LAB 7 points ahead in new Populus online poll

LAB 7 points ahead in new Populus online poll

But why oh why no prompts for UKIP?

Populus is back doing voting intention surveys which is good news for poll watchers.

The firm built up a strong reputation with its series for the Times which was finally dropped by the paper last year.

It has done a lot of work for the Conservative party and Michael Ashcroft over the years and, indeed, the former boss, Andrew Cooper, now works at Number 10.

Now the firm has gone online and is following a different methodological approach. This is how this is explained on their website:-

“..The differences between the two methodologies relate to how best to secure a sample with an appropriate degree of political representativeness, which Populus regards as being crucial to replacing telephone-based voting intention polling with an online equivalent. Observing voting intention figures derived from phone and online samples over time it has become clear that simply “past vote” weighting both in similar ways does not produce sustained comparable results.

Populus has therefore sought a different way of ensuring that the political make-up of each of its online samples is more politically representative and leads to results that are more consistent with samples drawn randomly by phone. We have done this by asking respondents which political party – if any – they generally identify with and comparing these answers to those on party identification given to the British Social Attitudes Survey in the year of the last General Election.

The other main difference between our online and phone-derived voting intention figures is that we do not employ any “spiral of silence” adjustment online. In the past adjusting for the “spiral of silence” – the tendency of some voters not to want to reveal a party preference they perceive to be unpopular or unfashionable – in the presence of an interviewer helped to eliminate polling error. In common with other online pollsters we believe such an adjustment is unnecessary when the matter of who they intend to vote for is between the respondent and their computer screen or mobile device.”

    The firm has decided NOT to prompt for UKIP which to my mind is a mistake given how well that party has been performing at elections of all kinds this year.

The effect of no UKIP prompt will lead to bigger main party shares, particularly CON, and smaller UKIP shares.

Mike Smithson

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