Why you should always look at the survey dates?
BBC’s Newsnight programme made a big deal last night about an “exclusive poll” that it had commissioned on perceptions of Gordon Brown and David Cameron.
This was how the programme billed the survey on its website “Friday – Gordon Brown launches his leadership campaign; and Newsnight has a specially commissioned poll.”
It was presented as though it was up to date information although there was a tell-tale line in very small print at the bottom of the graphics stating that the surveying took place from April 27- 29, which is almost two weeks ago.
An enormous amount has happened since then – the May 3rd elections, Tony Blair’s dramatic announcement and Brown’s campaign launch and opinion is likely to have changed.
As can be seen from the Communicate Research poll archive, reproduced above, above the programme has used the findings, albeit to different questions, on three separate occasions the first being on May 1st.
In a fast moving situation polls should not be presented as if they are new when the fieldwork took place in what in political terms was such a long time ago.