All you need to know about the science of opinion polling

by Stephen Tall on October 26, 2006

  • According to Mori in the Financial Times (22nd Oct), the Tories trail Labour by 2% – 35% to 37%.
  • According to Communicate Research in The Independent (24th Oct), the Tories lead Labour by 6% – 38% to 32% – with the Lib Dems plummeting to 14%.
  • According to ICM in thegrauniad (25th Oct), the Tories lead Labour by 10% – 39% to 29% – with the Lib Dems increasing to 22%.

From this we can conclude, within the +/-3% margins of error, that:

  • The Tories are either more popular than Labour or less popular than Labour, scoring somewhere between 32% and 42%.
  • Labour are either more popular than the Tories or less popular than the Tories, scoring somewhere between 26% and 40%.
  • The Lib Dems are either losing support or gaining support, scoring somewhere between 11% and 25%.

So that’s all clear then.

Question: why do reputable news media outlets and The Independent devote so much space to discussing individual polls which, when viewed in isolation, are about as reliable as a Tony Blair answer at Prime Minister’s Questions?

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3 comments

I suspect it is because the media have space to fill, and reporting on opinion polls is a cheap and easy way to do it for a journalist as everything you need to write the story is delivered to your desk.

by AverageEarthman on October 26, 2006 at 9:42 am. Reply #

The Lib Dems are either losing support

by Anonymous on October 27, 2006 at 8:39 am. Reply #

A great blog well done to you?

Any comment on the Lib Dem councillors awaiting sentnce for vote fraud in Burnley?

Should they go to jail?

by Anonymous on October 27, 2006 at 9:05 pm. Reply #

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