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Why the Tories Might Win in 2015

John Rentoul

osborne Why the Tories Might Win in 2015I fear I may have oborned* this one. I write in The Independent on Sunday about why I think the Conservatives are likely to win the 2015 election. “From now on, the facts of economic life are Conservative.”

As pointed out by my esteemed colleague Tom Peck, this contradicts the Electoral Calculus Monster Chart of Polls & Elections, about which I wrote approvingly last month, which showed how hard it is, historically, for the Conservatives to win a majority. (Since I wrote, incidentally, the green dot or grey circle of the run-in to the 2015 election has moved to the right, that is, slightly towards hung-parliament territory.)

Ah, but that is only one way of looking at historical precedent. Last week, Stephen Fisher of Trinity College, Oxford, published a mathematical model of opinion polls and past elections that suggests rather different probabilities.

His work suggests that there is a 57 per cent chance of a Conservative majority, a 28 per cent chance of a hung parliament and only a 15 per cent chance of a Labour majority. He has since received many comments on his work, some of which point out that he has not modelled the UKIP effect, because there has not been much of a similar phenomenon before (the Referendum Party won 3 per cent of the vote in 1997, about the same as UKIP in 2010).

Even so, I say that elections all come down to politics, politics, politics, rather than what happened last time or the time before. And economics. And if the economy is growing strongly in 2015, the politics look rather one-sided to me.

*Oborne, verb: write the opposite of what one wrote recently, to check whether one’s readers are still awake; see also: trollemic.

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  • porkfright

    Unlikely to happen before all the world’s pigs learn to fly.

  • Emmathommas

    Your problem, Rentoul, is you don’t understand probability. Do you actually think the Tories are 42%(!!) more likely than Labour to win the next election, any election? At this point in time? Huh? It is hilarious how bloody stupid you are.

  • newfriendofed

    If J. R. reads Blanchflower today in his own newspaper, he could Oborne once more and write a column headed why the Tories might lose in 2015.

  • Pacificweather

    “Even so, I say that elections all come down to politics, politics, politics, rather than what happened last time or the time before.”

    What happend last time or the time before didn’t come down to politics. Too much hob-knobbing with Mr Blair. You are beginning to write the kind of sound bite nonsense he is so fond of as a substitute for thought.

  • Pacificweather

    If you feed the 2005 figures into the calculator it predicts an 8 seat Labour win. They had a 66 seat majority. The 2010 figures give an accurate prediction within 1 seat so the calculator is built around the 2010 election results. This demonstrates the impossibility of predicting election results from opinion poll figures in a post code democracy but still journalists cannot resist them.


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