Poll Quiz: What happened next?

There’s been a lot of speculation recently about the chances of the Conservatives winning the next General Election, with a lot of people prognosticating about can or can’t happen over the next two and a half years.

I thought it would be interesting to play a game of “What happened next?”.

The game is simple. I have listed polling scores for the governing party and the opposition party roughly two and a half years before ten post-war elections.1

All you have to do is guess which General Election followed roughly two and a half years after these poll results.

If we get a few entries (more than ten?) in the comments, I’ll send the winner a copy of Phil Cowley and Dennis Kavanagh’s British General Election 2010, and more importantly, the coveted title of Britain’s best retrospective political prognosticator!

Election 1: Governing Party 32, Opposition Party 50, Opposition lead eighteen points

Election 2: Governing Party 39, Opposition party 37, Government lead two points.

Election 3: Governing Party 35, Opposition party 54, Opposition lead nineteen points

Election 4: Governing Party 46, Opposition Party 40, Government lead six points.

Election 5: Governing Party 42, Opposition Party 34, Government lead eight points.

Election 6: Governing Party 32, Opposition Party 43, Opposition lead eleven points.

Election 7: Governing Party 35, Opposition Party 45, Opposition lead ten points.

Election 8: Governing Party 41, Opposition party 51, Opposition lead ten points

Election 9: Governing party 35, Opposition party 40, Opposition lead five points

Election 10: Governing Party 39, Opposition Party 46, Opposition lead seven points.

  1. Note for Pedants and Cheats:  I’ve used the Mori “all voters” data where possible. But I’ve also used Mark Pack’s excellent spreadsheet of post war polls. This means no cheating, as I’ll be able to tell. It also means a little methodological and time inconsistency to which I plead fair cop, but it’s only a bit of fun, so screw you guys. []

39 Responses to “Poll Quiz: What happened next?”

  1. Tom

    1: 1997
    2: 2010
    3: 1979
    4: Feb-74
    5: 2001
    6: 2005
    7: 1992
    8: 1970
    9: 1983
    10: 1987

    Reply
  2. Brian Hughes

    Even with your handy helpful hints that all looks a bit too tricky for me.

    My method is to predict a Tory win regardless. This has had two advantages during my lifetime viz.:

    a) it has been correct nine times out of sixteen and ten times out of sixteen if you count 2010 as a Tory win (which it looks a lot like from the perspective of 2nd Jan 2013).

    b) it has lightened my gloom a fraction on the occasions when Labour has lost although being able to say “I told you so” rarely provides any real comfort in any circumstance.

    HNY – only 854 days to go…

    Reply
  3. David M

    1. 1983
    2. 2010
    3. 1964
    4. 1970
    5. 2001
    6. 1997
    7. 1987
    8. 1951
    9. 1979
    10. 1955

    Reply
  4. Len

    1) 2001
    2) 2010
    3) 1997
    4) 1987
    5) 1979
    6) 1992
    7) 1983
    8) 1950
    9) 2005
    10) 1974

    Reply
  5. hopisen

    I’m going to have to stop giving scores out of ten, as it’ll be a clue (as old players of mastermind board game will know!)

    Len is now current leader.

    Reply
  6. Jamie

    1. 1992
    2. 2005
    3. 1997
    4. 1979
    5. 2001
    6. 1964
    7. 1987
    8. 1983
    9. 2010
    10. 1974

    Reply
  7. Adrian McMenamin

    1. 1983
    2. 2010
    3. 2001
    4. 1974
    5. 2005
    6. 1959
    7. 1970
    8. 1964
    9. 1987
    10. 1992

    Was losing the will to live by the end

    Reply
  8. Laurence Janta-Lipinski

    1) 1979
    2) 2010
    3) 1997
    4) 2001
    5) 1983
    6) 1992
    7) 1970
    8) 1959
    9) 2005
    10) 1966

    Reply
  9. Greg Callus

    1. 1992
    2. 1983
    3. 1997
    4. 1945
    5. 1955
    6. 1979
    7. 1964
    8. 1951
    9. 2005
    10. 2010

    In the course of trying this, your point is proven. Voters are clearly fickle, short-sighted, and manifestly forgetful!

