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

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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 …

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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 …

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Recent Comments

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    How true, Jonathan and Judy. The words of the late Dean Acheson come to mind as well.
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