Saturday, 4 April 2015

2015 UK Election Leader TV Debate

Whether leadership debates are a good thing or not is itself a debate, however ITV's UK Leadership Debate with seven party leaders was held with the result that Miliband (Lab) "beat" Cameron (Con) by a small margin. YouGov made a survey of who do you think won the debate with the results as shown below (source: Guardian)

One thing however is not explained, and that is who was asked. Obviously if you'd polled in Ceredigion or Gwynedd then Wood (PC) would have won, if in Brighton then Bennet (Greens) and so on. However I assume that we could say that this was a representative sample from across the UK, but still it is going to be heavily weighted in favour of the national parties and then especially the two leading parties.

This got me thinking, as you can tell whatever you want with statistics - think of it as accountancy with more leeway - could the above figures be weighted according to the uk electorate, especially as two of the parties involved do not campaign outside of Wales or Scotland.

The electorate figures for England, Scotland and Wales for 2013 according to the Electoral Commission are 40,100,00, 4,100,00 and 2,300,00 (to nearest 100,000). Given this I think it is obvious that the above results are going to be skewed towards the established parties.

Furthermore the SNP are fairly well known and have a more 'national' or UK-wide agenda than Plaid Cymru who are much more focussed on Wales. Leanne Wood (PC) for example is standing as a member of the Welsh Parliament rather than Westminster. Welsh politics rarely feature outside of Wales, except for a strange incident back in 1997 (one, certainly for the conspiracy theorists). Ironically given the current constitutional issues since the Scottish independence vote, it has been Rhodri Morgan, leader of the Welsh Government who has been proposing ideas (even at EU level) of how the UK and Northern Ireland should be governed.

That given, the above figures on who "won" really should be taken much more in context of the audiences to which they are most relevant. The above is so much biased towards an English view - not that there's a problem with that - it does give a false impression to voters in Wales and Scotland. Furthermore, given the size of England and its electorate even the above figure does not truly represent England - how would it look in the context of Thanet versus Toxteth?

So getting back to how the leaders actually did in the debate, it would be best to take each individually, especially as each has very different leadership goals. Probably the best overview of each of the party leaders' performances was given by the Telegraph. Or as another put it, four out of touch public school boys taken to task by three women :-)

No comments: