Oh gawd, now they’re wheeling out Baxter

by Stephen Tall on October 9, 2007

There’s nothing amateur psephologists and party hacks like more then feeding the latest poll figures into Martin Baxter’s Electoral Calculus seats predictor. Tonight, there’s a small ripple of excitement in the blogosphere as it shows the Lib Dems with zero (0) seats.

From which we can infer two possible conclusions:

1. The Baxter model is nonsensical for three party politics (which is what now de facto exists in the UK);

2. Or the Lib Dems are going to find themselves in a worse position than the Liberal Party in 1979, which retained 11 MPs even after Jeremy Thorpe’s resignation and the Steel-Callaghan pact.

For those political journalists – such as the Daily Mail’s usually pretty clued-up Benedict Brogan – struggling to ‘do the math’ and understand why conclusion 1 is correct, try reading Andy Mayer’s sensible rebuttal. And then try and write something sensible instead.

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10 comments

If you read the comments it’s pretty clear that most PB punters think it’s nonsense, too.

by Joe Taylor on October 9, 2007 at 1:57 am. Reply #

…Except for the usual foaming mouthed, swivel eyed Tory fanatics who are again demanding Lib Dems to ditch Ming. (Like they were concerned of the success of the Lib Dems. On the other hand, ditching the leader is what they are used to do when something goes wrong, because the easiest thing to do is to find a scapegoat, instead to try and find out what’s the real problem.)

by ahm on October 9, 2007 at 6:51 am. Reply #

Let’s test the theory… would it be possible to get Ming to shoot a dog?

by Rob Fenwick on October 9, 2007 at 8:34 am. Reply #

Oh, Rob F. wants to get Ming out no matter what the polls are saying. He is still disappointed because his favourite wasn’t elected to be the leader.

Rob, if you can’t put your bitternes aside and work with the democratically elected leader, maybe you should consider leaving Lib Dems. Now than Michael Meadowcroft joined the Lib Dems, there would be a vacancy in the Liberal Party.

by tired on October 9, 2007 at 9:47 am. Reply #

And regarding Benedict Brogan, I doubt that a Daily Mail “journalist” cares about the facts, as long as it makes a good headline,

by tired on October 9, 2007 at 9:50 am. Reply #

I’m not a betting chap, but perhaps readers who also post on Political Betting might offer as a proposal that they will pay out £100 if the Lib Dems get no seats, but the person taking their bet must pay £1 for every seat above zero won by the Lib Dems.

I suspect even the most swivel-eyed Tories would go mysteriously silent (or, rather, hastily find another topic on which to froth).

Oh, and didn’t the Liberals have half a dozen seats even when reduced to 2% of the vote?

by Alex Wilcock on October 9, 2007 at 10:56 am. Reply #

Rob, if you can’t put your bitternes aside and work with the democratically elected leader, maybe you should consider leaving Lib Dems

Nyess, I don’t think it’s an either/or 🙂

I’m not bitter, and you’ve got my reason for suggesting why I think our leader should step down wrong – quite possibly deliberately!

While you level a half-truth through the cloak of anonymity, I’ve laid out my reasons more than once, under my own name!

by Rob Fenwick on October 9, 2007 at 3:09 pm. Reply #

As Alex says, if General Election results were decided on the basis of uniform swing the Liberal Party would have died out in the 1950s. Baxter may give some sort of idea about the relative positions on Labour and the Tories, but it clearly doesn’t work for the Lib Dems (or for that matter Plaid Cymru or the SNP)

by Jeremy Sanders on October 9, 2007 at 5:31 pm. Reply #

Why is LDV obsessed with opinion polls? We have had plenty of opportunities to discuss this kind of thing, and there are far more interesting things to debate. I hope to put something up soon, if only I had more time to do so…

by Geoffrey Payne on October 10, 2007 at 7:32 am. Reply #

9 – Geoffrey, there’s a fine line to be struck between falling into the media’s trap of being overly-obsessed by polls, and simply ignoring what people are talking about.

I think if you look back at the last week or so of LDV postings, it would be a bit unfair to accuse us of being obsessed.

by Stephen Tall on October 10, 2007 at 8:05 am. Reply #

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