Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown has described elections expert Professor John Curtice as a “national treasure” as he congratulated him over his knighthood in the New Year Honours list.
The 64-year-old politics professor from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow is recognisable to the public from his television work on polls and elections.
His exit poll in June’s snap election revealed Theresa May was set to lose her Commons majority, despite the Tories having had a massive lead in the polls over Labour when the contest started – prompting some to suggest the psephologist was the real winner in the ballot.
And in 2015 his accurate polling of that year’s general election left Lord Ashdown a little red-faced after he stated he would eat his hat if the poll was right. He was later presented with a hat-shaped cake on the BBC’s Question Time programme.
In a tweet on Saturday, in which the expert’s name was mis-spelt, Lord Ashdown wrote: “Many congrats to Prof (now SIR) John Curtis. Knighted today for services to broadcasting – not least causing me to have to eat my hat for disagreeing with him! Nice to see a national treasure Knighted!”
Professor Curtice has said he was “surprised and humbled” to be given the honour.
As well as his post at Strathclyde University, he is a senior research fellow at NatCen Social Research – Britain’s largest independent social research agency – and president of the British Polling Council.