Monday, April 20, 2009

The Monday morning blog: when predictions go wrong

I guess we have all been there: made a prediction that turns out to be we'll off the mark. For example, back in September 2007 I predicted there would be an autumn election as there was no way the government would allow all that speculation to grow and they wouldn't be stupid enough to allow all the hype to run riot. I rather underestimated Labour's stupidity!

So the talk in the media this morning is of how far from reality were the Chancellor's predictions last November for the economy. Clearly the predictions suggesting boom times ahead are going to have to be revised by the Treasury. What gets me however is that last November, no one believed the predictions other than ministers. I remember listening to them in sheer disbelief. People without even a basic grounding in economics knew they were rubbish. Presumably the Chancellor will have to correct them on budget day on Wednesday. They will probably blame the "international situation."

Meanwhile, I will have to revise my analysis of the polls which I posted on this blog last week and which was written originally for Parliamentary Campaigner. The polls over the weekend have been dire for Labour and the smears issue seems to have damaged them, at least temporarily, far more than I expected. Interestingly, though the Tories have a strong opinion poll lead, their vote share has not improved from earlier this month. Their lead is based much more on Labour weakness than their own strength.

Whether or not this Labour weakness is carried over into the general election, which will presumably be in May next year, will only be known once that contest is held. Predictions for the outcome, however, need to be taken with a strong dose of caution. After all, we don't want to do a Darling.
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