elections

Ukip leader Nigel Farage (left) and Conservative MP for Clacton-on-Sea Douglas Carswell who has announced he is defecting to the eurosceptic party

A “seaside strategy” is being deployed by the UK Independence party in the run-up to next year’s general election which will see the eurosceptic party target seven seats in faded coastal areas of the UK.

Of the leaked list of 12“most wanted” seats where Ukip will concentrate its campaigning, half include seaside resorts, including South Thanet – where party leader Nigel Farage is standing – plus Skegness and Great Yarmouth. The addition of Clacton-on-Sea, whose Tory MP Douglas Carswell announced his surprise defection to Ukip last week, makes seven.

All seven constituencies produced impressive victories for the Conservative party in the 2010 general election – on average, the Tories achieved a 23 per cent majority and a 49 per cent share of the vote. Where Ukip fielded a candidate, its average share was just 6.3 per cent.

However, the deprived demographics of Britain’s coastal towns mean that Ukip is finding increasing support beside the seaside. Fast forward four years, and the eurosceptic party took the greatest share of the vote in May’s European elections in all seven of the seaside towns where it has pledged to fight the Tories on the beaches. 

By Jason Abbruzzese

Who will you (or would you) vote for in the 2012 presidential election? Now let’s say you have $10 to bet on a winner of the election. Is the answer the same?

Maybe, maybe not. What matters is that those are two different questions, and the results from the answers give us two very different sets of data. Polling has long been used as an implicit indicator of the likelihood of a certain outcome.

(AP) President Harry S. Truman holds up an Election Day edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune, which, based on early results, mistakenly announced "Dewey Defeats Truman" on Nov. 4, 1948.

So polling is not perfect, but what’s the alternative? For people looking to hedge positions against the likelihood of one president over another, the wisdom of the market could be one answer.

The University of Iowa’s predictive markets, specifically the Iowa Electronic Markets 2012 Presidential Election Winner Take All contracts, (IEM) is one attempt to measure it.

The IEM is a futures market in which people can take positions based on certain outcomes. In this blog series we’ll be comparing the Real Clear Politics poll and the IEM Winner Take All to see how they deviate – or converge. 

Emily Cadman

What we’re reading today in the world of statistics, open data and data journalism:

It’s results day in the  UK for local and mayoral elections, which means there are a number of interesting election related posts.  As the debate in the studios continue as to the effect the poor weather had on voter turnout, the Guardian’s Polly Curtis rounds up the evidence.