Since September 2014 LONDON Advertising has been a lone voice in consistently predicting in the media a Conservative majority in “single figures”. Here are the factors involved in why I believe we got it right, when practically every other pollster, pundit and bookie shot wide of the mark.
A question of competence and leadership
Since 2010 Conservatives had increased their lead on economic competence from 11 per cent to 18 per cent over Labour – despite having to manage the biggest economic downturn in our history. Although Milliband had increased his personal rating during the campaign, Cameron still scored double in terms of “who would make the best Prime Minister”.
The LONDON Advertising view was that it would be unfathomable that a party that led so much on these two critical attributes could lose.
Massive margins of error
Despite the media spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on daily polls they were all wrong. The one that was closest, Com Res, did a blog that separated telephone polls from internet polls arguing that the former was more accurate.
LONDON Advertising agreed with the analysis which showed the ‘crossover’ point for a Conservative lead was in January and which was trending upwards. Although ComRes underestimated the extent of the lead, this blog was the most insightful piece of research we had seen.
As with the Scottish referendum result, which LONDON Advertising also correctly forecast (“the yes vote will not get more than 45%” - the result was 44.7%), LONDON realised that the pollsters and pundits did not take into account the undecided who tend to favour the status quo.
Milliband got it wrong and Crosby got it right
The seminal moment of the campaign was when Ed Milliband was grilled on Question Time by the public and refused to admit the last Labour Government spent too much.
LONDON’s view was that the reaction of the audience showed the public would not trust him with the nation’s finances again. LONDON’s management team had worked with Lynton Crosby on the 2005 General election and recognised that by bringing him in early enough this time he would be Cameron’s “Special One” and eek out a Mourinho -style victory: it would not be pretty but as the results in the key marginal showed it was effective - and has virtually destroyed the Liberal Democrats.
The Sturgeon factor
When the leader of the SNP said she wanted to work with Labour to “Lock Cameron out of Downing St”, it was hard to believe her – if that was really the case she would have shut up weeks ago. Her postulating was critical in driving UKIPers to vote tactically by switching to the Conservatives. At least she did the country a favour and helped get rid of Farage.
Faith in the common sense of the great British public
At the end of the day we believe that despite our anachronistic voting system the collective will of the public shows through. This happened in 2010: the country wanted to get rid of Brown but did not want to put the Conservatives in power alone. In 2015 we believed people would rather have Cameron in charge as any other outcome would likely result in a weak Milliband being led a dance by the SNP.
Michael Moszynski is chief executive officer of LONDON ADVERTISING