Tag Archives: bpix

A look back at the polls: May ’09

We tend not to be too poll-obsessed here at LDV – of course we look at them, as do all other politico-geeks, but viewed in isolation no one poll will tell you very much beyond what you want to read into it. (And how true does that sentence read after the contrasting results in successive days from Populus and ICM, the former showing the Lib Dems as laggards, the latter as the real opposition.) Looked at over a reasonable time-span and, if there are enough polls, you can see some trends.

Here, in chronological order, are the results of the …

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A quick word on the polls

Yes, I know the monthly poll round-up here is sacred. But before we all chow down to our weekend Smeargate extravaganza, let’s briefly consider the latest exploits of BPIX.

As regular poll-watchers will know, we don’t incorporate BPIX’s figures into our monthly round-up at LDV because, uniquely among pollsters, their figures and filters are not published for scrutiny. It should be noted that BPIX commission Yougov to carry out the actual polling, but then apply their own undisclosed filters and methods to interpret the findings. BPIX only works for the Mail.

Last time they polled, in

Posted in Polls | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Reasons to doubt that Darwin poll

Last week, an opinion poll supposedly showing relatively low levels of public belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution did the media rounds. Typical was this write-up from the Daily Telegraph:

Poll reveals public doubts over Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution
Belief in creationism is widespread in Britain, according to a new survey.

Having heard some more coverage of the poll this morning, I thought I’d take a look at what the poll actually said. It was conducted by ComRes, a reputable polling firm (and, regularly readers of my posts about BPIX will be glad to hear, a member of the British Polling …

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Credit where credit’s (mostly) due: Sunday Telegraph and polling

The internet seems to have got a bit excited about the latest ICM poll, something which The Voice tends not to do, but given my past complaints about the media and polling it seems only fair to point out that the Sunday Telegraph looks to have given up its brief flirtation with a non-British Polling Council firm (a flirtation I criticised at the time).

Moreover, the paper’s report sensibly compares the poll results with the previous ICM poll, even though that was commissioned for (shock! horror!) a different newspaper. The tendency to airbrush out polls carried …

Posted in Polls | Also tagged | 14 Comments

Political polling back to early 1990s levels

Cross-posted from The Wardman Wire:

The 1992 polling debacle

The 1992 general election was a bad one for the British political polling industry. During the campaign, the vast majority of polls put Labour ahead and of the final round of polls three put Labour ahead, one put Labour and the Conservatives neck-and-neck and only one – Gallup – gave the Conservatives a lead, but even that was a mere 0.5%. The actual result? A Conservative lead of 7.6%.

A declining number of opinion polls

The response of the polling industry was a series of post-mortems and experiments with changes in methodology. Amongst those who commissioned polls, though, the response was also one of greater scepticism of the value of commissioning polls. Add in first the economic pressures of the 1990s and then the widespread seemingly inevitability of a Labour general election victory after Tony Blair become Labour leader, and it is no surprise that during the 1992-97 Parliament the number of opinion polls was consistently lower than in 1987-1992.

Individual periods of political excitement and then the approach of the general election did result in burst of extra polls, but consistently the number of polls conducted ran at a lower level than in the previous Parliament.

In the next two Parliaments – 1997-2001 and 2001-5 – there was very little sign of the number of opinion polls recovering. Perhaps no surprise again as in the polls that were conducted Labour held a large lead, with only the occasional brief periods of exception. With one party consistently largely ahead, the interest in individual poll results was understandably muted except at those moments such as the petrol price crisis of autumn 2000, when the Conservatives very briefly went into the lead in the polls.

Number of opinion polls recovers

Politics since 2005 has, however, been far from consistent and predictable and, indeed, the number of polls commissioned has picked up once again, as can be seen from the graph*. Across 2008, the number of polls was only 10 less than in 1990.

Number of political opinion polls carried out in the UK 1987-2008 (click on image for full sized graph)

Although only two firms were doing political polling in both 1990 and 2008 (ICM and MORI), the overall number of firms has changed little. Five firms polling in 1990 were no longer political polling by 2008 (ASL, Gallup, Harris, NMR and NOP), but this is nearly balanced out by the four firms which were not polling in 1990 but were doing so in 2008 (BPIX, ComRes, Populus and YouGov).

Is the increasing number of political opinion polls a good thing?

