Through time & space

I’ve continued to fill in the data from the polls and re-run the model for the next UK general election. I think the dynamic element is interesting in principle, mainly because of how the data from the most recent polls could be weighed differently than those further in the past.

Roberto had done an amazing job, building on Linzer’s work and using a rather complex model to account for the fact that the polls are temporally correlated and, as you get closer to election day, the historical data are much less informative. This time, I have done something much simpler and somewhat more arbitrary, simply based on discounting the polls depending on how distant they are from “today”.

This is the results given by my model in the period from May 1st to May 12th $-$ at every day, I’ve only included the polls available at that time and discounted using a 10% rate, assuming modern life really runs very fast (which it reasonably does…). Not much is really changing and the predictions in terms of the number of seats won by the parties in England, Wales and Scotland seems fairly stable $-$ Labour is probably gaining a couple of seats, but the story is basically unchanged.

The other interesting thing (which I had done here and here too) is to analyse the predicted geographical distribution of the votes/seats. Now, however, I’m taking full advantage of the probabilistic nature of the model and not only am I plotting on the map the “most likely outcome” (assigning a colour to each constituency, depending on who’s predicted to win it). In the graph below, I’ve also computed the probability that the party most likely to win a given seat actually does so (based on the simulations from the posterior distributions of the vote shares, as explained here) $-$ I’ve shaded the colours so that lighter constituencies are more uncertain (i.e. the win may be more marginal).

There aren’t very many marginal seats (according to the model) and most of the times, the chance of a party winning a constituency exceeds 0.6 (which is fairly high, as it would mean a swing of over 10% from the prediction to overturn this).

This is also the split across different regions $-$ again, not many open battlefields, I think. In London, Hornsey and Wood Green is predicted to go Labour but with a probability of only 54%, while Tooting is predicted to go Tory (with a chance of 58%).

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