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The Telegraph is wrong: today's YouGov poll does not show that the Tories are doing badly in the North of England

One of the stories which the Telegraph wrote up this morning on the back of its latest YouGov poll - covered in this ToryDiary post last night - was that the party was failing to make a breakthrough in the North of England, Scotland and Wales.

I was somewhat surprised to read this after the party's very encouraging performance at the June elections, where we gained control of Lancashire and the key North Midlands counties of Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and in the European election won more votes than Labour in Wales for the first time in history.

I have also blogged before - here for example - about the advances the party has made in the North under David Cameron.

So I was interested to read Anthony Wells of the authoritative UK Polling Report this afternoon rubbishing the Telegraph analysis of the regional breakdown of its YouGov poll:

"I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time telling people not to look at regional splits in polls and get all excited about them, so here goes again: regional splits in individual voting intention polls rarely tell you anything at all.

"The Telegraph today has looked at their Yougov poll and decided it shows the Conservatives doing badly in the North. For what it’s worth, it doesn’t even do that - it shows the Conservatives 2 points behind in the North, an aggregate of government regions in which they trailed the Labour party by 19 points in 2005 - so it actually shows a swing to the Conservatives of 8.5 points in the North, marginally better than this poll suggests they are doing in the country as a whole.

"That, however, is beside the point, since even if the Telegraph had correctly interpreted what the figure meant, it would still be meaningless. The regional breaks in polls have sample sizes of only a few hundred, meaning they suffer from a much larger margin of error and are far more volatile."

Read his full post here.

Jonathan Isaby


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