Trump smells victory as Republicans hurtle into the Ides of March – Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams

People at a Political Rally

Political Rally

The Ides of March, or March 15, has long been associated with doom and destruction. In 44BC, confident populist Julius Caesar ignored a soothsayer’s warning and met his demise at the height of his adulation by an adoring public. It was also the day that Czar Nicholas II in 1917 formally abdicated his throne, and the day that Germany occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939. And now it’s the turn of the Republican Party.

This year’s Ides of March could prove pivotal for the US presidential race, as the primaries roll into five big states: Florida, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina and Missouri. With firebrand insurgent Donald Trump still denying all the Republicans’ attempts to stop him, the day’s massive delegate haul threatens to put him firmly on the path to the nomination.

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Super Tuesday results point to a Clinton vs. Trump race – Dr Matthew Ashton

Republicans x Democrats

Republicans x Democrats

Short of a electoral miracle, or a huge scandal, it’s now pretty much done and dusted. Super Tuesday has been and gone, clarifying what some people had been hoping for/fearing for months. It’s going to be Clinton vs. Trump in November. Both Clinton and Trump now have enough delegates (and in the case of Clinton super-delegates), to make it incredibly hard for anyone to catch them.

Clinton won seven out of the eleven states up for grabs. That might not sound that impressive, but she won in all the crucial larger states in the south, whereas Sanders only did well in some of the smaller northern states. At this point all the momentum is on her side, and with the party backing her she looks unstoppable. Continue reading

Super Tuesday is here. Is Donald Trump unstoppable? – Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams

Republican primaries or caucuses will take place in 12 states

Republican primaries or caucuses will take place in 12 states

In the wake of Donald Trump’s blowout victory amid the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip, the money has been piling on the billionaire businessman from New York to sweep all aside on the way to a coronation at the Republican convention. But just how smart is this money?

After all, Trump was also favourite to win the Iowa caucuses, not only in the betting markets but also in the polls and the pundits’ conventional wisdom. In the event, he lost Iowa to Ted Cruz, the arch-conservative senator from Texas. Continue reading

Why the polls got it so wrong in the British election

imageIf the opinion polls had proved accurate, we would have been woken up on the morning of May 8 to a House of Commons in which the Labour Party had a chance to form government. By the end of the day, the country would have had a new prime minister called Ed Miliband, writes Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams.

This didn’t happen. Instead the Conservative Party was returned with almost 100 more seats than Labour and a narrow majority. So what went wrong? Why were the polls so far off? And why has the British Polling Council announced an inquiry?

We have been here before. The polls were woefully inaccurate in the 1992 election, predicting a Labour victory, only for John Major’s Conservatives to win by a clear seven percentage points. While the polls had performed a bit better since, history repeated itself this year. Continue reading

Polling Day UK Election Forecast – 7 May 2015

On polling day, Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams, director of the Political Forecasting Unit (PFU) at Nottingham Business School, gives the PFU’s official forecast of the election result. The prediction is based on a weighted combination of a range of variables, including adjusted polling analysis and a number of market-based predictors.

He says: “This is the Election Day forecast of the seats to be obtained by each of the parties. It is our best estimate given our methodology and the available data, but it must be borne in mind that there are large confidence intervals around these numbers, especially given the very late swings picked up in the most recent polls, and the volatility detected in some of the markets. Treat the prediction accordingly. With great caution.”

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Would the UK be better off leaving the EU?

Euro notes and coins

Euro notes and coins

We would be substantially better off not being in the EU because the opportunity cost of us not being able to make our own trade deals with the emerging economies of the world is holding back British business. In terms of trade, the EU is now a millstone around our neck. Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, on the BBC Radio 4’s World at One on May 4.

Nigel Farage’s statement about UK trade repeats arguments regularly made by UKIP. As an EU member, the UK does not negotiate trade deals independently. Rather, the European Commission negotiates to a mandate set by the member states. His reference to “emerging economies” is because several of these countries are growing faster than, for example, most EU countries, offering growing export opportunities. Beyond this, the statement involves points presented as fact, but which are opinion – and questionable opinion at that, writes Professor Robert Ackrill. Continue reading

Transport costs – what the Politicians don’t say

uk trainsMany pledges have been made on the campaign trail, but one big question remains unanswered regarding transport, who pays? writes Dr John Disney from Nottingham Business School.

Pledges to freeze rail fares or limit fare rises to the Retail Price Index (note, not the lower Consumer Price Index) are likely to lead to claims for increased subsidy from train operators who have taken on franchises under different arrangements. Such changes in fares policy can only be implemented when a thorough review has taken place of rail franchising and that will take several years to complete. Continue reading

Political Forecasting Unit – UK Election Forecast – 20 April 2015

vote on boardAt the start of a new week, Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams, director of the Political Forecasting Unit (PFU) at Nottingham Business School, gives the PFU’s official forecast of the election result. The prediction is based on a weighted combination of a range of variables, including adjusted polling analysis and a number of market-based predictors.
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NHS future looks grim – yet politicians still make election promises they can’t keep

fingers crossedIn every UK election in recent years, the financial situation of the NHS has come pretty near the top of the list of concerns among voters. In 2015, the campaign is taking place against a backdrop of five years of financial austerity that has been seriously affecting public services, writes Professor Malcolm Prowle.

Although the NHS was deemed to be “protected” from the pressures of financial austerity, it was left with a tiny amount of growth in resources each year and was also given a target of making £22 billion of efficiency savings over a four-year period. This contrasts sharply with the first 62 years of the life of the NHS when it received substantial increases in funding each year (even if the voters weren’t always aware of this). Not surprisingly, the service is really feeling the strain. Continue reading