Are Kennedy’s supporters reluctant to admit it?
For several years ICM has been adjusting its published polling figures to deal with voters who are deemed “too shy” to admit their allegiance in a polling interview. This was introduced, initally, to deal with Conservative supporters who, it was thought, were reluctant to say so and, as a result, were distorting poll figures.
Over the past year or so the formula that ICM and Populus use, based on taking a proportion of the past vote recall of those who will not tell interviewers what they will do, has been providing a boost for Labour figures becoming what was dubbed the “Bashful Blairite” phenomenon. Now, for the first time that I can recall, Lib Dem numbers in an opinion poll are being inflated by the same formula.
In the last ICM survey in the Mirror for which there is detailed data the LDs had a boost of 2% from the 20% that the poll interviewers found to 22%.
The adjustment formula has been the subject of much discussion by poll watchers who have questioned whether it is really valid. We’ll see a week today whether they got it right but we cannot think of any new factor during this campaign that is causing Lib Dems to be shy about it.
Meanwhile the latest ICM poll in the Guardian has LAB 40%: CON 33%: LD 20%. The same pollster at this stage in the 2001 election reported a 19% Labour lead which turned out to be double what the party achieved on polling day. That survey underestimated the Lib Dems by 2%, the Tories by 4.7% and overestimated Labour by 5%.
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