Much was made of FiveThirtyEight (slogan: “Politics Done Right”) and their prediction for the UK General Election. As the man who predicted the result between Obama and McCain in 49 out of 50 states, the Guardian (to take just one example breathlessly declared of Nate Silver:
The baseball nerd who used his genius for statistics to make startlingly accurate predictions in the 2008 US presidential race has weighed into the British election – and his conclusions make chilling reading for Labour.
FiveThirtyEight’s final prediction was as follows:
Conservatives will have 312 seats in the House of Commons (up from 308 in our previous forecast) [34.6% of the vote], Labour 204 (up from 198) [26.6%] and Liberal Democrats, 103 (down from 113) [26.7%]
How did that prediction work out for them? Actual result:
Conservatives: 306 / 36.1%, Labour: 258 / 29%, Lib Dems: 57 / 23%
Not well, I’d say.
The excellent UK Polling report [emphasis added] analyses the performance of each of the pollsters here. One point of note:
The MORI/NOP exit poll, despite initial scepticism when it showed the almost total disappearence of the Lib Dem surge, turned out to be pretty much spot on.