In the next four months Britain will be inundated with opinion polls. As the Leave and Remain camps gear up for Britain’s first referendum on its relationship with Europe for four decades, the stakes are high.
But this time last year the nation also pored over an array of polls during the general election campaign, and yet those polls proved unreliable.
How should a cautious FT reader know what to make of polling about the EU referendum? Here are five points to bear in mind …
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, gave a speech last week lamenting that the liberalising policies adopted by the Thatcher government in the 1980s never led to widespread share ownership:
The Tories promised a “shareholding democracy” would arrive through privatisation. A “trickle-down effect” would mean that, even if the rich got very rich indeed, everyone else would be a little better off.
But the promises of freedom and “popular capitalism” turned out to be illusory.
Today, share ownership by individuals is at the close to the lowest level ever recorded. Just 12 per cent of shares are owned by individuals in the UK, down from 28 per cent in 1982, and pension funds own only 3 per cent.
It would be fair to call these figures misleading and point out that people can own shares through insurance companies or they might have a stake in other kinds of funds as well as their pension. So if between them individuals and pension funds own just 15 per cent of shares who owns the rest? Read more
Here’s a simple question: which of Britain’s parliamentary constituencies have seen the biggest job market recoveries since the coalition government took office in 2010?
The answer, I thought, might well generate a news story in the week of the UK general election. So I downloaded a time-series of the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance benefit claimants in each constituency. (I used JSA claimant data because, when you’re looking at small geographical areas, they’re far more accurate than survey-based measures of employment and unemployment.) Read more
Polls suggest that the UK general election on May 7 will result in a hung parliament. A coalition, or a minority government backed by a “confidence and supply” deal with other parties, is likely to come to power.
This interactive graphic shows the scenarios possible based on the current projection from ElectionForecast.co.uk. Read more
The Electoral Commission keeps a record of every donation above £7,500 to Britain’s political parties. Although nominally transparent, the records are difficult to use: the only unique identifier for each donor is their name.
This is further complicated by the inconsistent use of titles and initials as well as addresses attached to the names of businesses and organisations.
The FT has cleaned the data to make it easier to use with this interactive graphic. Donations to individual members of parliament are included in their party’s totals. Read more
Shift from traditional two-party race means different ways of predicting vote result are being used Read more
Updated May 06 2015
Note: the five parties shown are those for which every polling company in our poll-of-polls provides individual figures.
UK voters will elect a new parliament in a general election on May 7. Our poll-of-polls tracks all national-level voting intention polling figures going back to the 2010 election – the dots on our chart – and then calculates a rolling score for each party adjusted for recency and different pollsters. Read more
Some have suggested the BBC should become like Netflix and fund itself through viewer subscriptions. If you were in charge, what TV channels and radio stations would you offer?
The UK’s ‘two speed’ housing market is not a novel concept, but new figures highlight the regional and political split like never before.
Use our interactive graphic to explore how geography and politics divide fortunes in Britain’s property market. Read more
As an aid to debates about the referendum on whether Scotland should be independent from the UK, Britain’s Office for National Statistics has published a compendium that allows for comparisons to be made between the four countries of the UK.
Thanks, in part, to devolution, the UK has four organisations that produce official statistics: the Office for National Statistics, the Scottish Government, StatsWales and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency who all release different surveys that gather data in different ways.
Voters will go to the polls in all 32 London boroughs, 36 metropolitan authorities and handful of other councils on May 22. This interactive map and cartogram shows the current state of parties in the local authorities holding elections, and some of the possible scenarios for the elections’ outcomes.
The March 19 Budget will be delivered against a background of broad economic positivity, but that tone may not sit well with everyone. Since George Osborne’s speech this time last year, fortunes have been mixed: the labour market has been slow to pick up in the East Midlands, the north has been hit by job closures and production of transport equipment has fallen.