Election results: just about right

Dr Mortimore with John Mair

EARLIER THIS year, the Ipsos Mori exit poll results for the general election were almost 100% accurate. They approximated the Conservative seats to 307, the Labour seats to 255 and the Liberal-Democrats to 59.The official election results were 306 seats to Conservatives, 258 to Labour and 57 to Liberal-Democrats, writes Diana Teodora Popovici.

The Head of Political Research for Ipsos Mori, Dr Roger Mortimore, attended yesterday’s Coventry Conversation where he told students how they succeeded in getting such an accurate result.

He explained how their job was made more difficult by the economical crisis as politicians need to impose drastic measures, which are not always very popular but could prove to be essential to the British economy. “Basically, the public has still not fully accepted in its heart that we are in an economic mess. Any painful solution to the economic problem is going to be unpopular, because the public doesn’t think it’s necessary,” argued Dr. Mortimore.  “The result of this was that it was almost impossible for any party to win a decisive advantage on the economic solution.” Another problem he emphasised: “The public is convinced that this whole thing can be solved by just a little bit of efficiency cuts.”

Furthermore, he developed on the techniques employed in their research at the polling stations: by using the same polling stations as for the 2005 elections, which were spread around the country in different regions and by looking at and spotting where the pattern of votes was going to be uniform, instead of just counting the votes and assuming every constituency will act the same. “To get such an accurate result was a huge amount of luck, but also a huge amount of hard work and planning,” added Mortimore.

He concluded by saying that although he is anxious to do this again,  he doesn’t believe the government will have to call for a general election sooner than needed: “I’m sure we’ll be asking for that in six months time: as soon as a government becomes unpopular everybody wants an election. But it looks now like we have a government stable enough for the next five years.”

Here is the presentation given by Dr Mortimore:


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