Mori founder Sir Bob Worcester tells me his favourite biased opinion poll questions

by Stephen Tall on March 6, 2012

It was kind of the founder and chairman of polling firm Ipsos-Mori, Sir Robert Worcester, to pop by this blog recently in response to my post last week highlighting that 60% of voters back the Lib Dem policy of asking the wealthiest to pay more in tax in order to take people on the lowest incomes out of tax altogether.

Sir Robert suggests here in a comment that, given the phrasing of the question, he was surprised it was only 60%. When polling for Mori, the firm once achieved a 100% response among Express readers by asking:

“Are you in favour of harsher penalties to combat crime and violence in Great Britain.”

However, he disagreed with my contention that ComRes had succeeded in asking the most biased opinion poll question in history, and offered his own suggestion:

No, not the worst. I do not think anything has ever equalled Gallup’s 1937 question of “Are you in favour of direct retaliatory action against Franco’s piracy?” (sic).
In just 11 words, they broke five rules of good questionnaire construction.
Sir Robert Worcester, KBE DL
Founder, MORI

Hard to disagree really.