Conference season polling: What’s the point?

Conference season polling: What’s the point?

Why not spend the money when there aren’t the distortions?

One of the things to understand about the conference season is that they take place in a very artificial media environment. There’s a long-standing convention that these annual show-piece events are covered by the broadcasters almost to the exclusion of other political news.

That was why Brown’s trip to Iraq in the middle of the 2007 Tory conference went down so badly. It was seen as a deliberate spoiler and became one of the factors behind the change of the media narrative.

So given the backcloth doesn’t it suggest that asking people about voting intentions at this time is bound to produce odd results?

Last night I felt a bit sorry for my co-panellist at the Labour fringe event, Ben Page of MORI, who had the poll out with Labour in third place at the same time as the YouGov tracker showing a boost.

Labour delegates desperately wanted to believe the survey that had them in the best position – supporters of all parties are the same. Page was firm though – surveys at this time are always odd and we need to wait until the end of the conference season.

The great thing about YouGov’s daily conference tracker is that it will show how the media impacts on the polling during this period.

Roll on PB’s first exclusive poll – fixed for the middle of October.

Today’s Tracker from YouGov
CON 40: LAB 29: LD 18: OTH 13

Apologies to Ben Page of MORI for getting his name wrong when this post was published.

Mike Smithson

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