Guardian reader boost for Cameron – or is it?

Guardian reader boost for Cameron – or is it?

What happens when you publish a voodoo poll

Every so often people come on the site with news of an online poll in one outlet or another and seek to suggest that they are representative of public opinion. Well they are not for the simple reason that those who bother to take part are self-selecting and by definition not representative of the electorate.

Also if you have several computers or are smart enough you can vote as often as you want. In short these are rubbish.

So as David Cameron prepares to take the stage for his big speech at the Birmingham conference he shouldn’t get too excited by what’s on the Guardian’s web-site at the moment.

It serves the paper right. It should not be doing this sort of thing and anyway the question is a leading one. Just read it – “David Cameron’s speech today will address the financial crisis heads on, offering the government bipartisan support. But some say Gordon Brown’s background gives him the authority and experience to handle this global problem efficiently. Who do you trust to solve the financial crisis?”

That seems designed to produce one answer – and its not the one that the early response is suggesting.

Coping with site traffic this afternoon. Since last week when the site went down after being overwhelmed during Gordon Brown’s speech we’ve taken a number of steps to boost our server capacity and hopefully we should keep going. If it does go down then I’ll be posting a link to another website where we can continue the discussion. If people could switch to that if there are problems on PB it will immediately ease pressure on our server and we should be back much quicker. Hopefully it won’t be necessary.

The emergency replacement thread is here – only to be used if PB goes down. There’ll be an announcement there if PB comes back.

Mike Smithson

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