FAQ

Does the UK swingometer take GB or UK figures?


GB. Pollsters almost always produce GB figures so that is what the UK swingometer uses. We call it the UK swingometer because it takes into account the seats from Northern Ireland when calculating the majority.

Is your general election polling page a prediction of what will happen at the next general election?


The polling page is not a prediction, it is a reflection of the current state of the polls and, assuming that they are correct, public opinion. It calculates the polling average and applies the change in the share of the vote uniformly across every constituency in the United Kingdom with the exception of those in Northern Ireland. It then determines how many seats will change hands on that basis and calculates what the outcome of the election would be in those circumstances.

Modelling elections this way has worked well in the past, even with the emergence of UKIP and the decline of the Liberal Democrats. Whether this model will work in the future remains to be seen.

How do you calculate the polling average?


Polls are only included in the polling average if they come from a reliable source and the data tables are published. Each poll is listed in order of the last day the fieldwork was completed. Each poll is given an initial weight of 1.

1. After each day the weight of the poll is reduced by 0.05.
2. If multiple polls are released by the same pollster then the first poll has no additional reduction in its weight, but each subsequent poll has its weight reduced by an additional 0.2.

When the weight gets to 0 or below then the poll is dropped from the calculation.

Does the swingometer take into account by-election results?


No. By-elections often produce results that are unlikely to be reproduced at a general election. Therefore including them would be unhelpful.

Did the Conservatives win a majority of 10 or 12 in Election 2015?


It is often stated that the Conservatives won a majority of 12 in Election 2015. It is claimed that the Conservatives won 331 seats, leaving the opposition with 319 seats, thus giving a Conservative majority of 331 - 319 = 12. In actual fact, the Conservatives did not win 331 seats, but 330. The BBC and other places count the Speaker (who used to be a Conservative before he became the Speaker). Therefore the Conservatives actually won 330 seats leaving the opposition with 320 seats, thus giving a Conservative majority of 330 - 320 = 10.

Do you track local by-elections?


No. This is mainly for two reasons. Firstly local by-elections happen most weeks meaning that we would always be writing up results. Secondly they often produce results that are out of line with national politics because of low turnouts or the electorate being motivated by a particular local issue.
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