I will compare my analysis with that of Election Maps who have been tracking MP’s statements.
Rather than celebrating love on Valentine’s day, Parliament chose to use the occasion to emphasise their discord over the EU withdrawal process, 43 days before the UK is due to leave the EU. Three amendments were voted on and this allows me to update my Brexit voting blocks which I first described in “Find your way out of the Brexit maze in 57 days!”.
January 2019 has been a month of considerable parliamentary drama in the UK as MPs wrestle over whether to approve the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU. There is no shortage of political punditry and quotes from politicians and the whole episode is proving to be a classic example of uncertainty. For statisticians like myself, uncertainty occurs when you cannot properly price the odds of an event happening unlike risk which occurs when you can price the odds. Since the current state of affairs will ultimately be determined by parliamentary votes one way or the other, is it possible to use parliamentary vote data so far to estimate the odds of certain scenarios?
The fevered political climate in the UK at the moment is all about Brexit and possible second referendums and general elections. Jeremy Corbyn made it clear recently that he wanted a General Election now so that he could take over the Brexit negotiations. With that in mind, I decided to take a look at what Labour’s target seat strategy could look like based on the results of the 2017 general election. What I see at the moment is that Labour has many ways of becoming the largest party in Parliament but the road to a working majority is much harder than people realise due to the Brexit realignment in 2016 and the Nationalist realignment in Scotland in 2015.
In a week’s time, Americans will go to the polls for what is known as the mid-term elections. Inevitably, the results will lead to much speculation on what it means for Donald Trump’s chances of re-election in 2020. However, I will be surprised if many commentators will look to history as a guide to 2020 and so I will fill in this gap with the help of fun 10 question quiz about US presidents.
As I write this, a plethora of economic forecasts are making the rounds in the news in the UK. In all cases, the forecasters have failed to publish their track record and these days, I will not pay attention to what they say unless their forecasts are accompanied by a track record. But, how does one go about presenting a forecasting track record to prove that one has forecasting skill? To demonstrate, I will analyse how well opinion polls have predicted General Elections in the UK and measure their track record. I must confess I was surprised at what I found out and I would urge all opinion pollsters to take note of my results.
The last 3 general elections have seen some significant polling errors. In 2010, the Lib Dems were significantly overestimated, in 2015 the Conservatives were underestimated and last year saw the largest ever underestimate in the Labour vote. Whilst these errors suggest that the polling industry is struggling with general elections these days, a natural question to ask is “are all pollsters equally bad or are some better than others?”
Exactly one month ago, the UK woke up to the news that they had elected a hung parliament for the second time in 3 elections. For many forecasters including myself, this came as a surprise as I had been predicting a Conservative majority of 100 seats. In the event, the largest ever polling underestimate of the Labour vote was enough to see the Conservatives lose their majority.
At the beginning of my commentary on election night itself, I defined success for my forecasts as being how close the number of Conservative seats was to my forecast of 375. I also stated that if the number of seats was in the 340s I would consider this to be a prediction error. The final outcome was 317 seats so clearly that is a major prediction error.