Which parts of Obama’s address particularly resonated with the public? One can judge the congressional response to each line by listening to applause in the chamber, but it's harder to know what the country as a whole thought. One way to find out is to look up every single sentence in the speech on Twitter and study each response. Yes, this took a while, and yes, I should probably find other hobbies, but the results were worth it.
The fallout has still not subsided from the shock YouGov poll during the Scottish Independence referendum that put the Yes camp in the lead by 51% to 49%. This single poll was enough to prompt the Prime Minister to claim he wanted to sue the polling companies for his stomach ulcers and led to a last minute revamping of the offer - 'the vow' - made to Scotland as part of the deal for remaining in the Union. Most recently, a Labour peer tabled a bill in the House of Lords that would create a statutory regulator of the polling industry.
Since 1964, the British Election Study (BES) has been surveying voters at each general election in an attempt to establish who votes for who and why. The study has evolved over time, yet the central focus on political preferences and values, attitudes towards political engagement, and the socio-demographic characteristics of voters has remained.
As the campaign over Scottish independence draws to an acrimonious close, relative calm has returned to the polls after the shock waves caused by the YouGov poll for the Sunday Times earlier in the month, which showed Yes marginally ahead for the first time in many months.
Would the Conservative party benefit from Scottish independence? Would Labour never form a majority government again? As the referendum draws closer, and the polls tighten between the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ camps, a common refrain is that by depriving Labour of its Scottish MPs, a Yes vote would seriously impair its ability to garner a majority in Parliament, and make the formation of Conservative majorities easier.
Last Tuesday YouGov, hitherto a company that had painted a pessimistic picture of the Yes side’s prospects of winning on September 18, generated considerable excitement by publishing a poll that showed an eight point swing from No to Yes in just a month. Yesterday they went one better by being the first company in the referendum campaign to put the Yes side ahead in an independently commissioned poll.
The decline in Britain’s ‘two-party’ political system is well-documented. In the 1951 general election, the total Conservative-plus-Labour vote was 97%, yet in 2010 it had declined to 65%. The Liberal Democrats (and their predecessor parties, the Liberals and Social Democrats) had, until the 2010 election, been the main beneficiaries of this decline.