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A look back at the polls: October

We tend not to be too poll-obsessed here at LDV – of course we look at them, as do all other politico-geeks, but viewed in isolation no one poll will tell you very much beyond what you want to read into it. Looked at over a reasonable time-span and, if there are enough polls, you can see some trends.

Here, in chronological order, are the results of the ten polls* published in October:

Tories 42%, Labour 30%, Lib Dems 17% – ICM/Guardian (3 Oct)
Tories 45%, Labour 31%, Lib Dems 15% – YouGov/Telegraph (4 Oct)
Tories 45%, Labour 30%, Lib Dems 15% – Populus/Times

Posted in Op-eds and Polls | 45 Comments

The polls: what, and who, to believe?

I’ve noted on a couple of previous occasions here on Lib Dem Voice, the sharp divergence which different polling companies’ methodologies produce in the Lib Dems’ ratings. The trouble is that very few political journalists take much notice of such details: how often have you heard sweeping statements from commentators that talk about ‘the polls’, as if they all asked the same questions in the same way, producing the same results?

The trend in recent days had appeared more than usually gloomy for the Lib Dems, with the last seven polls placing the party in the 14-18% range.

Yet …

Posted in Polls | 26 Comments

A look back at the polls: September

We tend not to be too poll-obsessed here at LDV – of course we look at them, as do all other politico-geeks, but viewed in isolation no one poll will tell you very much beyond what you want to read into it. Looked at over a reasonable time-span and, if there are enough polls, you can see some trends.
Here, in chronological order, are the results of the eight polls* published in September:

Tories 44%, Labour 25%, Lib Dems 17% – ComRes/Independent (6th Sept)
Tories 46%, Labour 27%, Lib Dems 16% – YouGov/Sunday Times (14th Sept)
Tories 52%, Labour 24%, Lib Dems

Posted in Op-eds and Polls | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

BPIX: a quick update

A quick follow-up to the questions over BPIX’s secrecy: the British Polling Council has confirmed that BPIX has never approached it with a view to joining.

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BPIX and the mysterious web registration

Haivng criticised the polling firm BPIX yesterday for – uniquely amongst those doing published political polling in the UK – not being a member of the British Polling Council and not even getting anywhere close to its standards for transparency, I thought I’d have another try at contacting them today.

They’ve never replied to any of my emails sent to the address on their one-page “under construction” (for several years) website, so I thought I’d see what contact details there are for their domain registration:

Domain name:
bpix.co.uk

Registrant:
British Polling Index

Registrant type:
UK Individual

Registrant’s address:
The registrant is a non-trading individual who has

Posted in Online politics and Polls | 4 Comments

Why the latest BPIX poll is bad news for all parties

The Sunday Telegraph is running an opinion poll tomorrow about the levels of support for each party, commissioned from the pollster firm BPIX. It’s a switch from their usual pollster, and only the second time since the 2005 general election that BPIX has been used by a paper other than the Mail on Sunday.

It’s therefore potentially the start of a significant change in the pattern of polling and, regardless of what the figures in this poll say, the publication of the poll is bad news for all parties – and anyone who follows political news.

That’s because uniquely amongst the firms …

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A look back at the polls: November

We tend not to be too poll-obsessed here at LDV – of course we look at them, as do all other politico-geeks, but viewed in isolation no one poll will tell you very much beyond what you want to read into it. Looked at over a reasonable time-span and, if there are enough polls, you can see some trends.

Here, in chronological order, are the results of the eight polls conducted in November (hat-tip: Anthony Wells’ unrivalled UK Polling Report Blog):

Tories 40%, Labour 35%, Lib Dems 13% – Ipsos-MORI/The Sun (1st Nov)
Tories 36%, Labour 37%, Lib Dems 16% – …

Posted in Op-eds and Polls | 1 Comment

How good is YouGov?

The question of whether internet polling is better or worse than face-to-face or telephone polling quite often causes sparks (friendly of course) to fly better different pollsters and pundits. So I thought it would be useful to compare YouGov against all the other political pollsters (except for BPIX – because they also use the internet but also aren’t a member of the British Polling Council and so are of questionable reputation*).

Here are the monthly average scores since the general election for the three main parties; the solid line is the average of all the polls with fieldwork dates in that month …

Posted in News and Polls | Also tagged | 3 Comments
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