bookmark_borderTricolour Britain and the fallacy of British opinion polls

Fraser Nelson has written two articles, one in The Telegraph and one in the Spectator Coffee House, about the way the UK is disintegrating politically.

It’s of course old news that the SNP are dominating Scotland politically, but England is also increasingly separating into areas that are very different politically — basically, Labour are big in the north of England and in London, the LibDems are big in the southwest, and the Tories are big elsewhere.

Although he doesn’t mention it, this is really creating problems for opinion polls. Their value depends on their usefulness, which again is derived from the assumption that if a party gains five points in the opinion polls, it’s likely to to get more seats in the next election. However, it’s entirely possible for a party to gain more votes in their heartland without gaining any more seats; indeed, if the votes gained “at home” are offset by lost votes in alien territories, the net effect could be a loss of seats.

I’ve long been arguing that opinion polls should treat England and Scotland separately, but I’m starting to wonder whether they also need to split up England.

PS: I’ve no idea why he’s calling it tricolour when the map clearly has four colours. Perhaps he’s already mentally accepted Scottish independence! 🙂

(You might also want to have a look at this old blog posting of mine.)