We can’t rule out “no effect” or indeed positive effects

Earlier this week the results of the National Student Survey (NSS) 2020 were released.

The survey was fielded during a difficult academic year for universities. The University and College Union (UCU) initiated industrial action as part of a long-running dispute over pay, pensions and working conditions. UCU members in dozens of institutions went on strike in November/December 2019 and February/March 2020. The second period of strikes was curtailed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but fieldwork for the NSS (which had begun on the 6th January) continued uninterrupted, closing on the 30th April 2020.

In this post, we combine data from the NSS with data that measures support for strike action at each university. If you are unlikely to read to the end of this post, our analysis suggests that we cannot rule out the possibility that the strikes had no effect on overall levels of student satisfaction. Indeed, our best estimate is that strikes had modest positive effects on satisfaction levels. One implication of this analysis is that university management cannot use the strike as an excuse for poor results in this year’s NSS. A second implication is that UCU and its members cannot use the NSS to argue that strike action has significant costs for universities in terms of student satisfaction. …


I find large positive effects on Lib Dem vote share of between two and four percentage points

The dispersion of the Remain vote between multiple competing parties created strong incentives for coordination in the 2019 election. Three “Remain” parties (the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, and Plaid Cymru) were able to coordinate at the elite level, agreeing a joint candidate in 60 seats, but this coordination was limited in comparison to the Brexit Party’s decision to stand aside in Conservative held-seats and recommend a tactical pro Conservative vote in 100 more seats. In order to fill this “coordination gap”, several websites offering tactical voting advice sprung up. Here, I review those sites and their effects.

It's not possible to give an exhaustive list of tactical voting advice sites, so I concentrate on four sites which, for various reasons, became important during the…


tl:dr no substantively significant association, but there may be a weak negative link

Yesterday’s general election was the first December general election since 1923. Although there was no significant snowfall, the weather was pretty dreich across much of the country. This wet weather led to concerns about turnout being lower than it might otherwise have been, had the election been held in the spring.

Turnout in the election was down, despite changes to the electoral register which ought in theory to have boosted turnout by removing duplicate entries and deceased voters. …

Professor of Politics, Royal Holloway

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