    Reply
  10. Andy Cooke

    1 – 1970
    2 – 2010
    3 – 1974(F)
    4 – 1950
    5 – 1987
    6 – 2005
    7 – 1983
    8 – 1959
    9 – 1964
    10 – 1979

    (I deleted 1997 and 2001 because the Opposition lead was way too small ever to be ’97 and Govt lead too small to ever be ’01. Deleted the short ones (50-51; 64-66; 74(f)-74(O). This leaves 12. Best guess out of those)

    Reply
      • Andy Cooke

        Heck, I forgot 1992 (I took a gamble on losing 1945 and 1955). Looking at it, though, I think it could only be Election 1 out of all the options and I think I’ll stick with 1970 for that one (Labour had horrible by-election results about then, IIRC).
        Sticking with what I’ve got – especially if I’m in the lead :-)

        Reply
          • Andy Cooke

            Seriously?
            I figured 5/10 would be good going.
            Glad I didn’t change Election 1 after all then.
            All I did was decide that the ones with the highest sum had to be pre-1974; eliminate the short Parliaments, go with memory on ’97 and ’01 being far bigger than here, and use memory for unpopularity periods (oh, and some details on historic by-election swings from an old argument with RodCrosby).

            And forget completely about 1992, which I’m guessing actually helped me …

  11. David Baines

    1) 1992
    2) 2010
    3) 1997
    4) 1964
    5) 1974
    6) 1987
    7) 1983
    8) 1979
    9) 1970
    10) 1992

    Reply
  12. Adam Drummond

    1. 1997
    2. 2010
    3. 1983
    4. 1970
    5. 2005
    6. 1959
    7. 1992
    8. 1945
    9. 1979
    10. 1987

    Harder than it looks (and it looks very hard!). The temptation to check my recently downloaded copy of Mark Pack’s fantastic spreadsheet was unbelievable but hopefully my 1/10 score proves I stayed honest.

    Election 2 looks like Gordon Brown’s honeymoon while the big opposition leads look like either Thatcher’s first term or just before Blair.

    Reply
      • Adam Drummond

        This feels a bit like QI where any positive score is a good thing.

        I realise it’s probably quite a big ask but are there any plans to tell us which ones we got right?

        Reply
        • Adam Drummond

          Never mind, just seen the latest post. Still thrilled with my score though

          Reply
  13. James Blatch (@JamesBlatch)

    Election 1: Governing Party 32, Opposition Party 50, Opposition lead eighteen points

    GOVT WIN OVERALL MAJ <50

    Election 2: Governing Party 39, Opposition party 37, Government lead two points.

    GOVT WIN OVERALL MAJ <100

    Election 3: Governing Party 35, Opposition party 54, Opposition lead nineteen points

    OPPS WIN OVERALL MAJ 50

    Election 5: Governing Party 42, Opposition Party 34, Government lead eight points.

    OPPS WIN OVERALL MAJ >50

    Election 6: Governing Party 32, Opposition Party 43, Opposition lead eleven points.

    NO OVERALL MAJ – GOVT LARGEST PARTY

    Election 7: Governing Party 35, Opposition Party 45, Opposition lead ten points.

    NO OVER MAJ – OPPS LARGEST PARTY

    Election 8: Governing Party 41, Opposition party 51, Opposition lead ten points

    OPPS WIN OVERALL MAJ >50

    Election 9: Governing party 35, Opposition party 40, Opposition lead five points

    GOVT WIN OVERAL MAJ >50

    Election 10: Governing Party 39, Opposition Party 46, Opposition lead seven points.

    GOVT WIN OVERALL MAJ <50

    Reply

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