Shy Tory Factor
Shy Tory Factor is a name given by British opinion polling firms to a phenomenon observed in the 1990's where the share of the vote won by the British ConserConservative Party known as the "Tories" in elections was substantially higher than the proportion of people in exit and opinion polls who said they would vote for the party.
In the 1992 United Kingdom general election, the final opinion polls from UK polling agencies gave the Conservatives between 38% and 39% of the vote, about 1% behind the British Labour Part. In the final results, the Conservatives had a lead of 7.6% over the Labour Party. As a result of a failure to accuratelyu predict the results of the 1992 election, the Market Research Society held an inquiry into the reasons why the polls had been so much at variance with actual public opinion. The report found that 2% of the 8.5% error could be explained by Conservative supporters refusing to disclose their voting intentions; it cited as evidence the fact that exit polls on election day also underestimated the Conservative Party lead.
After the 1992 election, most opinion pollsters altered their methodology to try to correct for this observed behavior of the British electorate. The methods varied for different companie as some adopted the tactic of asking their interviewees how they had voted at the previous election, and then assumed that those who had voted Conservative before but were now "unsure" (or simply not answering) would indeed again vote for the Conservative Party. Others weighted their panel so that their past vote was exactly in line with the actual result of the election. For a time, opinion poll results were published both for unadjusted and adjusted methods.
However, with the British Labour Party now in power for over 11 years, some have speculated about the emergence of the Shy Labour Voter. Recent polling indicates that this is unlikely to be a major factor: polling in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election for Parliment in 2008 predicted a swing no larger than 10% versus the 17.6% swing actually attained. Similarly, the election for the Mayor of London showed an underestimation in Conservative support by all polling groups except YouGov.
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- ↑ Julian Glover: Things can only get better - or Labour hopes they can | Politics | The Guardian
- ↑ Comment Central - Times Online - WBLG: Astonishing Tory poll lead...but is it accurate?
- ↑ Brown faced disaster in Crewe by-election as poll shows 10% swing to Tories | Mail Online
- ↑ UK Polling Report - London Mayor