Political

Constituency polls vs MRP vs 2017 results: where to look for tactical advice?

So far, we’ve had ten constituency opinion polls released, one full set of MRP data (which is a large scale national poll then used to model the results in individual constituencies) plus of course the 2017 general election results in all seats.

How do they compare? Let’s look at those seats for which we have all three.

In nine out of ten cases, both the constituency poll and the MRP data used agree on which pair of parties is currently in the top two slots (and hence who should be considered as potential recipients of tactical votes). The one exception is Portsmouth South, where MRP and the constituency poll diverge on who is in the top two.

What’s more, six of those nine cases involve a change in the top two from 2017 and so in those cases both MRP and constituency polling agree with each other but point to a different tactical voting choice than the 2017 results would suggest.

Overall then, MRP and constituency polling are painting a broadly similar picture, including in cases where they both show a major change from the 2017 general election result.

That means that, broadly speaking, based on the public data we have so far, either (a) both this MRP data and the constituency polls are wrong, or (b) the 2017 general election result will not be a great guide to tactical voting decisions.

My money is on (b) as that both would fit with what we know from other data (e.g. the big swings shown in the national polls and the pattern of vote shares in the European elections, both of which suggest significant limitations to using the 2017 results as tactical voting guides), and also as the constituency polls and MRP get to their answers via very different routes. Two different approaches coming up with roughly the same answer gives that answer extra weight.

Cambridge
Con Lab Lib Dem Brexit Green
2017 result 16% 52% 29% 2%
Poll (October) 10% 30% 39% 7% 12%
MRP 16% 30% 38% 6% 7%
Esher and Walton
Con Lab Lib Dem Brexit Green
2017 result 59% 19% 17% (2% Ukip) 2%
Poll (October) 45% 11% 36% 4% 3%
MRP 38% 9% 35% 11% 5%
Finchley and Golders Green
Con Lab Lib Dem Brexit Green
2017 result 47% 44% 7% (1% Ukip) 2%
Poll (October) 29% 25% 41% 2% 3%
MRP 36% 25% 26% 5% 5%
Gedling
Con Lab Lib Dem Brexit Green
2017 result 43% 52% 2% (2% Ukip) 1%
Poll (November) 37% 42% 6% 13% 1%
MRP 36% 29% 16% 11% 5%
North East Somerset
Con Lab Lib Dem Brexit Green
2017 result 54% 35% 8% 2%
Poll (October) 44% 14% 28% 7% 3%
MRP 41% 18% 23% 8% 7%
Portsmouth South
Con Lab Lib Dem Brexit Green
2017 result 38% 41% 17% (3% Ukip)
Poll (October) 27% 24% 30% 14%
MRP 30% 25% 22% 12% 10%
South Cambridgeshire
Con Lab Lib Dem Brexit Green
2017 result 52% 27% 19% 2%
Poll (November) 36% 12% 40% 7% 4%
MRP 38% 14% 31% 7% 8%
South East Cambridgeshire
Con Lab Lib Dem Brexit Green
2017 result 53% 28% 19%
Poll (October) 42% 16% 31% 8%
MRP 37% 16% 29% 10% 6%
Wokingham
Con Lab Lib Dem Brexit Green
2017 result 57% 25% 16% 2%
Poll (November) 42% 12% 38% ? ?
MRP 40% 13% 29% 8% 7%
Workington
Con Lab Lib Dem Brexit Green
2017 result 42% 51% 7% (4% Ukip)
Poll (October) 45% 34% 5% 13% 2%
MRP 33% 31% 12% 18% 4%

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