Beware the polling commentators

Beware the polling commentators

    How the Indy described a 6% drop as “standing still”

The December poll by Communicate Research for the Independent on Sunday
showed a huge change since November when the pollster was reporting that Labour was back to its 2001 General Election level of 42%. The figures
LAB 39 (-3): CON 34 (+3) LD 19 (-1)

But the most remarkable feature of the poll was how it has been covered by
John Rentoul
in the paper. His story appears under headline “Poll
shows Labour’s popularity is unaffected by resignation drama”.
In the
story Rentoul notes that “David Blunkett’s resignation had no effect on
Labour’s popularity, according to this month’s IoS poll. Labour still leads
the Conservatives by five percentage points.”

    It beggars belief that a political correspondent of a quality national paper can describe a drop 6% as “still”. In future don’t believe
    what Rentoul writes on polls until you’ve checked the figures yourself.

The survey is a major turnaround and shows that we were right to be sceptical about the November survey. Also today’s 34% Tory share is remarkable because CA are the only telephone pollster that does not weight its results by past vote recall – a process that with the other pollsters usually produces a huge correction in the favour of the Tories.

    Our guess is that with a past vote recall adjustment CA would have the two main parties neck and neck

We stick firmly with our belief that Labour and the Tories are much closer than the pollsters are reporting Indeed of those certain or almost certain to vote in the CA survey the Tories are ahead.

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