Punters wary of so-called “polls”

Punters wary of so-called “polls”

    What are we to make of these private surveys?

If you are challenging to unseat the incumbent party in a by-election rule number one is to get over that you have the momentum and represent the only way of causing an upset.

So with both the Lib Dem and the SNP seeking to win on Thursday in the fight in the Dunfermline and West Fife seat in the shadow of the Forth Bridges it’s no wonder that on the weekend before we get news of “polls”. This is what the Sunday Times is reporting this morning:-

“Tensions in the Labour camp have been raised by private polls by the Lib Dems and the SNP showing that Labour’s majority is vulnerable. A poll this week by the Lib Dems of 6,000 people in the constituency found that the swing they needed to win the seat had been cut from 11% at the general election to 5%.Another poll of 900 voters by the SNP found that Labour were on 36%, the SNP 34%, the Lib Dems 15% and the Tories 12%.”

The problem is that there is no way of verifying this. With a standard opinion poll that is published we have the British Polling Council transparency rules and the detailed data has to be made available. With the so-called surveys in this report we have no means of knowing how much weight to attach to them.

    It could be that the questions were not the straight “who are you going to vote for?” but “if it was shown that the only way of beating Labour on Thursday was by voting Lib Dem/SNP which party would you support?” –

So far the “polls” have left the betting markets relatively unmoved and Labour is the 0.16/1 favourite.

Lib Dem Leadership poll. So far there is no sign of the YouGov survey of Lib Dem members that was being carried out at the end of last week. We expected it to be in one of this morning’s paper but it does not appear to be there.

Mike Smithson

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