Polls apart in Britain, and wobbly structures on Wall Street
I’m on the road again at the moment for all kinds of reasons. But settling down earlier this evening for a thorough read of the latest election poll data, I thought it might be a good place to start this evening.
For those of you who don’t already know this, I started my communications adulthood as a copywriter in advertising (*hisses and yelled obscenities from the Momentum gallery*) and then spent some years finding out what ordinary people thought of the ads we were writing, the products we were writing about, and all kinds of other issues.
Unlike Green “expert” Caroline Lucas with her English Degree from Birkbeck, opinion research is not something you can just mug up on for a week and then poke people in the chest about forever afterwards: you have to learn about margins of error, interviewer bias, non-directive questioning, spontaneous versus prompted responses, body language, statistical significance and a host of other stuff that only solid fieldwork experience will teach you.
By and large, the layman – by which I really mean the average intellectually lazy tabloid sociopathic hack – fails to grasp two things about electoral opinion polls: first, that each polling agency employs different methodologies to reach their conclusions; and second, some sample sizes are much bigger than others, and so the potential margins of error do vary.
Thus, some interviews are face to face, some online self-completion, and some conducted over the phone; some use one set of means and weightings, some use others; the results are compiled in an almighty kick-bollock-&-scramble hurry; and the media summary you read is an interpretation not a million miles away from the bigoted views of the editor and/or scribe involved.
Over the last 24 hours, the featherweight amateur herds of LeftLib denialist ignorami press have been having a field day telling us that Labour is closing the gap on Boris.
It’s possible they’ll be proved right, but not based on the “evidence” that has so far been supplied. This is the poll of polls reweighted story told in tracker form at the FT:
OK, note the furthest left vertical line there dubbed ‘election called’. Labour is on about 25% then, the Tories 35%.
Then note the 2nd to bottom horizontal line, showing the Arron Banks ordered downsizing of the Brexit Party’s candidate list…leading to the light-blue plunge from 10% to 4%.
Now move up a horizontal line and see the LibDems’ orange line fall from 18.5% before levelling out at 15%.
So there are, we could surmise, 10%ish votes on the loose. Note how, after that point, both Labour and Tory Parties start an upwards climb.
It takes the Labour Party to around 30%, and the Conservatives to 40%. Both gain roughly 5% each. Tories have gained from TBP, while Labour has gained from the LibDems and TBP.
Now let’s return to statistical error. One study released today showed the Corbynistas on 32% (up three) and the Borisconis on 40% (down one). The sample size was 1,079 – the error margin on that is 2.1% up or down. Conclusion any experienced pollster would reach: nothing has changed.
Finally, look at the gap between the two main parties. This is a gap based on aggregated poll sample sizes….the margin of error on which is tiny.
It was 10% when the election was called. It is 11% today.
My own Sun headline on this is that, thanks to naively incompetent campaigning by Jo Swinson and Nigel Farage, we have seen a return to tribal voting; and the Boris tribe in 2019 outnumbers the Corbyn tribe.
All of it is sad to see, because this election really did start out as a major chance to target fascists of Left, Right and Centre – and thus deliver a House of Commons relatively cleansed. I do not doubt there will be some famous victories: but they will be nowhere near enough…..Britain is still in drift mode.
Meanwhile, the feeding frenzy of Wall Street sharks refuses to go away. It looks like, whereas Lehman was the “intra-day bankruptcy” victim in 2008, this time it’s going to be another bank already in the sights of Jamie Dimon’s little fiefdom at JP Morgan Chase.
Dimon admitted on his earnings call with analysts on October 15 that his bank had backed away from repo lending on September 17, the day repo rates spiked to 10 percent and the Fed jumped in as lender-of-last-resort. He explained his bank’s retreat as “necessitated by regulatory rules on how much we have to maintain in our reserve account at the New York Fed”.
Time to cut from the BS to the chase.
The bulk of JPMorgan Chase’s cash is already pledged as collateral for its own trades – for example, on the $55.7 trillion it holds in derivatives. What Dimon fears is what every Wall Street Gecko wants to avoid right now: an intraday bankruptcy filing that catches him and other banking MOUs unawares.
Which bank does he have in mind? Well bless me, it’s unsere geliebte Freund, Deutsche Bank. Deutsche has $15.25 billion in common equity value versus $49 trillion notional derivative exposures according to its 2018 annual report.
Deutsche faces an exposure to derivative liabilities 3000 times bigger than its own valuation.
This is not a good look for a bank – and the cock-up is highly interconnected to Wall Street’s biggest banks: Deutsche Bank is connected to JPMorgan Chase (funny that), Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America as well as other mega banks in Europe.
Brexit is important. The self-determination of the Nation State is important. Real democracy and personal liberty is important. Keeping Corbyn’s primordial swamp of intolerant belief away from power is important.
But all things are relative.
Just as propaganda, polls, and unelected State spin have reduced the 2019 British general election to the usual LABoraTORY mock experiment, so too the everyday Business as Usual bollocks we get from CNN, Bloomberg, the FT and CNBC disguises the bigger issues that remain unresolved.