In the run-up to the general election, the results of opinion polls will be given a lot of prominence. But how do the polls work and how valuable are they? What is an opinion poll?Opinion polls provide a snapshot of people's views on a particular issue. They are widely used when elections are approaching.People can be asked which party they would vote for, which issues most concern them, or for their views on party leaders.Opinion polls can be useful to see how different parties are doing, but they may not reflect the make-up of the next Parliament.The UK's first-past-the-post voting system means that the local candidate in each constituency who receives the most votes becomes an MP. And the party with the most winning candidates nationally normally forms a government. So, a party that is predicted to have 10% more of the vote than its main rival, for example, will not always end up with 10% more MPs.How accurate are the results?They are not perfect, but the average of errors on polls … [Read more...] about General election 2019: What is an opinion poll?
Erewash borough council elections
The Tories have massively downgraded their promises on housebuilding, it has been reported. It came hours before Labour launched their manifesto promising the biggest affordable house building programme since the 1960s. The Conservatives will reportedly promise to build a million new homes over the next five years. But that amounts to an average of 200,000 a year - a substantial downgrade of the party's existing target of 300,000 homes a year by the mid 2020s. The party introduced the 300,000 a year pledge in autumn 2017, under Theresa May's leadership. Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, told Inside Housing : “The commitment to only build 200,000 a year when the government’s own target is in fact 300,000 shows that even the Conservatives don’t think they’d be able to achieve this goal. “The missing piece in their plan is any investment in new social housebuilding. Without this the housing emergency will continue to get worse.” In their … [Read more...] about General Election: Tories quietly downgrade house building pledge by a third
A small number of prisoners – probably around 100 – will be given the right to vote after a British compromise offer to marginally extend the franchise was accepted on Thursday by the Council of Europe. The deal, crafted by the justice secretary, David Lidington, brings to an end an embittered 12-year standoff between Strasbourg and London over the enforcement of judgments by the European court of human rights. The compromise should remove one of the main sources of resentment felt by Conservative rightwingers over the Strasbourg court’s role. Prisoners on temporary release and at home under curfew will gain the right to vote. The dispute erupted in 2005 when the ECHR ruled on a challenge over prisoner voting rights brought by John Hirst, who was serving life for manslaughter. The court declared that the blanket ban on prisoners participating in elections violated human rights and was illegal. Despite similar judgments in subsequent cases, the UK refused to enforce … [Read more...] about Council of Europe accepts UK compromise on prisoner voting rights
As Kensington and Chelsea council’s lead member for streets, planning and transport, Will Pascall’s in-tray is always full of complaints about one issue in particular: busking. He says residents in this, the most densely populated area in the UK, shouldn’t have to be disturbed by excessive noise from street performers. Despite having non-legally-binding options for negotiating with buskers, the council will next year introduce public space protection orders (PSPOs), which make predefined activities – in this case, busking – prosecutable in specific areas. Its power to do so was given to councils under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Buskers haven’t welcomed the news. Forget shop closures, they say: the British high street’s biggest problem is councils that don’t understand busking’s role in the community creating uncertainty for those who practise it. But Pascall says he has to consider the views of the 70% … [Read more...] about ‘Busking might die out’: musicians fear for future as councils crack down
Following the outcome of the 2015 general election, a mixture of anger and contempt was showered on the pollsters who had spent six weeks suggesting a different result. I understand those feelings, but I do not share them. Prior to working in the media I was employed in three polling companies and therefore have some sympathy with their plight. The purpose of this piece is not to beat them up even more, but to set out what evidence I have gathered and offer some personal views about some of the explanations that have surfaced in the immediate aftermath of the election. A serious investigation is about to begin, which will have the advantage of viewing the mass of data generated by 92 campaign polls. Like you, I await the findings with anticipation.Under-achievement On the day we awoke to a new majority Conservative government, the British Polling Council, supported by the Market Research Society, issued a statement. It said: "The final opinion polls before the election were clearly not … [Read more...] about Election 2015: How the opinion polls got it wrong