Friday, April 22, 2016

Counterintuitive argument of the week

And just to be clear, "counterintuitive" is not necessarily the same thing as "wrong."

Stephen Bush in the Spectator, after pointing out how the Brexit campaign have mishandled Obama's visit, asks if that could actually help them here.

His argument is not as stupid as it sounds.

If there is a high turnout, it is extremely likely that "remain" will win on June 23rd.

But if there is a low turnout, it is much more likely that "leave" will.

That's because the people who support Brexit are generally much more fanatical than those who do not. You can also make an argument that they tend to include people with a higher propensity to vote - particularly older voters - while "Remain" supporters include more young people, who are less likely to vote.

Actually though, the characteristics cut different ways,

Propensity to vote "Leave" is much more common on the political right than the left, and among older people rather than the young.

Propensity to vote "Remain" is much more common among those with higher levels of education, with the overwhelming majority of graduates backing remain, and among those with higher income levels.

When you look at it that way, perhaps since I am a middle class professional Tory voter in his fifties with two academic degrees, perhaps it's no surprise that I'm still trying to decide how to vote!

But what it also shows is that factors correlated to propensity to vote are also pointing in both directions.

Gradu8ates and middle class people are more likely to turn out to vote than non-graduates, people in low-paid jobs and NEETs.

It really is all remarkably unpredictable...

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