Telegraph’s dodgy “‘invisible’ Lib Dem ministers” survey: nothing to see here, folks

by Stephen Tall on August 8, 2010

Ah, opinion polls. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you just can’t ignore ‘em.

Today’s Telegraph reports a typically anti-Lib Dem story, Voters fail to recognise ‘invisible’ Lib Dem ministers. It claims to show that “Liberal Democrat cabinet ministers are far less likely to be recognised by ordinary voters than their Conservative counterparts”. However, the real clue to its accuracy is in the next few words, “a survey by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed”.

So how did the Telegraph commission its survey, you might ask. Did they pay a beyond-reproach polling firm (or even YouGov) to talk to a representative sample of the British public? Did they ensure at least 1,000 people were included to allow for a statistically significant margin of error? Nah, sod that for a game of dodgy polling soldiers. Instead they sent their reporters “to market towns and cities across the country” and talked to 200 people.

If you think the results have any merit you’re welcome to follow the link and check them out yourselves. Maybe they’re accurate – who knows? (Though for what it’s worth I doubt Iain Duncan Smith is better known than Vince Cable, but I may simply be betraying my own bias). What they are not is credible polling evidence.