Were respondees conditioned to put Ming number one?
With, thankfully, just a few hours to go before the Lib Dem ballot closes the acting leader, Ming Campbell, is now now firmly back in the favourite slot.
All the sentiment today has been in his favour and against Chris Huhne who has been odds-on since the only public YouGov members’ poll three weeks ago put him 4% ahead.
Part of the weakening of the Huhne position has been based on the argument that respondees were “conditioned” into putting the ex-MEP as first choice because of the questions that were put before they got to the voting intention section. These, it was argued, put those being surveyed into a pro-Huhne state of mind.
But did the same thing happened in the earlier poll – said to have been funded by a Campbell-backer which was not published. Information that purports to be from this survey has reached me this evening that, if true, shows that a similar approach was taken with this survey. The only difference is that the conditioning seems to be in favour of Ming.
Although I cannot confirm its authenticity I am publishing it because the person who has sent it has revealed her identity to me although she has asked to remain anonymous. She says that she took part in the survey and saved the pages.
Before the 432 people in YouGov1 filled in the voting intention question they are said to have been asked “How important are each of the following qualities for a leader of the Liberal Democrats?”. They were given five options ranging from “very” to “not” important.
1.Good name recognition amongst the general public
2. Seen as honest and consistent
3. Seen as a serious person
4. Seen as a potential Prime Minister
5. Seen as a potential statesman on the international stage
6. Has a large majority in their own seat
7. A track record of success outside Parliament
8. A track record of success inside Parliament
9. Backing and support of parliamentary colleagues
10. Backing and support of the wider Liberal Democrat party
The critical factor here is that even with these suggested pre-voting intention questions the poll’s finding were not favourable enough to Ming to make his team want to publish the results.
What’s important about both these surveys is that they took place just after the vast bulk of the Lib Dem membership had received their ballots. They give a snap-shot of what opinion was like at the critical time when many of them were casting their votes.
So who has won? I stick with my view that this is too close to call but I’m just inclined to Huhne. Thanks to getting on the MEP after a tip-off from a comment by Alex on the site when the price was 200/1 I make a lot of money whatever happens. I’m not going to risk my large certain profit by going all-in on either Campbell or Huhne.
Roll on Thursday and pay-day.